My name is Lorel Jeffries and I was diagnosed with uterine cancer at age 50 on December 6th, 2005.
My treatment was surgery and radiation, both external and internal. My doctors were caring and compassionate. I felt positive most of the time, yet underlying was a fear of the unknown. I expressed my fear and anxiety to my radiation oncologist, Dr. Richard Deming. His advice? Talk to the counselors at the Mercy Cancer Center. They have the resources to help you through this. Great advice!!! So, during my cancer journey, I did connect with an incredible team of dedicated counselors. While working with these caring people comprised of a psychologist, genetic counselor and dietitian, I was able to get out of my depression, eat healthfully and learn about my particular kind of cancer.
My cancer turned out to be a genetic mutation from my father’s side of the family. I asked my brother, mother and niece to also be tested. My mom was ruled out immediately while my brother and niece learned they had the same genetic mutation. To me, this was a gift of great knowledge. We now all knew what we had to do in order to reduce our high risk of colon and other cancers. Today, I remain cancer free after almost nine years. I believe in the power of genetic testing to save lives.
I’m going on this journey to Peru because I believe that the telling of my story and my experience can help other people yet to be diagnosed, as well as other cancer survivors and their families so they too can learn how being tested can have a positive effect on families. I’m also going to Peru in honor of my family members who have died of colorectal cancer as well as other cancers. I go for my girlfriend who lost two sisters to this disease and I go for them.
I am also going for myself, a cancer survivor...to be challenged, to conquer my fears, and to learn more about myself and what I can do to be of service to other people.
Peru, here I come!