Harnessing faith and gratitude to combat advanced-stage colorectal cancer

Harnessing faith and gratitude to combat advanced-stage colorectal cancer

Peter Chung, an energetic 42-year-old, never imagined he would be dealing with a cancer diagnosis at such a young age. After the initial shock of the diagnosis, Peter realized that he was actually thankful for it because it gave him a reason to slow down and dedicate more time to those most important to him— his wife and children.

In August 2019, Peter noticed some blood in his stool and went to his primary care doctor for further evaluation. After undergoing a colonoscopy, Peter was diagnosed with Stage 3C colorectal cancer and quickly began chemotherapy and radiation in January 2020 at The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at Providence St. Joseph Hospital. As a pastor, Peter was used to being the one his congregants would seek when they needed spiritual and emotional support. But after his cancer diagnosis, the roles switched, and Peter found himself overcome by an outpouring of support from his congregation who rallied around him and his family.

He remained steadfast in the face of his diagnosis, and had the unwavering support of his family, friends, fellow church members and community. Peter began to see his diagnosis as an opportunity to be a source of encouragement for others who may be going through a similar journey.

Going into the treatment, Peter had full faith in God and decided he would remain grateful no matter what the outcome. No doubt that his faith and positive approach to the situation has been integral in his recovery.

Peter also treasures the physicians and staff at The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment whose coordinated teamwork and compassion were a cornerstone in his cancer treatment and recovery process.

“The doctors, nurses and all the caregivers I came across worked so hard to make sure I had the best outcome possible. Initially, I was bracing for the worst, but everything worked out so well. They supported me through my diagnosis, treatment and recovery,” says Peter.

Peter knew from the start of his diagnosis that the medical experts at CCPT were on his side every step of the way. His healthcare team included Dr. Stavroula A. Otis, a hematologist and oncologist; Dr. Venita Williams, a radiation oncologist; and Dr. Grace Soon Hwang, a colon and rectal surgeon. Peter’s dedicated team worked together to devise a customized cancer treatment plan to meet his unique needs.

“At CCPT, I was constantly surrounded by kindness and compassion to the point that I really wanted to be friends with my caregivers. I’m very thankful for the staff at St. Joseph as they were patient, made me feel comfortable and tried to make the difficult moments more bearable. I know everyone cared for me sincerely.”

Peter’s advice to others is to stay on top of annual health screenings and check-ups with your physician. Early detection is key in the fight against cancer and will ease the way for a better recovery.

As Peter recovers, he is enjoying the quality time he spends with his family and friends and continues to stay active and healthy. He is recuperating well and remains grateful for each day as it unfolds, and our CCPT team at Providence St. Joseph Hospital is rooting for his success!