Posts filed under ‘Everything Colon’


I’ve had at least twenty ideas for new blog posts over the past several months. But I’ve not been able to write them. Sometimes it’s difficult to form words around what my heart really wants to say. To go to the levels it takes to process thoughts enough to put them into sentences – much less sentences people can read.

But, I love being a writer. And I’m learning as time goes on, my place in this world is to be a writer. I don’t take the job lightly.

As a writer, I talk about the world as I see it. It helps me contribute and give back. It makes me process. And in that processing, it validates others.

Writing helps me cope with the loss of my friends. There’s been a lot lately. It helps me say farewell and leave a lasting tribute to them. It helps me remember the great things about them. When I can write about losing a friend, somehow the writing seals in the memories. Recently I said goodbye to my friend Belle. She was a writer, too.

Writing also helps me celebrate. I write a lot for work. I penned the celebration of the president recognizing Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month – something we didn’t expect this year. I wrote about my 14th “Survivor-versary.” I like to write about good things too. Life’s too short to stay focused on the negative.

So today, I write. Why today, I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s because my strength is gone after a long week of traveling and I lack the energy to do much more then string words together for a blog. Maybe it’s because a well of emotions sits heavy on my heart as close friends continue to battle disease and hug their loved ones for what they fear will be one last time. And maybe it’s because over the past several weeks as I’ve sought after my purpose and role God would have me play in this big journey – this big problem – called cancer, I keep hearing one constant word:  write.

March 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm 1 comment

Sugar Fast, Mayo Clinic and Growing up Way Too Fast

One of the best blessings of life is weeks when I can report that the life of this semicolon is… “normal.” I’ve been home for a full week, which after the past few travel-filled months feels very nice. Being home has put me into “nesting” mode. Which is weird… don’t start the rumors… I’m not making room for more kids. But I think a combination of the fall weather and my schedule slowing down has me wanting to clean, organize and decorate with fake fall leaves. Oh – and make pumpkin bars. Maybe on Monday…


I figured I better celebrate Halloween in costume if I wasn’t eating sugar – while Mae & niece Shiloh still think this is cool!

This girl just wanna… bake cookies

As of this Monday, it will be four weeks since I ate anything consisting mostly of sugar. I challenged myself to a 4-week “sugar fast” where I cut out the candy, cookies, pies, cakes – everything I really love that brings me immense joy. Part of it was strategic – get through Halloween. The other part was experimental – could I really take myself off sugar? Am I addicted? Watching the new documentary “Fed Up” had me curious about just how much sugar I consumed and if I indeed was addicted.

The verdict? I ate a lot more sugar than I realized but I surprisingly was not as addicted as I thought… if you excuse the fact I daydream about peanut m&ms once a day.

So, I’ve not had one piece of candy corn or even a cookie crumb for a few weeks. On Monday, the challenge ends and I have plans to bake and steal some of Mae’s Halloween candy. But, then the sugarfest ends.

I’m going to keep up this very reduced sugar intake. As much as I hate it – I do feel less inflammation in my tummy which is often a problem for this semicolon. I’ve found there’s other things than chocolate to turn to when I’m stressed. I’m learning how to celebrate… and not cope… with sugar.


Me and the two other patients chosen to attend Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic


Visiting Mayo And Keeping My Clothes On

I recapped my trip to Mayo Clinic for the Fight CRC blog a few weeks ago but wowza – what an opportunity. I was one of three patients chosen to attend a Social Media Summit. The fact I work for a colon cancer nonprofit and do social media as my job was a total bonus.

I sat amongst many professionals working for hospital systems and healthcare groups, learning the best tips for websites, blogging, Facebook and more.

Part of the gig also involved getting up after lunch and sharing my story. (I was really glad to go last since I discussed colorectal cancer.) I broke out my scrapbooks and began sharing the past 14 years of my life with strangers, admitting that I pooped and even dropping in a funny colon pun every now and then.

All in all, it was a great week. A long week. But a great week. I saw the true opportunity we have as patients. I had a very “pay it forward” moment as I felt fortunate to be alive and sharing my story. Hopefully it will help someone else in the same spot. Our stories as patients create more impact than any of us ever think – in places we’d never dream.

So that’s why I was at Mayo Clinic for a week. And let me tell you – not being admitted & getting to keep all of my clothes on was in and of itself a victory.


