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A Colon Cancer Survivor's Story...

Travis McDonald has an odd way of breaking the ice with everyone she meets. Give her a few minutes and she will invariably ask you if you’ve had your colonoscopy.

In 2003, while visiting a doctor for minor medical reasons, it was suggested to her that she schedule one. After grudgingly agreeing, and then later canceling the appointment, she finally gave in.

She scheduled an appointment with Dr. Gandhiji Y’Chili, of Phoebe Gastroenterology Associates. Looking forward to a vacation with her family became her focus, thinking that nothing would change their plans.

Unfortunately, she was wrong.

McDonald’s first memory after waking up from the procedure was Dr. Y’Chili standing next to her recovery bed, telling her that she needed a surgeon. She was then told the news that would change her life.

“You’ve got a mass,” Dr. Y’Chili said. “It’s up near the waistline in the ascending colon.”

McDonald responded by asking, “What do you think this is?”

“You’ve got cancer,” was the immediate response. “But we are going to take care of it,” he assured her.

And he did.

Dr. Gandhiji Y’Chili, and a team of local surgeons and oncologists, were able get McDonald on the road to a full recovery, after removing 18 inches of her colon, followed by 26 weeks of chemotherapy.

She eventually regained her strength and now lives a normal healthy life, gardening, baking and spending time with her family, including a great granddaughter Daelyn.

During her most recent colonoscopy, she was told that she had no polyps for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Now McDonald is an advocate for regular colonoscopies, encouraging everyone she meets, from her family members to the man working on the air conditioner at her home, to have the procedure done.

“I insist that they go,” she says. “Because it is such a simple, simple procedure.”

And she believes that the procedure can save lives, especially if the problem is caught early.

“It’s so much easier than going through surgery and losing 18 inches of your colon, plus having to work yourself back up for weeks after having the surgery. It’s just so simple.”

And of the doctors she holds responsible for saving her life, she doesn’t hold back from showering them with praises. Especially the doctor who honestly told her that she had cancer and who took the time to follow
up with a personal phone call to make sure that she was okay.

“I wouldn’t trade Dr. Y’Chili for anything,” she says. “I love him. I think the world of him. I couldn’t have asked for anyone to be more caring and gentle. He is just a wonderful man.”

For more information about services at Phoebe Digestive Health Center, call (229) 312-0698.