An Experience of a Lifetime – the 2016 Colondar 2.0 is Out!

In conjunction with the start of Colorectal Cancer (CRC) awareness month, I’m excited to announce that the 2016 Colondar 2.0 annual resource magazine was released today!

I LOVE the page from my section pictured above (all Colondar 2.0 photos taken by the incredible Mark McCarty & courtesy of The Colon Club!).  Note the caption they chose to use, I think they captured my mindset and philosophy perfectly.

“Incurable… For now… The lung spots are still there today, but they are no longer growing and Tom continues to live life as a stage IV colon cancer survivor. Tom knows that the chemotherapy he is undergoing will not cure him of stage IV cancer – it is only managing the disease. Controlling it. Buying him time. And in Tom’s mind, that’s all he needs – time.”

Being a part of this project has truly been a life-altering experience.

How? In multiple ways – some of which were detailed in the blog post “ELEVEN NEW SISTERS AND BROTHERS (AND MANY MORE COUSINS)” that I wrote last June immediately after returning home from the photo shoot/early onset CRC survivor retreat in Tennessee that we affectionately called “Colon Camp”.

That trip gained me lifetime friends (family) who I remain in close touch with a year later.

That trip made me for the first time accept my diagnosis in a positive way (although obviously still wishing it didn’t exist!).  The energy of the group was off the chart – it was LOVING LIFE regardless of circumstances.  It was empowering to reach that level of acceptance of a basic fact I can’t change no matter how much I would like to.  Yes, I currently have Stage IV CRC.  But with that full acceptance, I could then fully focus my mental and emotional energies on trying to fix various aspects of cancer for myself and others instead of spending any time on unproductive self-pity.  It was only from that positive base that I could then fully positively react & grow as a survivor, advocate and person.

That trip lit an advocacy fire in me – the magnitude of everything you have seen me do to support & try to help the CRC community since June (and even more things that are in motion that I have not yet blogged about!) are directly related to that positive base formed by my Colon Camp and Colondar experience.

As a reminder: what is the Colondar 2.0?

It is not a calendar! The name refers back to its previous incarnation as one.  It is now an annual resource magazine aimed at both the CRC community as well as the general public & medical community – to both INSPIRE and educate!

It has multiple goals including:

  • Showing the inspirational profiles of (12) early-onset (less than the “screening age of 50”) CRC survivors who are not only surviving but are THRIVING. You will find their stories amazing & inspiring.
  • Educating the general public & medical community that CRC is not an old man’s disease. Regardless of age – if you have the symptoms of CRC that aren’t explained relatively quickly by alternative causes – get a colonoscopy without delay it could save your life! Even as a cancer drug researcher, I had never heard this key message.  I never look back – but it is hard not to in this case. It took me 9 months to get a colonoscopy after my symptoms started. PLEASE take this message seriously. On a very personal level this shows to me the importance of the Colondar 2.0 being distributed as far as possible! CRC survival is directly linked to how fast you catch it.

Here is a snapshot taken of us (12) models last June:

Happy June 4th! (v.3.0)_Colondar Family

The magazine itself was produced by a world-class production team including photographer, stylist, designer and graphic designer.  Although it is soft-cover, don’t imagine a magazine – imagine a high quality coffee-table book. One that is both beautiful to look at as well as inspirational to read.

If you are interested in getting a copy, they cost $10 and all proceeds support the CRC advocacy group The Colon Club.  You can order a copy at this link or if you would like a personalized copy 🙂 send me a Facebook PM, email or leave a comment below.

I wanted to close with some of the publicity photos released so far (only a few of the models so far – the rest will steadily be coming out on social media over the coming weeks).  These are some of the amazing early-onset CRC survivors you’ll meet in this year’s Colondar 2.0.

Meeting them changed my view of life – I believe the same will be true for you!

2016-02_Lauren Promo 2016-02_Maegan Promo

2016-02_Colin Promo 2016-02_Joe Promo

2016-02_Ashley-Colin_March 1 Sale Announcement

 

 

13 Comments on “An Experience of a Lifetime – the 2016 Colondar 2.0 is Out!

  1. Thank you Tom for the hope and support.
    Getting the message out to our young people.
    Doctors must understand that CRC happens to young people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It took my son a year to be diagnosed ..because he was too youmg for crc!!! He died at 35 years old 9 years ago today.
      Why does someones symptoms lead doctors to test everything else because the patient is not old enough to have what they have ????

      Like

      • I’m so sorry to hear your story Debbie. I and many other activists are trying to change that mindset & dogma – to reduce the chances of that happening in the future. My sincer condolences on the loss of your son to this dreadful disease. -Tom

        Like

    • It is SUCH an important message Chris – you and I know WAY too many young people afflicted with the disease, often diagnosed at a later stage (often advanced stage 3 or 4) due to the reluctance to perform colonoscopies as quickly in this age group and also no benefit of regular screening. Something has to change for early on-set CRC, the current system is failing.

      Like

  2. You inspire me. I was diagnosed at age 67 in October 2014 with Stage IV rectal cancer. I had one 10mm met in the lower right lobe of my lung so the tumor committee recommended SBRT radiation for that nodule. Twelve rounds of FOLFOX with Avastin, 28 days of pelvic radiation with Xeloda, APR surgery with permanent colostomy, and I am still here. Not declared NED because the lung scans are clean except for the area where the SBRT radiation was done – it makes it difficult for the radiologist to tell whether that area is response to therapy or progression of disease. So we still do lung scans every three months until we know for sure. (My oncologist seems confident that we are okay due to my continued low CEA of 1.7).

    I had a benign polyp in my rectum 15 years earlier. It was too large to remove during the colonoscopy so they removed it through a scope. The biopsy was clean. They kept a close eye on me for six years with stool samples and finally a flexible sig and barium study which was clear. No one ever told me that I needed to be hyper-vigilant or that I should be followed closely for the rest of my life. But my current treatment team all say that I should have had colonoscopies every five years.

    So please share my situation with your younger friends (I was 53 at time of first polyp) and tell them that a single large polyp should be treated with a huge amount of respect and follow up by a board certified colorectal surgeon. I remain optimistic and am now writing a positive and encouraging book for cancer warriors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your sharing your story & patient-to-patient advice farmgirl! Just by leaving it – many people will know it from my blog (I get thousands of hits). I look forward to reading your book one of these days!

      Like

    • It’s coming Akasleen! 🙂 I’m collecting a list of names right now and plan to figure out shipment logistics later this week! You were the second person to order (via Facebook a long time ago) – so you’ll be the second one in the mail (unless you pay off Dawn to swap places, she is #1 haha).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d like a personalized copy, Tom. I need encouragement. I have my first re-staging scan tomorrow since starting Lonsurf three cycles ago.

    Like

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