‘Woman in Blue’ shares story of personal loss

Published 7:02 pm Friday, March 22, 2024

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What if … ?

Those two words continue to weigh heavily on Melissa Adams Ingram’s heart.

Her dad, Lawrence Adams, died of colorectal cancer. It was not detected until the cancer had progressed.

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“Daddy would still be here with us if his cancer had been detected earlier,” Melissa said. “We all miss him so terribly. And, just knowing that a simple test could have saved his life. How many times have I asked myself, what if?”

The family of Lawrence and Mary Adams.

Lawrence Adams lived all of his life in Pike County. He brought so much love, happiness and caring to his family and far beyond. His death left a hole that can nerve be filled. So, all those who loved and continue to love him are having to learn to live their lives around that hole.

So, when Melissa was asked to be an active member of Women in Blue, she didn’t hesitate.

Women in Blue are all committed to increasing colon cancer awareness and raising money for the Cancer Wellness Foundation of Central Alabama

Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women. And, it took the life of Lawrence Adams. Melissa said she wants to be a part of bringing colon cancer into greater awareness so that others would not have to suffer through cancer like her dad did.

“July, five years ago, I was standing at the Rose Garden at Troy Regional Medical Center and I got a call from my brother saying Doctor (Rick) Gill had called and said our dad had Stage IV Colon Cancer, if only…”

Lawrence Adams was transport to the Cancer Center in Montgomery where he was treated with the strongest chemo possible.  He suffered through the adverse effects of chemo. Three months after his cancer diagnosis Lawrence Adams was transported back to Troy where the tumor was removed. The odds were not good, Dr. Gill told the family.

After the surgery, Melissa read her Bible stories to her dad and he kept telling her he could see the light.

Dr. Gill explained he had removed the tumor but Lawrence Adams still had tumors all over his body.

“We all knew, David, Kevin and me, that our dad did not want to be on a ventilator or have feeding tubes,” Melissa said. “He had a living will so Hospice was called and the nurse was a blessing to him and to all of us.”

As heartbreaking as it is to lose a loved one, it is equally as difficult to watch someone suffer.

Melissa said she felt guilty for a long time about her dad’s suffering from colon cancer.

“If I had recognized his symptoms …. he might still be with us,” she said. “I’m hoping that, by telling our dad’s story, it will help someone else. My dad was old school and those like him didn’t go to the doctor until they were sick.”

But colon cancer can be a silent killer. And, for Lawrence Adams, it came to be.

“My message to everyone is that my dad’s colon cancer started from a small polyp that could have been removed, Melissa said. “His life could have been saved if caught early by doing a colonoscopy.”

Melissa’s prayer is that she will never again have cause to say, “if only” ever again.