Cancer patient shares story ahead of Relay for Life - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Cancer patient shares story ahead of Relay for Life

Chris Shomenta Chris Shomenta

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cancer claimed nearly 52,000 lives in the United States in 2009.

Now, a Rochester man is fighting for his life as he battles stage 4 colon cancer. On the outside, Chris Shomenta looks like your average guy. He's hard working, enjoys traveling and plays competitive chess.

"I started to have some abdominal discomfort and I thought I was going to have kidney stone, gallstones, an appendix or something like that," Shomenta said.

But his body is fighting cancer cells. In November 2010, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.

"I had a colonoscopy scheduled," Shomenta said.  I turned 50 in 2010 and had a colonoscopy scheduled for the end of November. So I would have gotten one later that same week."

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women in the United States. More than 100,000 people will be diagnosed this year.

As any cancer patient will tell you, the disease has its grip on him.

 "What I can do-- and the whole cancer thing enters into the calculus of everything I'm thinking about.  From where bathrooms are, to what I'm feeling and what I'm likely to feel at this stage of the treatment. I get chemo every other week, so the week after chemo is not so hot. The week before chemo gets better, then I have it again and the cycle starts again," Shomenta said.

But he refuses to let it stop him, explaining, "I don't want to just sit around and wait. That's a boring way to spend your last few years if it turns out to be that."

Taking it one day at a time.

"Everyone knows at an intellectual level and it just sort of gets driven home a little bit more when you know what the most probable reason for your exit is going to be," Shomenta said.

Olmsted County's Relay for Life event is Friday, July 12 where Chris will be speaking.
Opening ceremonies start at 6:30 p.m. at University Center Rochester.
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