“As her first anniversary approaches, I want to do more for the people that still have a chance in this battle.” – Stephany Aleman
Story by KCCF Brand Ambassador Bryant Coffey.
The relationship between a mother and daughter is a special one. From role model to advice giver to first, best friend, the dynamic between mother and daughter can often have many facets. Mothers have a special way of instilling a lot of themselves in their daughters. Continuing on with our Flash Back Friday segment, I introduce Stephany Aleman to you. Her story is one that I am certain is meant to be shared. When I read Stephany’s story, I instantly felt connected; it has almost been a year – six more days until the anniversary – since her mother lost her battle with colon cancer. No better time than now to celebrate her life and learn more about what made her so special.
Take a moment to see what Stephany had to say about her mom.
Name: Stephany Aleman
Hometown: Los Angeles
Person Affected: Mother
There are a million and one memories that I have of my mother that will end up being my favorite, however, I can say what most stood out to me was my mother’s thrill to help everyone else. Growing up, my mom always had people living at our house; day after day, we provided shelter for family and friends. Mom [was always] caring and nurturing to others. I grew up without a father, so it was always just me and my mom. My youngest brother was 14 when I was born, so by the time I was five, he was on his own. I grew up, became a medical assistant, and would always tell her about the good in taking certain screening tests – one being colonoscopy. But as many Hispanics do, she would brush it off; however, she did get a mammogram and pap-smear.
Two years prior to her death, she began having lots of, what she called, “lactose problems” – constant burping, diarrhea, flatulence, constipation as well as rectal bleeding. She claimed it was hemorrhoids. She started losing weight rapidly, and a year later, she finally went to see the doctor got some stool tests for H Pylori done. Her tests were sent back with the diagnosis of “Gerd” (the symptoms are very similar to colon cancer).
We shared our last Christmas together in 2014; he wasn’t looking so well, but she reassured us everything was okay and that she just felt tired. Friday morning, January 16th, I got ready for work and she wasn’t up. She was moody and tired, very unlike her. Remembering the last days sends chills down my spine. She was having bad constipation, along with rectal bleeding and again said, ‘It’s my hemorrhoids; I’ll be okay.’
I left for the weekend, and when I came back on a Sunday afternoon, she was in bed and vomiting and had been for the past two days. That’s when we couldn’t keep listening to her telling us she was “okay.” We took her to the hospital, and she expressed to the doctors that she was having “a little bit” of pain. After further diagnosis and more tests, the doctors couldn’t understand how she was able to walk, as the infection that showed up in her body was in a state of septic shock. She shouldn’t have been able to move. They confirmed to us that she was, indeed, one tough lady.
Shortly after, I lost her – Jan 19, 2015. The doctors told us she went into septic shock. We asked for an autopsy and discovered she had colon cancer. It was the most devastating news ever. A simple screening could have saved her life, as well as many others.
So today, I want to let people know the importance of these screenings. Colonoscopies are done every 10 years, and it can be the screening that saves a person’s life. My mom was the strongest person I know; the nicest person; she was loved; she was indeed supermom.
Immensely, we had at least 400 people show up to her services. It’s nice to give without expecting to receive, but it is also important to get checked and to be healthy. She was 60 years old, very young. The picture of her with the bears (above) was early December, and the picture of me, her and my husband (below) was Christmas day 2014. As you can see, she quickly changed. Her face started to look sad and yellow. She was not the same woman. As her first anniversary approaches, I want to do more for the people that still have a chance in this battle.
On behalf of everyone here at KCCF, I want to send a big thank you Stephany for sharing this story with us. As we continue to look back and celebrate the lives of those who have lost their battle with colon cancer let’s continue to remind our love ones to get tested, just like Stephany said.
Together, Let’s Kiel* Colon Cancer.