Battling Cancer With Hope

Andrew John Plath
2 min readDec 26, 2023

In one week, I will be meeting with oncologists and nurses and other technicians at the Aspirus Cancer Center here in Wausau. A month ago I was admitted through the Emergency Department at Aspirus with stomach pains that just would not go a way. This was serious business and I would wind up having a section of my large intestine removed and biopsies taken. I had colon cancer and it had metastasized with lesions on my liver.

This was nothing that I had bargained for. No one wants to die of disease and in pain. After all, I thought of myself as a healthy and strong 66 year old man.

I had just bought this brand new Trek Domane road bike earlier this year. The ride is made up of a combination aluminum frame with a carbon fiber fork. It is fairly light weight and I was feeling a need for speed on this thing.

The bike did not just fly over hills, it ate them!

I was riding often through the medical community west of USH 51 including the GI Clinic on which a banner hung on the building’s south wall reminding people to schedule appointments for Colo-rectal screening. I ignored it passing this and the other parts of the medical campus thinking that I might never be a patient in these places as well as the hospital itself.

I was wrong! The weekend before Thanksgiving, I had an unbearable stomach ache that just would not give up. I went first to the Walk-in on the south side of the hospital. The staff there recognized that I was experiencing something greater than what their staff could handle and sent me around to the other side to the Emergency Department where I would be admitted and prepped for surgery.

Things happened very fast and I was on a gurney headed for OR. Surgery went smoothly and I was anesthetized well enough to not really notice what was going on. I was next catheterized and had other tubes for feeding etc stuck into me as well as IVs with needed medicine.

None of this was something I wanted. I would lie on a hospital bed for 16 days. I probably drove nurses nuts with my requests to allow me to get out of bed as soon as the tubes were out and walk. Hospital beds are not built for comfort.

Afterwards, I would have several appointments with doctors including an oncologist who was trying not to be pessimistic. Right after Christmas, I will be prepped for Chemo which is scheduled for January 2 of this year.

The process right now is scary but God has this. It will be an ordeal. Whether I live or die is up to God.



Andrew John Plath

Alumnus from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, Photographer and writer.