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(Familial Adenomatous Polyposis)

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Hawaii Relay for Life - Daniel Shockley

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Here is my recap of the Hawaii Relay for Life. The event commenced at 6 PM with the signing of the National Anthem and making numerous announcements along with recognizing the contributors for the campaign. This was my first time participating, which made it that much more special. At 6:30 PM I had the opportunity to walk with the survivors for the initial lap. What a honor seeing the crowd standing alongside the track cheering for us! I am still trying to soak it all in. The night was a success even though we had to cancel the remaining events after 1030 PM due to excessive lighting over the ocean adjacent to the park.

Note: City Mill, was one of the major contributors for the event and they had a wonderful showing of support throughout the campaign. As you know City Mill along with many organizations had been very interested in my experience since 2012 as I had been, and continue, providing them updates throughout my journey.

Back to the event: At approximately 9:15PM I had the opportunity to share my experience, for five (5) minutes, as a guest speaker. It was truly an honor and privilege being part of this lifesaving campaign. BTW: I was the only guest speaker!

My speech went as follows:

My name is Daniel Shockley and I retired from the Navy in 2003 after serving 22-years on active duty. I am hear tonight to share my experience with you in hopes of being a source of encouragement and inspiration. First, I would like to give a SHOUT OUT to the City Mill and Survivor tents! I would also like to thank everyone for showing their support for this life saving campaign.

In May 2012 I underwent my first colonoscopy at age 51. The procedure was performed May 2012 by the VA Medical Center, Hawaii. Numerous polyps and a large mass were discovered in my colon. Based on these findings I was immediately referred to Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC), Hawaii for genetic counseling. It was suspected I may have a gene mutation which can be confirmed by DNA testing. The results revealed I have a rare gene mutation which means the polyps have a 100% chance of developing into colon cancer if left unattended.

Throughout the consultations I was informed surgery was inevitable as there is no cure for this disease. Leading up to the colonoscopy I considered myself to be in good health with no indications of any health problems. It must be noted, during the consolations the VA and TAMC medical teams encouraged me to to read about my condition, the type of surgery required and life after surgery. This is when my personal research journey commenced in an effort to better understand this disease and its impact on my life. My genetic counselor and colorectal surgeon recommended, based on the DNA test results, it is in the best practice of medicine colon surgery is needed.

The surgery was successfully performed at TAMC in July, 2012. The entire colon was removed and the large mass turned out to be an 8cm tumor. As a result of my surgery I have an ostomy which requires a prosthetic device that collects my waste. I have adapted to this lifesaving and life changing surgery. To date, I continue reaching out to numerous organizations in an effort of sharing my experience. My mindset has been, and continues to be, I tend not to think about things I am unable to control. Medical issues I am unable to control. What I can control is my attitude and after 51 years on God's green earth my positive attitude has brought me this far, why change now! Furthermore, worrying is not the cause of my condition. Therefore, worrying will not make it go away. Based on my personal research of this disease, I am able to better understand my condition, overcome adversity, adapt and persevere with my life. Sharing my experience is important to me in hopes of being a source of encouragement and inspiration.

I consider this medical condition to be a challenge rather than a obstacle and I continue to overcome and press on with my life. As a result I have adopted four (4) words to reflect on as part of my new journey in life as an advocate for colon cancer awareness and the importance of early detection:

1. Attitude = 100% (The English language contains 26 letters. If the letter "A" represents 1 and the letter "Z" represents 26 take the letters of ATTITUDE and add them up. ATTITUDE = 100) It is important to note that the word ATTITUDE is the only word in the English dictionary that equals 100.

I am a firm believer my positive attitude played a vital role with the successful recovery and transition to this new way of life has an ostomate. Furthermore, attitude is permanent and mood is temporary. You can have a positive attitude and be in a bad mood. By maintaining a positive attitude it will have a direct impact on your mood and the outcome of your life. Do not let a bad mood affect your attitude. I remind myself of this daily and try to remain positive while pressing on with my life.

2. Faith - Firm Assurance Influenced Through Hope (My acrostic based on Heb 11:1)

Faith is having the ability of believing in something you are unable to see, but you know it is there. Example: You cannot see the prevailing trade winds, however, you can see what affect they have by the swaying of the palm trees. Along those lines the same is true about God. We are unable to see HIM. However, we see the affects of HIS power in the many miracles that take place. By keeping the FAITH I have a better chance of overcoming adversity and being an example. It is important for me to keep the faith and lean on HIM throughout my journey in life in all situations. I leave all this in HIS hands since HE is in control.

3. Adapt - Attitude Determines the Ability for a Positive Transition (An acronym I created on life as an ostomate)

My analogy of the word ADAPT is evident on how my positive attitude aided me with the ability to rely on my faith which directly impacted my successful transition as an ostomate. From the onset I embraced being an ostomate as a challenge rather than an obstacle or disappointment.

4. Perseverance - My positive attitude, strong faith and being able to adapt to my new lifestyle as an ostomate allowed me the ability of successfully overcoming adversity. This in turn, allows me to press on w/my life with a business as usual approach after being diagnosed with a rare disease and undergoing colon surgery. Dr. Henry T. Lynch is credited with the discovery of the disease I have and is one of the founding fathers of genetic research. He visited Hawaii last year and I had the opportunity of meeting him and discussing my case. An important note to make, it is estimated the disease affects <.03% of the global population. Once diagnosed, leading up to the surgery and throughout my recovery, I remained focused and accepted this condition as a challenge.
In closing, I would like to add as a result of my condition annual cancer surveillance is performed since this gene mutation has the potential of affecting other organs. Last summer cancer surveillance detected the polyps in my stomach are to numerous to count (TNTC) and biopsies were performed on three of the larger ones. As a result, I have been diagnosed with pre-cancer in my stomach which is directly related to my condition. Next month I will undergo another round of annual testing at the VA Medical Center. The VA medical team is closely monitoring my status. The gene mutation I have is not aggressive and no side affects are present. My outlook is to continue pressing on with my life as if nothing happened maintaining a business as usual approach. My hopes are that by sharing my experience on the importance of colon cancer awareness and early detection I can be a source of encouragement and inspiration for the masses.
Thank you again for supporting this lifesaving campaign and have a wonderful evening.

======== That is my story and I am sticking to it =============

Take care and have a wonderful week.

Cheers,

Daniel

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