Allsup claims specialist Becky Matzenbacher has helped hundreds of individuals understand the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application process.
The average age of an SSDI beneficiary is about 53, but young onset of diseases such as colon cancer has many under 50 seeking information about their options if they cannot continue working. Becky talks to people each day who are facing life-changing challenges. She shares her own experiences during Colon Cancer Awareness Month to encourage others to find the strength to move forward.
By Becky Matzenbacher, Allsup
In November 2015, I went to my doctor because I just did not feel right. I had a lot of dizziness and headaches. I thought it was just that I needed new glasses. The doctor suggested that I go to the hospital and get a blood panel done. I got a call about 30 minutes after I left the office that I needed to go directly to the ER and get a blood transfusion.
My hemoglobin was a six (about half the normal amount). I was so scared. I called my husband and we went directly to the ER. They did a blood transfusion that night. I saw a gastrointestinal doctor the next day and they recommended a colonoscopy.
I had my colonoscopy on November 11, 2015. That was my diagnosis day. I had colon cancer stage 3A. I had a colon resection surgery two weeks later. They removed 12 inches of my colon. I was able to go home on Thanksgiving Day. We definitely had a lot to be thankful for.
I had a clear PET scan in early December. My doctor suggested doing preventive chemotherapy. I started 12 rounds of chemotherapy in January. I was able to return to work part time in February 2016 and it was a great feeling to be able to return to “normal.” I was able to work every other week while I finished treatment.
My chemo weeks were always a struggle. It was very challenging taking care of two small children and receiving treatments. I had four to six hours of treatment on Mondays and then had an infusion pump that I had to wear until Wednesday. It was very draining. My energy levels were very low, but with the support from family and friends I was able to move forward.
I finished my treatment on June 8, 2016. This was a very exciting day! My husband and my kids were able to go with me for my last time, and that made it all worthwhile. I had another clear scan later that month. My family and friends were my strength to keep going. I cannot thank everyone enough for being my strength during this difficult time and giving me the encouragement to move forward.
Next: Navigating the Cancer Maze