Patient StoriesMarch 5 2024

Patient Story - Paul Quinney

 Paul is a VP at a home improvement company, husband, father to six kids, and cancer survivor. Paul’s journey with cancer began four months ago when he felt a twinge in his side while at work. He took a pain reliever and thought it would go away.


However, the pain worsened, and he ended up leaving work early. At home, his wife and mother-in-law encouraged him to go to the Emergency Department (ED). There, he was diagnosed with colitis, an inflammation of the inner lining of the colon which can increase the risk of colon cancer. By coincidence, Paul had an appointment for his first-ever colonoscopy the following week. Soon after that procedure, the gastroenterologist informed him that he had Stage II colon cancer. Having experienced no symptoms until the visit to the ED, Paul was stunned.


The next three weeks were consumed with blood work, multiple MRIs and CT scans in preparation for surgery to remove the cancer. “I was so consumed with that, I didn’t have too much time to get too panicked,” Paul said. “No one wants to hear the word cancer. I wasn’t ready to leave. I want to be here for my kids. It upset me at first, and there were lots of prayers, but it all moved so fast.”


As it happened, Paul’s wife’s aunt had worked with colorectal surgeon, Dr. Andrew Russ, for years and assured him that he would be in good hands. In the surgery, Dr. Russ removed a portion of Paul’s lower colon, 20 lymph nodes, and a 6cm-sized tumor. Fortunately, because of the success of the surgery, Paul learned shortly thereafter that no radiation or chemotherapy would be required.


“Dr. Russ and the whole staff did a great job,” Paul said. “Everything they said about the process and the surgery was true. They were efficient, explained everything every step of the way, and made me feel at ease.”


Paul missed two weeks of work after the surgery and is still recovering, but doing well. “I have to get used to a new normal with my digestive system,” he said. “That’s the biggest adjustment. But there’s no cancer, so that’s all that’s important.”


Today, Paul stresses the importance of preventive maintenance and following your physician’s recommendations on the frequency of colonoscopies. “Health-wise, it’s made me more aware of what I eat. I feel healthier, better. It’s made me closer to my wife - I mean, talk about for better or for worse. It’s like God was telling me ‘you’ve got a job to do.’ And now I have an opportunity to tell people about it.”


Thank you for sharing your story, Paul, and we are grateful for your positive outcome. We know that many people find having a colonoscopy a bit embarrassing, but remember, as Paul’s story illustrates, having one could save your life.