Colon cancer patient hopes his story will save a life
By Sarah Te Slaa, Multimedia Producer/ Anchor - email
David Kwikkel wears a chemo pump 24 hours a day and drives three hours a day to and from the cancer center for radiation treatments.
David Kwikkel gets a daily dose of radiation and chemo at the June E. Nylen Cancer Center in Sioux City. He's fighting colon cancer.
"I feel that when this is all over, Dave is going to be just fine," says Kwikkel.
He was diagnosed with colon cancer in November, but he started noticing something was wrong much earlier.
"This summer, I started seeing the classic signs, but I was probably more in denial of like 'oh, it will go away' type of thing," says Kwikkel.
But it didn't go away and when the 54-year-old finally saw his doctor, they scheduled a colonoscopy immediately.
"You're coming out of your colonoscopy and you're sitting at the end of the bed and he asked my wife to come with me and he said you have a walnut-sized tumor in there and it's going to have to be looked at," says Kwikkel.
It was cancer.
"That's the first shock," says Kwikkel. "Reality strikes and then your wheels start turning and you wonder where you're at and you look at everyone in the eye and ask 'am I going to be all right?" says Kwikkel.
As the superintendent of Ridge View Public Schools and co-owner of Pop-N-Doc's restaurant in Decatur, Nebraska, David had a busy summer. But now he's kicking himself for not getting screened sooner.
"Once the prognosis came back, I was mad at myself because I probably could have done something about it a lot sooner," says Kwikkel. "It's too easy to deny it and let it get too far and now you're in for the struggle of your life."
David had surgery in December and doctors took out about a foot of his colon, but the stage 3 cancer had spread.
"Seven out of 18 lymph nodes tested for it," says Kwikkel.
Now, David wears a chemo pump 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He drives three hours a day to and from the cancer center five days a week for his radiation treatments.
"Right now I feel good about my chances of beating it and I think my prognosis is pretty good," says Kwikkel.
And he hopes sharing his story will save another life.
"My message to everyone is don't deny the signs and of it," says Kwikkel. "They tell you to have a colonoscopy at the age of 50 for a reason and I'm the classic reason."
David finished radiation about the middle of March and doctors have also taken off his chemo pump. He'll go through another round of chemo at the end of the month.
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