Future Mule?

Life is Good

Those are the highlights as of late. Life is good (outside of my dad falling off a ladder and breaking his elbow in five places!) While Mikey played a worship retreat over the weekend, Mae and I took a trip to my alma mater, University of Central Missouri, to celebrate with the PR department on a national certification they just received (CERP.) Although she’s small now, I couldn’t help but think just how fast time will go before we take her to college.

For a second I got happy…. (Don’t judge me. Did you see this devotional?) But then, I got sad and kind of gooey inside. It’s not that I don’t want her to grow up… I do. But I’m trying to really enjoy what we have now. She won’t carry Mulan under her arm forever.

So that’s the update!

Be watching my Twitter for updates on Monday as I break this sugar fast!

And tell me – what’s the first thing YOU would eat or drink if you avoided sugar for 4 weeks?

November 7, 2014 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

5 Reasons the Kansas City Royals AREN’T the Worst

Update: I shot this blog post over to Huffington Post Sports and they posted it today! To avoid duplicate content I kept a snippet here, but to keep reading,  head over to the Huff Post to read & share the full article: 5 Reasons the KC Royals Aren’t the Worst Thanks!

I never write about baseball – but today – I’m writing about baseball. Something needs to be said.

I hate that I clicked on the article “13 Reasons the Kansas City Royals are the Worst” because my click added traffic to a page I wish would quickly fade out of my Facebook news feed. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, including San Francisco writers who prefer their city’s team over mine.

But after reading a downright mean article that’s not only picking on the team, but our fans, I want to stick up for the city I call home. The city that, like it or not, is making headlines and charming America.

Here are 5 reasons that the Kansas City Royals team (and actually, Kansas City) ISN’T the worst. No need to find 13 reasons.

I think our Mayor Sly James actually said it best in his Open Letter to America posted on his blog. So, I’m just expanding on his 5 points because I agree that Kansas City is a wonderful place and applaud a team that’s reminded us all why.

Read more on the Huffington Post…

October 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

Disney, Devotionals and Downtime

This week I spent some time looking around online for some resources offering support for a friend. No matter if you face cancer or some other situation, the online world offers a ton of information and the chance to connect with others who’ve also stood in your shoes. I happened to run across a website where people blogged about their experiences and gave a voice to their situations. I was reminded of the power of sharing our stories, no matter what point in the journey we’re on. I’ve taken a break from this blog over the past several months to work through issues I face privately versus publicly. And it’s been much needed. However running across posts written by others who’ve faced difficult times inspired me to start updating this blog again. Semicolon Stories is my blog to show what life is like having faced colon cancer at a young age. So to all of you who keep up with my journey, here’s an update. And for all of you just now finding this blog and looking for someone else who’s faced such a hard cancer diagnosis at such a young age – welcome.



I thought I’d just give you a quick update on all things life lately. First off… vacay.

As someone who freelanced for several years, having paid time off where I get paid to relax is new to me. It’s been pretty great. My step-brother’s wedding in Florida took us to the Sunshine State. And while we were there, we extended our trip and skipped over to the magical world of Disney. It was worth every long line and expensive $10 hamburger to see my 4-year-old’s face light up princess after princess. We met a total of seven magical ladies during our visit to the Magic Kingdom. I even got a little giddy to meet Merida, the princess from Brave. We stayed in a place that offered a poolside room, complete with a Tiki Bar. The hubby and I took advantage of that during nap time. It was fun to get away, hang out with the family and relax.

One thing I did on this vacation that I’ve never done before is cook. Over the past year I’ve cleaned up my diet and stuck to an exercise routine. So after day 4 of eating out and inhaling not-so-great food, I’d had enough. So had my itty-bitty colon. Luckily we booked a condo that came with a kitchen. We hit the grocery store one night and I cooked all of our meals for the rest of our trip. Not only did it lessen my stress, the food was safer, healthier and better for us. Yay.

I’ve enjoyed this time to unplug and rest up. My blogs have benefited too – writing is my hobby. But I’ll tell you – I’m excited to go back to work on Monday. I think that’s a really good thing. I’ve missed my team and the work that I do. I still feel blessed to have what I consider my “dream job” and work in colon cancer all day long. I can’t wait to get back to my buddies at Fight CRC.




