Stomach Cancer Awareness Month

Grace Mouzavires, Staff Writer

November marks the beginning of Stomach cancer awareness month. A lot of us are focusing on thanksgiving and shoveling our faces with food while their are others living with little to no stomach. Stomach cancer is the third leading cost of cancer and yet it is still under funded. Food is an important part of our everyday lives and some people have lost that privilege. A common treatment is a gastronomy which is a procedure where the surgeon will remove all or some of the stomach. Many people who go through a gastrostomy have to completely change the way we eat. We often take our body’s for granted, and we forget how lucky we are to be able to eat. Stomach cancer is frequent and every 6 out of 10 people is diagnosed with stomach cancer. In fact, it was the leading cause of death in the United States up until the late 1930’s. The number of deaths due to Stomach Cancer has gone down alot due to advances in medicine. The most common cause of Stomach Cancer is a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, better known has H pylori. Meg Mouzavires was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the winter of 2016. In her interview she discussed her experience with stomach cancer.

“Last winter I was throwing up like crazy and I felt incredibly sick so I went to the emergency room and the doctor gave me a GI scope. They ran a few tests and discovered I had cancer in my stomach.” Shared Mouzavires. “My first reaction was fear, I was scared for my life and for my family. The only thing that got me through my cancer was my faith and an amazing team of doctors.” Said Meg. One of the worst parts of cancer was the chemotherapy. “Every other week I would go into the hospital and poked at and filled with medicine, for the next week I would be sick and tired all the time. When I was going through treatment I found strength in the resilience of others, there were many other people who were more sick then I was, and hearing their stories and seeing that they never gave up hope gave me the strength that I needed to continue through the pain.

“If there is one thing that I learned from this experience is that there is a lot of good in people. Whe see on the news all these terror attacks and killings and rapes but it is not often we hear about the good people in our society. When I was going through treatments neighbors and friends reached out to me to help. With everything going on it was impossible to put food on the table each night, and my friends got together and found a way to help. They all brought my family a nice meal everyday for many months. I will always remember the kindness that they showed me while I was going through the toughest time in my life. A friend of mine even created a website called Meg’s Army. They all showed me so much love and support and I couldn’t have done it without them, shared Mouzavires. She became cancer free this May and all though she isn’t sick anymore she is still living with the aftermath.

“The chemotherapy that I was involved in didn’t make me go bald but I did lose a great deal of hair. I used to have big curly hair and now it is lifeless and thin. When I was younger I was always insecure about my big frizzy hair and now I miss it more than ever. I have lost 40 pounds and half a stomach since I was diagnosed with cancer. I have never been extremely overweight but the cancer took away almost all my fat and I am the smallest I have been in a long time. Part of the reason for my extreme weight loss is because of my esophagus. During surgery they had to operate on my esophagus which left a lot of scar tissue. Now it is almost as if my esophagus has a roadblock in it which makes it incredibly difficult to eat with. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to still eat as well as be here with the people I love,” Said Mouzavires. The holidays are a time where we are reminded of the people we love and especially during Thanksgiving we remember all that we are grateful for. When you sit down for thanksgiving dinner make sure not to take what you have for granted, including your stomach.