In 2004, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer

Cancer Changed My Life
Cancer Changed My Life

I was 33 and I honestly thought I was going to die.  Once I realized that I wasn’t, I got to work and armed myself with information and gathered my family and friends around me.  Together, we faced this ugly monster called cancer!

It was very important to me to be fully informed about what cancer was and how it was going to affect my body. I did online research and beat up my doctors with a million questions! When undergoing such a traumatic experience, you learn that you must be your own advocate and speak truth to power!

Cancer is a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body and from these abnormal cells a tumor can grow.  I had a tumor the size of a golf ball in my colon.  I had surgery to remove the initial tumor, and  this was followed by 6 months of chemo therapy and 5 weeks of radiation.  In the following years I would have two more tumors removed by surgery, and another 6 months of chemotherapy.  My last bout with cancer was in 2008!

Cancer affected my entire being and family!  Fortunately, I had a great support group, and everyone was there for me to help hold me up. With the love and support of my family, I was able to get through this process, however, I was a big part of my own recovery.  Mentally, physically and emotionally I was in charge.  There were moments when I cried, yelled, kicked and felt like giving up.  My will to live and love of life didn’t allow me to succumb into the world of depression.  Instead, I found the motivation to party, travel, laugh and continue living my life as if cancer was no big deal.   My sense of humor played a big role in keeping my sanity. In addition, it provided my friends and family the opportunity to breathe and laugh with me.

If you ever find yourself facing a health crisis you have to use your natural skills to help get you through.  If you allow your life to stop moving forward, a disease like cancer will suck you into the abyss and it will be hard for you to see in such a dark place.

Photo Credit: Stephen Cruz
Photo Credit: Stephen Cruz

You need courage, strength, determination and a strong will!  You must refocus your mindset and remain undeterred. Channel your anger into a productive place, and use it as the motivation that allows you to move forward. Realistically, you can apply this concept to any crisis, and for me it worked beautifully in dealing with cancer. I am now an Ambassador for Fight Colorectal Cancer, and in 2010 I was honored to be a model for the Colondar.  I use my journey with cancer as an opportunity to educate, motivate and raise awareness for a disease that if caught early can be cured.

How are you going to channel your skills when you face a crisis?  Don’t let any crisis knock you down for too long! Find that inner strength to get back up and fight!  “Dukes up”, as my sister-in-cancer, Rissa says!




Evelyn Reyes
Evelyn Reyes Beato is a motivated Dominican - American professional who overcame stage 3c colon cancer. In previous years, Evelyn served as a Managing Editor and Contributing Writer for Boston Latino Magazine as well as Associate Producer and Host for Boston Latino TV. Evelyn continues to share her motivating story and devote her time to her community, especially as a mentor for the Big Sister program.