Colon Cancer Prompts Survivor to Make Lifestyle Changes

Editor's Note: It is with great sadness that we report Jermyn Williams died May 22, 2017.

I decided that I was going to fight back and not let my condition get the better of me.

Jermyn Williams
headshot of Jermyn Williams

Colon cancer survivor Jermyn Williams is taking control of his health and his life. He’s cut out fast food, sugary drinks, and alcohol, and is eating more vegetables, cooking more meals at home, and drinking more water. He’s working out at a gym, lifting weights and doing cardio. And he’s taken some classes at a local college in Oklahoma City as part of his efforts to get a better job.

“I decided that I was going to fight back and not let my condition get the better of me,” said Williams.

Williams was 33 years old when he began noticing changes in his bowel movements. His doctor suspected constipation or an ulcer. But over the next year, his symptoms didn’t go away, and new ones appeared. They included blood in the stool, abdominal pain, and dark, itchy patches on his skin. His doctor sent him for a colonoscopy, which led to a diagnosis of colon cancer that had spread to the liver.

“The hardest part was how to tell my family – my mom and my dad,” said Williams. “My mom took it the hardest.” Williams’ mother has also been his biggest support. “She was like, ‘I’m gonna be there with you every step of the way,’” he said. “She’s been to most of my appointments, some chemo, every surgery.”

Williams had surgery to remove part of his colon, followed by chemotherapy. He had surgery to remove part of his liver, followed by more chemotherapy and then radiation. Side effects from treatment caused eating problems and neuropathy, a kind of nerve damage. In Williams’ case, it caused such extreme sensitivity, he couldn’t drink or touch anything cold.

Today Williams feels a lot better. He’s survived 5 years with a diagnosis his doctor told him had an average life expectancy of 18 months. And he plans to continue to live. “I am still fighting with tumors in my liver, but it has not changed my outlook or my will,” said Williams. “I am not going to give up, and will always continue to fight cancer.”

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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