My name is Calvin, I am 53, and I was diagnosed with anal cancer on July 27, 2009. I had so much going on at that time. Everything happened so fast. I was told I had anal cancer and I had to go home on the bus by myself. It was a very emotional ride; I felt confused and lost.
I remember it being so overwhelming and it all started with me thinking I just had a hemorrhoid problem. However, I noticed the growth getting larger. I was bleeding and itching too. I knew something was not right.
I had a biopsy performed and it confirmed anal cancer. I was subsequently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I underwent the course of chemoradiation therapy recommended by the oncologist that treated both diseases. Treatment lasted about six weeks but seemed a lot longer. My recovery seemed to take twice as long as the treatment.
I had the best care in Fairfax, Virginia. I appreciate the respectful and kind care I received from key people.
Surviving cancer has given me a new perspective. I now take better care of myself; I quit smoking and exercise by walking. I seriously advocate for all cancer awareness, especially anal cancer. This past summer I was part of Relay for Life and carried a poster of Farrah Fawcett.
Cancer can happen to anyone. It is something you never expect. But I survived and I want to share my story to help raise awareness regarding anal cancer.
Looking for someone to talk to about your anal cancer diagnosis? We are here to help. The Peer to Peer Support Program is a free service provided by the Anal Cancer Foundation that matches anal cancer thrivers (our word for survivors) and caregivers with thriver volunteers and caregiver volunteers.