Health & Safety

March 26, 2012

Colorectal cancer survivor visits Luke during awareness month

Airman 1st Class Devante Williams
Colorectal-month-story-with-photo
Col. Richard Eaves, 56th Medical Group, presented a coin to DiDi Tart, guest speaker for the Colon Awareness Month event March 7 at Luke Air Force Base. Tart is a colon cancer survivor of more than 25 years. She travels the United States sharing her story of recovery and living well.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which calls attention to the disease and recognizes those who lost their lives due to it. However, it’s also a time for survivors to communicate to those currently battling the cancer and provide guidance on how to survive the disease. DeeDee Tart is a survivor.

Tart recently spoke to the 56th Medical Group about her experience and how to better prepare for the effects of colon cancer. She also provided insight on what to do if you experience symptoms of the disease.

Tart ignored her symptoms. “There were warning signs that my body gave me,” she said. “It couldn’t be anything serious, so I didn’t worry about it.”

She was sent to a proctologist to have a colonoscopy. That’s when Tart found out she had colorectal cancer. The only option was surgery, and so that’s what she chose.

Tart had 22 treatments of radiation. Recovery was a tough time.

“I was very scared,” she said. “Will I survive? Will my youngest daughter remember me?”

Things went from bad to worse. From weight loss to a two-month hospital stay, it was appeared things were going downhill. But slowly, things began to change.

“At the age of 40 they told my husband she’ll never make it,” she said. “I am now 64 years old, praise God, so we know who’s in control.”

Tart wants to bring awareness to cancer survivors.

“I speak from the heart,” she said. “I hope you all see that. This is a story of encouragement for people to go for early testing. With early testing for colorectal cancer, lives can be saved and more memories can be made.”




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