Part of what took me away from this blog was the fact I started up a new blog where I post devotionals. I’ve had the opportunity to be published in a few Christian devotional books and through that process realized it’s where my passion lies. I love

writing them. So – I started a website specifically for me as a writer and speaker… it’s where I post my writings that have a faith angle to them. If you’d like to check it out… here’s the link! The great thing is that you can sign up and have the latest devotional emailed to you, which makes me smile.


What’s downtime? But really. I’m still learning to carve out days and nights full of downtime in the midst of a busy life. I travel for work quite a bit and between family commitments and other fun things that come up, we tend to stay really active. Downtime is more of a wish than a reality some weeks. But then again, I’m blessed for it. I can’t help but see it any other way.

Although the freshness of a cancer diagnosis and treatment has worn off, I still find myself forever remembering what it was like to have too much downtime. The memories of my inability to stand in the shower for 5 minutes, much less travel on an airplane or take a road trip in a car, are ever-present. The fact that I’m physically able to stay very active and on-the-go is a blessing in-and-of itself. And I’m thankful for it. Each place I go, I try to carve out downtime while I’m there. I’m a big fan of naps (the fatigue never really ever goes away.) And our family does make sure to rest up and take it easy as much as we can. I’m happy to be healthy and in this place. It’s something I truly don’t take for granted.


That’s a quick update on life lately. I promise to update more often. Sometimes in the midst of colon cancer you wonder if you’ll ever feel normal again. I’m here to say you will… it’s a “new normal,” but there certainly is life after colon cancer. And I’m one voice that’s here to talk about it.

October 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Happy Holidays From the Burgesses

Well, I didn’t end up sending out Christmas cards this year. A little 30th birthday bash kind of took up a lot of my pre-holiday time. But, I thought I’d wish everyone a very Merry Christmas through the blog.


Thanks to all of you who’ve sent cute cards and fun photos of your kids our way. My you all are good looking.

As I recap the year, I find myself wanting to pinch my arm. It’s been unbelievably awesome in several ways. Here’s a quick snapshot of just a few of the reasons 2013 will forever be a favorite, and what I would have included in an old school Christmas letter.


Burgess001-smallerLet’s start with the obvious – this girl has amazing hair. Her cute little fro has always been just the perfect accessory to her charming personality but this year it’s taken on new heights. Literally. In addition to having some of the cutest locks on the planet, our 3-year-old is full of sass, love and imagination. She can turn anything into a magical kingdom where even something as simple as a spoon and fork at a restaurant become a “mommy” or “daddy” — or sometimes two princesses. She took up dance this year. She became a huge fan of the Muppets (thanks to Daddy). She enjoys playing with horses, going to the zoo and even going to concerts. She can often be found singing… and talking. This gal’s got a song in her heart and loves to engage in constant conversation.


Burgess069-smallerI’ll start with the breaking news – this stud just won his Fantasy Football league. It only follows suit with the kind of year Mike’s had where leading seems to be his thing. He’s the Creative Director at Turn The Page Online Marketing and enjoys his job. (No, he doesn’t miss teaching.) He’s led worship at church throughout much of the year. And, he led our family and two of our close friends to North Carolina in September for one of the most epic road trip vacations ever. Speaking of epic, he started jogging over the summer and found himself running 13.1 miles for fun. There’s not much more to stay except that he’s seriously the best husband and an amazing daddy.


Burgess062-smallerThis year was a beginning and an end to several things for me. Obviously, I left my twenties. I also transitioned and made my marketing consulting and blogging business a “side business” as I began working full-time for the nonprofit Fight Colorectal Cancer. I’ve enjoyed getting to travel for work a bit and think I’ve mastered the carry-on luggage system. I ran my first 10K and started working out consistently. I had some blogs published by the Huffington Post. And I made some awesome new friends while at the 2014 Colondar shoot last June. Overall, it’s been a great year.

Goodbye, 2013

People told us to expect time to go quickly when we adopted Mae. Now looking back at almost three years, I see why said that. I blinked and suddenly she’s old enough to sleep in my old twin bed and go to the dentist.

I’ve been blessed with another year of health (I will be cancer-free for five years in June; I’ll be a 13-year cancer survivor in January.) God’s provided for our every need. And we’ve got more friends and family who love, support and encourage us than an after-church Chinese buffet.

To all of you out there, we wish you a very happy 2014. Here’s to another year ahead.

