Thomas living with cancer after 12 years
by Hawkins Teague
May 01, 2007 | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After 12 years of living with cancer, Carol Thomas is still proving that she won’t let the disease dictate her life. Next weekend, she will be honored for her refusal to quit as an honorary cochair for this year’s Relay For Life.

For five years, Thomas said she had frequent stomach pains. Doctors told her the pain was probably attributable to her nerves or possible depression. The pain finally got so bad that she had it checked out again and Dr. Michael Fisher in Madisonville discovered that Thomas had colon cancer that had spread to her liver.

So Thomas went into surgery to have the tumor removed. She said that before the surgery, the doctors feared the worst but that something strange happened during the surgery. The doctors later told her that, somehow, the cancer “changed” during the procedure. They told they couldn’t explain it and they apparently still can’t. She said that this proves how powerfully prayer can work. Her experiences have only strengthened her faith.

“So many people were praying for me and they still do,” Thomas said. “I could not get along without my friends.”

Thomas has what is known as a carcinoid tumor, which is a slow-growing and relatively rare form of cancer. Doctors told her that if one has to have cancer, this is the kind to have. Although there is no way to get rid of it, it has allowed her to live a pretty full life for the last 12 years. It’s not a perfect, pain-free life by any means. The cancer does cause her discomfort, but she takes Sandosatin injections to help with her symptoms, which include wheezing, hot flashes and shortness of breath.

“Just because you have it, you don’t just sit down and say ‘I’m through,’” Thomas said.

In fact, after the diagnosis, she opened Carol’s Beauty Shop because it had always been a dream of hers to open her own hair salon. Unfortunately, she couldn’t manage to keep it open for more than a year and a half because it made her so tired. Some days she would come home so tired that she would go to bed without bothering to eat, causing her to lose weight. With her condition, weight loss was not a good thing. By the time she closed the business, Thomas had been a hairdresser for 38 years, Thomas said.

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