Darla Strong

Conrad Chamber/Main Street Director Darla Ubben has received an outpouring of support as she battles stage four colon cancer. (Photo by Steph Stolzman/Stolzman Photography)

It’s a diagnosis no one ever wants or expects to hear, and a battle no person can truly prepare themselves to fight. But it affects millions of people each year, and Conrad Chamber/Main Street Director Darla Ubben’s visit to the Conrad clinic three weeks ago for stomach pain led to the discovery of something much deeper: she was living with stage four colon cancer that had spread to her liver. As she prepared to enter chemotherapy on Tuesday, Ubben shared her story, reflecting on the whirlwind of the last three weeks while keeping her trademark positive outlook and hoping to live her life as fully as she can.

“It’s been the longest and the shortest two and a half weeks of my life,” she said with a laugh during an interview on Monday.

Because Ubben had not had a colonoscopy as she is under 50 and had no family history of colon cancer, the news came as a complete shock to her.

“(The doctors) think I’ve probably had it for a year or two,” she said. “Unfortunately, (colon cancer) is one of those silent killers that people don’t learn about until it’s way too late.”

A CT scan and a biopsy at the emergency room in Marshalltown finally revealed the cancer, and within three days of first going in to see a doctor, Ubben was having surgery to remove eight inches of her colon and part of her small intestine. She was back home the next Wednesday—six days later—and said she had no plans to miss any of her kids’ activities, as her daughter Samantha is a senior on the BCLUW basketball team, which played at Aplington-Parkersburg on Tuesday night.

Read more in this week's Grundy Register.