Adam Gallagher – Colon Cancer Patient Story
When I returned from my second deployment, I was honorably discharged from the Army as a sergeant and accepted a job working as an environmental health and safety manager for oil and gas companies in the Pittsburgh area. In January 2013, I went to a doctor because of a cramp in my side that had been bothering me since August. What I thought would be a gallbladder issue, like the majority of my family had, turned out to be colon cancer. James Lee, MD, PhD, at Hillman Cancer Center, confirmed the diagnosis through a biopsy and colonoscopy.
With the support of my family, friends, and colleagues, I didn't waste any time. I was ready to fight. I immediately scheduled surgery and chemotherapy, but because I had limited side effects, I continued working and going to the gym and tried to live my life as I typically would. I even managed to find a new job as a recruiter, which I'm passionate about.
Following treatment, my platelets were not recovering well. My surgical oncologist removed my spleen and gallbladder, performed a liver and colon resection, and placed a chemotherapy pump in my liver. I am recovering now from this most recent surgery, and my prognosis is promising.
Throughout my time in the Army, a cancer diagnosis, and career change, I wore my game face and kept a positive attitude.
I've always seen the light at the end of the tunnel; I'm the type of guy who works hard for everything. Whether it was the Army or cancer, I thought, 'Go ahead and doubt me. If there's a chance of surviving, and others can do it, I'll do it, too.'
Adam Gallagher served in the Army for eight years. Twice, he was deployed to Iraq where he and his unit were responsible for protecting their convoy, patrolling routes, preventing ambushes, and transporting equipment. He received several honors, including a Purple Heart, for his service.