Colon Cancer Survivor
- Diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in March 2007
- Treated with surgery and chemotherapy
Moon Wong went in for a routine screening colonoscopy on March 28, 2007. He had no symptoms of any trouble. He’d had negative stool exams in the past and had nothing to worry about going into his first colonoscopy. But, after the exam, his doctor told him they had found a tumor, though he thought it would be simple to treat. Several tests later, Moon’s cancer was shown to be decidedly more complex with tumors on his lung and liver as well. He was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.
Referred to SCCA
Moon’s doctor referred him to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, but said he should also consider getting a second opinion. “I wanted to get that thing out of my body,” Moon says. “I wanted to do it right away and didn’t want to waste time trying to get a second opinion.”
Moon also had a friend who worked at SCCA. “She told me it was the best place to get cancer treatment,” Moon says. Two weeks later, Moon and his wife saw Dr. Samuel Whiting, a medical oncologist at SCCA and a University of Washington assistant professor of medical oncology.
On April 24, Moon had his first chemotherapy treatment. Two months later he had a colon resection to remove 10 inches of his colon, connecting the healthy sections back together.
Cancer was still in his liver however, so Moon returned to SCCA for another two months of intense chemotherapy before he had laparoscopic surgery to remove cancer from his liver. After surgery, Moon continued on with another intense round of chemotherapy.
“And then, with all of that happening, we also knew that there was a nodule on my lung. So Dr. Whiting monitored that and hoped that it wasn’t cancer. But we found out that it’s actually active,” Moon says. He had surgery to remove the tumor from his lung and in June 2009 will begin another intense round of chemotherapy on a bi-weekly schedule to hopfully rid his body of cancer forever.
"Chemotherapy can be pretty tough because of the side effects, like nausea and mouth sores. You don’t really want to eat and you don’t really taste much either," Moon says.
The support at SCCA was reassuring to Moon and his wife. He was told about the side effects he might experience from treatment so nothing came as a surprise to him. Moon says his wife gets all the credit. “Because I didn’t even have to tell her what I wanted to eat. She already prepared it.”
The nutritionists at SCCA educated Moon and his wife about how important it was for him to keep eating. “In the beginning, we thought oh, we have to eat healthy food. So everything we were eating was lean,” Moon says. But then he learned that he didn’t have to bother picking healthy food. Just eat anything he wanted to, as well as Ensure if he couldn’t eat.
“So I have to keep eating, just like a pregnant woman eating for two people,” Moon says. “I have to eat for myself and also for chemo that I’m doing. So I feel like I’m constantly eating. But losing weight is bad thing for cancer patients.”
After intense chemotherapy, Moon says he felt drained and didn’t want to do anything. “What I found out was, as soon as you can drink and as soon as you can start doing exercise, that will help you. So I look back and the time that I was laying on my bed, if I lay down longer, the recovery is longer. As soon as you move, you recover from the nausea real quick.”
“Don’t give up,” Moon says to anyone who has cancer. “Listen to your doctors and nurse, and whoever is helping you. They know pretty much everything. They’ve been through it too many times. Listen to them closely and all the help you need is there. So, don’t give up, just keep at it.”