– the Burgess family

December 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm Leave a comment

Crawling The Colon Into 30

It hit me early into this year that my 30th would be approaching. A complex bag of emotions soon arrived at my emotional doorway. My birthday is always bittersweet to me – it’s something about surviving and celebrating another year that gets me into this weird state of woeful yet sentimental and thankful. But this year, I was entering a new decade to top things off. A decade that if we were to be honest, many of my family, friends and doctors might have doubted that I see a near 13 years ago. A decade that like it or not (I loved my twenties), I was about to enter.

I thought about planning trips and friends’ gatherings to celebrate the big bash, but nothing seemed to fit. Nothing except the idea of bringing the Crawl The Colon tour to Kansas City felt right. So we got plans rolling. And everything fell into place. I mean everything. Not even a rain/snowstorm the day before stopped us. Or should I say Mark, the most amazing, dedicated driver that left extra early to make sure the colon arrived for my big day. There was something about the way the event went down that I knew it was “meant to be.”

There are so many people to thank for helping make my big b-day event a great success (see a list of a few of them below…). Not only was it a “success” in terms of event planning and fundraising (we raised close to $3,000 and estimate that we had between 200-250 visitors that day); but I cannot say thank you enough to everyone for helping me enter a new era with excitement. Not only did my birthday event make me feel extremely loved, but it allowed me to share my passion for colorectal cancer and my faith with my community.

I could not have asked for a better way to enter this new decade. It’s an unforgettable memory that will forever be a highlight of my life.

Enjoy Some Pics…

THANK YOU to everyone who sponsored, donated, volunteered and promoted!

The location…


For the silent auction donations…

For coffee and cookies…

For live music..

  • Adam Chiarelli
  • Levi Dalton
  • Jonathan & Malarie Tucker
  • Jeff Class

For promoting…

December 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm 3 comments


I met with my mentor a few days ago. I always walk away from the coffee shop where I meet her much more caffeinated. And, full of great perspective. She’s a wise lady.

She asked a common question, “How’s life?” and it wasn’t until that moment had I slowed down to really think about it. Life’s been really, really busy. And I’ve been going from one thing to the next for about two months now. But, in the midst of it, life’s been really, really good. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes:

Framily Vacay

metropolis-superman-statueWe took off the first of September with two of our great friends and had an all-out 10-day road trip. We ventured to Wilmington, North Carolina by way of Knoxville, Tennessee and had stops in Nashville, Asheville and Evansville along the way. Ten days in a van with a 3-year-old and great friends was splendid. Honestly. We saw the beach. The mountains. A huge Superman statue. And a big house (Biltmore.) It totally rocked.

I ran a 10K

It goes to show that I’ve been a tad bit busy since I never actually blogged to say that I DID IT! I ran the Plaza 10K in the middle of September and met my goal:  I survived. I had a great time. Got an awesome medal. And most importantly, conquered a fear that I’d never be able to run that far. What a journey God took me on through training and amazing people he used to get me to the finish line.

My baby turned three

princess-maddelenaWelp, it’s official. There’s no baby around here anymore. My little lady turned three. We had a small backyard princess party to celebrate complete with an actual LIVE princess showing up as we chomped on cupcakes and cookies. And while the age of three brings about sass and attitude, I actually love it. I’m forming a relationship with my girl. It’s awesome.

Aunt B’s got a new nephew

My brother and sister-in-law welcomed by little nephew into the world a week or so ago. And what a trooper he’s been – came a few weeks early, has had to hang in the hospital since he had a complication with his lung and is still learning to keep food down. But – he’s cute as a button and I can’t wait to snuggle him soon.

National website launch

I started my new job with Fight Colorectal Cancer in June and was tasked with overseeing our website redesign. Up to this point, my small business had helped with web launches over and over, but the size and scale of building a new national site with about double the content was new to me. But, I had an amazing team and by golly, we did it. And, I’m really happy with how it turned out. Take a peek:

Carried me Through

plaza-10kSo – as I thought about how to answer “How’s Life” this week, memories of these sweet moments and even more I didn’t list came to mind. And I could only think of one thing –

God is carrying me.

Sure, life’s been busy – some would say too busy. Being on the go can be hard. And in the past, with this hectic of a schedule, I’d be so stressed right now. I’d be unable to appreciate the great moments because of the lack of time to stop and process. I’d be sick. And maybe a tad grumpy.

