A Fight for Life

More than 26 years of law enforcement prepared Jerry Smith for many worthy adversaries. What happened in April 2004 made him feel helpless and tossed him into a fight with the most formidable opponent of his life: colon cancer. Doctors discovered a 2½ inch tumor attached to his colon and bladder.

Like many victims of colon cancer, Jerry, age 48, experienced no specific symptoms until one morning he awoke with severe stomach pain. "It felt like my intestines were being twisted, " he said and laid curled in a fetal position.

Upon arrival to his hometown hospital in Trenton, Mo., doctors realized his colon was leaking poisonous bile into his system, a life-threatening condition. A helicopter transported him to North Kansas City Hospital for emergency surgery. Surgeon Patrick McGregor, MD, removed about 1½ feet of Jerry's colon. Jerry's doctors told him if he had waited another two to three hours to go to a hospital he wouldn't be here today.

Following the surgery, Jerry underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments as directed by his Oncologist Mark DeWolfe, MD, with Heartland Hematology and Oncology. Jerry's test results now show he's cancer free.

After his experience, Jerry urges all men to take their health seriously and schedule regular checkups. His survival of colon cancer has renewed his faith that "my work here isn't done yet." He's looking forward to his 27th year in law enforcement, and after surviving colon cancer, Jerry's ready for any of life's challenges both on and off the streets.

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