The Fighter: Conni Howes
I feel like my story is a little bit boring. I’m like a shark. I just keep going.

As told to Britt Julious

I feel like my story is a little bit boring. I’m like a shark. I just keep going. I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic pancreatic cancer, and I was feeling perfectly fine up until that point. All hell broke loose. I was told that if I didn’t do chemo, I would have two to three months to live. If I did chemo, I’d have six to 11. That’s the standard number, and here we are today, 18 months later.

I feel great. I’m fortunate. I’ve never had any pain. I don’t have any symptoms of cancer. My side effects from the chemo are very minimal. I don’t know how I got so lucky. We just recently changed my chemo, and the worst thing about that was my hair fell out. I didn’t care. Every day is a good hair day with a wig. I’m always looking at something from a funny angle. I can take the most horrible situation and make it funny. I’m sure some people will be appalled at that, but it’s what gets me through the hard stuff.

The thing I’ve learned about myself is that I am infinitely adaptable if I just let myself be. I used to hold on to things and worry about stuff, and now I’m just… whatever. I find no value in placing time and energy in this question of why or how. You have to let that go from the beginning.

I have very low expectations as to what I expect to happen. I kind of feel like it’s a lot about managing expectations. You don’t know what’s going to happen. So you make the best of it, and you just keep moving forward.


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