But, that’s not the case. In the midst of the craziness, God’s shown me at every turn, nearly every day, what He’s up to and how He’s orchestrating things. I see Him in opportunities, challenges, relationships – He’s all over. And while that’s nothing new, what is new is that I recognize it.

The last time I felt like He’d picked me up and carried me through a season, I was receiving treatment. Or headed to surgery.

But in this latest season, He’s not carrying me through trial. He’s with me through triumph. I see his blessings all around.

And I’ve gotta say, I could really get used to this.

October 11, 2013 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

Home again Home again

Feels good to type the update from my recliner, I must say.

I’m finally home again. Doctors released me yesterday afternoon. Around 2pm, I asked the nurse if I slipped her a $50, she could get me home.

So either the nurse needed $50 or the doc could see that it was time to get me out of there.

I’m still taking it easy and can’t go very fast. I still feel like a walking water park – there’s fluid all throughout my bowels & I feel it. But, pain is going down and slowly but surely I’m feeling back to normal. And just so thankful we adverted surgery this time.

So that’s it – the update.

Maybe next time it won’t take a hospital stay for me to hop back on the ole’ blog again.

June 25, 2013 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Everything Starts with “S” Today

Small intestine — still stretched (although not blocked so that is good news.)

Sunday — blood pressure is still low, I’m nauseated and slightly dizzy.

Slow — not a ton is passing through right now, need more bowel sounds to appear!

St. Luke’s East — good hospital at least.

Staying — I’ll be here overnight again.

Silver lining — Sonic cherry limeades are hitting the spot.

June 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm 1 comment

In the Hospital… Again

I  don’t really use the phrase, “It’s like riding a bike” all that often. I think it’s because I don’t enjoy riding bikes. I know — gasp.

The seats are hard. I don’t like helmets. I can do it, but it’s not really my favorite activity. In fact, I don’t own a bike.

But if I got back on a bike — I could ride it. I’d know how to balance and pedal without training wheels. I’d just get it done. (And if truth be told – I’d probably have some amount of fun along the way.)

So if you asked me how’s it going — day #2 in the hospital after an unexpected trip to the ER the other night?

Well – it’s like riding a bike.


photo(35)The doctor suspects that the little flu bug that bit cute, innocent little children (particularly a two-and-a-half old one with an adorable fro and mischievous smile) made its way to me this week.

But rather than hanging around for a few pukes and then scurrying away after 24 hours – my bug decided to set up camp inside my small intestine this week. Apparently, my itty bitty, beat-up bowels offer great accommodations for little GI viruses.

So, this little virus, infection, bug — whatever it is — made itself at home and reared its head late Thursday night. Searing abdominal pain throughout the night gave me an indication something wasn’t right.

photo(33)My amazing husband who’d worked past midnight every day of the week came home, tried to do everything he could (I’m talking 1am foot massage, heating pad, wet wash cloths, back rubs, etc.) to make it go away.

Yet to no avail — the pain continued. The puking started. So we visited the ER.

That was a few days ago and… I’m still here. A CT scan showed my small bowel is extremely inflamed. Dehydration and very low blood pressure are also of concern. The doctor said it’s a good thing I came in when we did – we caught it early. If there wasn’t already one – a small bowel obstruction was on its way. And as those familiar with this stuff know – we just thankfully adverted some not-so pleasant happenings like surgery. Please pray that we stay on course and avoid it!

photo(34)So, I’m hanging out in a suite … I mean hospital room (These St. Luke’s East rooms are niiiice.) I’m once again surrounded by a squad of strong supporters. I started to eat food again today. We’re trying to get my blood pressure up. And we’re making the best of it. I mean I can’t complain too much – I’ve gotten to keep my underwear on the entire time. (Sorry – probably TMI.)

As all would have it — I started a new full-time job this week. Part of why I freelanced for so long was the fear of “what if” I’d need to be in the hospital while working for someone else. So I am shaking my head at this. But thankfully, my new team at Fight Colorectal Cancer has been extremely awesome and supportive. Of all people – they get it. I’m unbelievably blessed.

So – there’s the story. I’m hoping I’ll go home tomorrow. And while there’s a million other places I’d rather be, at least none of this is foreign to me. I’m used to the drill. It’s all very familiar and routine these days.

It’s sort of … like riding a bike.

June 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm 1 comment

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