Still Holding on to Faith
- Country Ever After star Criscilla Anderson shared new details of her potential treatment plan for stage 4 colon cancer with PEOPLE.
- Criscilla, who has been staying active despite starting to develop side effects from treatment, posted a video of her husband Coffey Anderson laying a bible in the dirt of their construction site as the couple starts to build a home in Dallas, Texas.
- An expert tells SurvivorNet how important it is to try to stay active through treatment, which can help combat side effects.
Anderson, who was initially diagnosed with stage 3 in 2018 and then learned last year that the disease had advanced, recently revealed that she may be on chemo for the rest of her life. In January, her cancer scans had shown “slight growth.”Read More
Anderson is scheduled to begin another round of treatment on April 1 in California (she goes back every few weeks), where she says her mom takes good care of her. The Los Angeles native has relocated to Dallas with her family: country singer husband Coffey Anderson, 42, and their three children, Ethan, 9, Emmarie, 7 and Everleigh, age 4.
“My hope is that I go through a few more rounds of chemo and get my body to NED (no evidence of disease), and then I will go to the Hope4Cancer treatment center in Mexico and basically detox from the chemo,” Anderson said. “I feel really good about Mexico, and the hope is that I will get to then enjoy the summer with the kids.”
Criscilla and Coffey were able to enjoy a trip to Mexico in February with some friends right after her treatment started.
The hip hop dancer has even been able to do a few dance classes in Dallas since going on chemo, but has been suffering from nausea. “I also suffer from fatigue and I have neuropathy in my fingers and toes. I mean, my feet and hands fall asleep really fast. But that’s all stuff I feel like I can handle, and maybe even fix in Mexico.”
The couple has been moving full steam ahead with their home-building plans, and have been sharing videos of the family at the construction site, which is in its beginning phase.
“My incredible husband, the head our house @coffeyanderson dropping a Bible in the foundation of our new home,” Criscilla wrote on her Instagram next to a video of Coffey scoping out a good spot beneath the framing and laying it down in the dirt. “Building our home on the most solid foundation possible. Jesus. Such a beautiful moment.” Last week, the Anderson clan laid colorful scripture rocks in the foundation with different sayings etched into them.
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Living with Stage 4 Colon Cancer
Another young mom, Kate Bowler, talks about living with stage 4 colon cancer and trying to figure out her daily role, and how exhausting it can be to keep up a cheery demeanor.
“As a patient, I wasn’t always sure what my job was,” the Duke University Historian, who is just a year younger than Criscilla, tells SurvivorNet. As a mom, I know what my job is.
Bowler married her high school sweetheart, and as a wife she knew what her job was, “be reasonably cheerful, pay attention during dinner, stuff like that.”
She was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at 35 years old, and as a cancer patient, she says she didn’t know what her job was. “Is it to be really cheerful so that people want to take care of me? Is it to be a super Googler, where I know what all my symptoms are?”
She was the one having to constantly relay the information of her illness to the rest of her family. “I bounced a lot back and forth between being a huge liar, just a giant performative ball of cheerfulness,” she admitted. “It was like I was starring in a reality show about someone who had cancer and was very enthusiastic about it. And then, privately, I was so scared.”
“I think we’re all worried that we might not get what we need in life,” Bowler adds. “I think none of us get to know. We all just have to do the very best and live most beautifully inside the confines of what we’re given.”
Staying Active Through Cancer Treatment
Trying to stay active can help people living with cancer tolerate the side effects a little easier. Even if you have multiple down days physically or emotionally, the key is to pick yourself back up again and continue trying to get exercise in like Criscilla, or continue working like Kate.
Obviously, it’s important to listen to your body, but just because you are on treatment doesn’t mean that you can’t at least get on your feet and get walking. Getting some fresh air outside or doing light exercises can keep your joints from getting stiff and may give you more energy.
“The more physically fit you are going through your cancer treatment, the less side effects you’ll have and the faster you’ll get back to your normal quality of life,” Dr. Sairah Ahmed, associate professor in the division of cancer medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, tells SurvivorNet. Even if there is a chance you may be on treatment for a longer period of time, there are constant advancements and treatments in medicine and many cancer patients say that it’s best to just take everything day by day, as it might be too overwhelming to think of the rest of your life in that way.
Staying Active During Cancer