A change of course: When a sightseeing trip turns into a cancer journey

HonorHealth colon cancer patient story: Diedre

Energetic retiree Diedre was living her dream.

After a rich and varied career, Diedre—who has done everything from teach elementary school and host radio and TV shows to work in sales and marketing and run a theater company—was traveling around the country in an RV with her husband, Alexx.

Then they hit a major bump in the road. Not feeling well, Diedre visited an emergency room out-of- state and was ultimately diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.

Hightailing it home, the Valley residents turned to the HonorHealth Virginia G. Piper Cancer Care Network for comprehensive care. After surgery and chemotherapy, Diedre's health is now stable with no evidence of disease. She continues to receive maintenance medication and to participate in the Body, Mind and Spirit program at HonorHealth's Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center. The program, she says, offers support and hope to patients who are overwhelmed with navigating their cancer journey.

"It's been a lifeline for me," explains Diedre, who considers an optimistic outlook absolutely essential to keeping healthy. "Everyone in the program is so positive and supportive of my beliefs and there are endless opportunities available."

In fact, she's enjoyed free classes ranging from tai chi and yoga to reiki, as well as a "fabulous retreat" where she made friends with other women dealing with cancer. She's also benefited from the social services, oncology navigators and nutritionist consultations at the center.

"I'm so grateful to have the support of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center and the Body, Mind and Spirit program to help me move forward with my journey as a survivor," says Diedre.

"Today, life looks like sunshine and it does every day," she notes. Although a cancer journey is much different than a sightseeing trip with her husband, Diedre quickly adds, "Every day is a joy that we spend together."

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