Last year, 58-year old Tammy Loch decided to take control of her health and made an appointment for a checkup – she hadn’t gone for several years and never had a colonoscopy.
Her primary care physician, Adrian Deme, M.D., ordered the typical bloodwork which all came back looking good. He then told her she should get a colonoscopy, which she expected and was prepared to do, even though she had heard horror stories about the prep.
“My sister was diagnosed with rectal cancer during COVID and I saw what she had to go through – it was a lot. She’s doing okay now, but this pushed me even more to go and get this done,” Tammy said.
She had her first colonoscopy in March when they found two polyps – both were removed and biopsied. One polyp was cancerous and Tammy was diagnosed with sigmoid colon cancer.
Tammy underwent surgery with Scott Pinchot, M.D., to remove part of her colon and several lymph nodes. Out of 15 lymph nodes outside of the colon, one showed cancer which required three months of chemotherapy treatment under the care of Gary Kay, M.D.
“Everyone I came in contact with were wonderful and I felt well taken care of,” Tammy said.
Between her surgery in June and starting chemotherapy in August, Tammy focused on the positive. “I had a lot of good things going on. My daughter’s bridal shower was in June and her wedding in August. So I had my surgery in June and started chemo after the wedding.”
With another daughter and a granddaughter (all born at NCH), Tammy likes to spend time with her family. She also works full-time at Schaumburg High School in student services, volunteers for the high school marching band, and enjoys going to the concerts.
Her message for colon cancer awareness month is simple:
“Don’t put it off, go when you should,” Tammy said. “The prep really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and the procedure itself is nothing — you’re in twilight so you don’t really know what’s going on.”
*Drs. Deme and Kay are independent physicians in the community with privileges at NCH. They are not employees or agents of NCH. No two cases are the same; results may vary.