For the self-described “shaker-and-mover” Margie LaMorie (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe), it didn’t really hit her that she had cancer when she was informed of the diagnosis in 2009. “I was like ‘get it out of me, I don’t have time for this.’ It’s an inconvenience.” Today, Margie is still moving and shaking as a 78 year old colon cancer survivor that has traveled to Standing Rock six times. She shares her story to encourage others not to be scared of the unknown and reassure other “shakers and movers” that it is okay to step back and have others take care of you.
Margie’s husband Rudy was in the hospital for esophageal cancer when she got her diagnosis of colon cancer in 2009, one year after she had her stroke. She had no signs of cancer, just a side ache and abdominal pain. “It started hurting more and more – it felt like there was apple or grapefruit being crammed into my side.” She knew something was wrong, but didn’t tell her husband because he was sick. He figured it out anyway and was initially mad that she wouldn’t tell him. Going into the doctor, they found cancer and immediately scheduled her surgery. “They removed part of [the colon], they scraped around the surface, the area. It was a four day thing. Temperature didn’t get down because there was infection.” Rudy helped her through her surgery and supported her as she needed care at home. “Rudy got better to look after me.” Rudy passed away a year later in 2010. “I’m glad I pulled through, glad Rudy lived through to help.”
Margie had a large support system around her as her family went through this hard time. “With the stroke, cancer, his death, everyone came out. 15-17 more people came into my life,” she remarked, including her three foster sons. Her three young sons were officially adopted during this time as Rudy wanted to make sure she wouldn’t be alone. She admitted though that it was hard to let others take care of her as she had been the one taking care of everybody her whole life. She says about that time, “It was kind of embarrassing. Now I need all this help. I don’t want all these people here. Thank goodness for the mental health person who said ‘You gave so much, now sit back and let people take care of you.’ It’s all right and I’m okay with it now.”
Cancer screening is important for Margie as “you wanna know what’s going on inside of you where you can’t see.” She understands why people avoid it though. “It’s the fear of the unknown.” Her advice? “Face it. You gotta face it. [Cancer] is something that has to be talked about and discussed. It touches everyone. I see so many people with cancer, and never thought i was going to get it. I got angry and said ‘Get it out, get it out!’ People should find out what is in there. It’s bad to be not knowing.”
Thank you Margie LaMorie for sharing your story. Visit aicaf.org/category/colon-cancer-stories for more Colon Cancer Awareness Month Survivor Stories.