Colon Cancer Survivor Carol Lunden: Building a Great Life After Cancer Diagnosis

Sign up now for the sixth annual Get Your Rear In Gear 5K and Kids Fun Run.

Carol Lunden has always been committed to healthy nutrition and fitness, about as committed as she was to a 25-year career as a real estate paralegal and then as a horticulturalist. So, when she developed what she thought was Irritable Bowel Syndrome, she turned to her doctor who recommended a colonoscopy.

“I was bad. I went 10 years without a colonoscopy,” said Carol referencing the American Cancer Society’s recommendation of a colonoscopy once every 10 years for people of average risk after their 50th birthday. “I knew I was long overdue.” 

Carol Lunden

That scan in June 2013 revealed stage 3 colon cancer. With no history of the disease in her family, Carol was shocked.

Four years and five surgeries later, Carol will be volunteering and maybe even running at this Saturday’s Get Your Rear in Gear 5K and Kids Fun Run. It’s the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion’s sixth year hosting the event, which is also sponsored by the Gastroenterology Consultants of Savannah and the Center for Digestive and Liver Health and The Endoscopy Center. The event raises funds for FIT screening kits and colonoscopies for uninsured and underinsured patients.

For Carol, the journey has been long and sometimes overwhelming. More than a year after her initial diagnosis, a scan revealed the cancer had spread to her right lung. She had that portion removed.

After her last round of chemotherapy and surgery, Carol has been cancer free since April, 2015. Since then, life has been on the upswing.

Carol has five tips she credits to her own successful recovery, and she shares them with others facing a cancer diagnosis:

  1. “Stay active. Keep moving.”
  2. “Attitude. You must stay positive. It will give you so much strength.”
  3. “Networking is important.”
  4. “Find a mentor or be a mentor. By talking to one person, you meet more people, and you find you’re not alone.”
  5. “Keep a journal. It helps you stay in touch with your feelings during treatment.”

Carol became involved with the Savannah Ostomy Support Group where she connects with bowel and bladder diversion patients and their families. The group meets 3:30 to 5:30 in the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion Conference Room every third Sunday of every other month. The next scheduled meeting is at 3:30 p.m. March 12 in the LCRP. For more information, contact Savannah Ostomy Support Group Coordinator Howard Taylor at 912-225-4174 or email HLTravelin@aol.com, or contact Sheila Lowe, RN, CWOCN at 912-819-7248.

“I can do everything I did before (the cancer diagnosis) right now. That’s why I feel it’s important for people to know it's not the end of the world.”


Get Your Rear In Gear 5K and Kids Fun Run

The sixth annual Get Your Rear In Gear 5K at the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion raises awareness of colon cancer as well as funds for early detection programs and treatment for patients currently fighting the disease. 

WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday, March 14
WHERE: Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion, 225 Candler Drive, Savannah

Click here to register now. 

  • St. Joseph's Hospital Campus: 11705 Mercy Blvd., Savannah, GA 31419, (p) 912-819-4100
  • Candler Hospital Campus: 5353 Reynolds St., Savannah, GA 31405, (p) 912-819-6000
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St.Joseph's Hospital Campus: 912-819-4100

Candler Hospital Campus: 912-819-6000