Meet the One Million Strong- Carol Ylitalo from Ohio


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Meet Carol

Patient / Survivor Lewis Center, OH

Carol's Story

I am a 29 year survivor of colorectal cancer and have quite the cancer saga. I was a 41-year-old woman and did not fit the classic description of people who have colorectal cancer. Growing up, I lost 4 of my dad's sisters to cancer before they even reached age 50. I expected that to be my fate too and that is what saved me. I first had bleeding, then extreme pain in my stomach area. My family doctor said the symptoms were caused by nerve pain. One night the pain was so severe that it had me rolling on the floor. I went to Urgent Care where I received a CT scan and flexible sig. The doctor who looked the results of my tests believed the pain was caused by scar tissue from my last baby (my daughter was 16 at the time). I changed insurance plans to an HMO to save money so I could see a new doctor. By now, my waste was coming out my vagina, in which my new doctor told me I had gardenella. After a couple weeks the pain began to worsen. I went back to the doctor where he finally gave me an exam.
While I was on the table with my rear in air he said, "Oh , you have cancer."
I knew I had to get out of the HMO and see someone else. The human relations department at work was able to get me back to my previous insurance. My friends and I started calling everyone and asking if they knew anyone who had colorectal cancer and the name of the doctor they saw after being diagnosed. By God's grace, a particular doctor kept coming up in conversation. I called his home phone number and left a message, he called me back and wanted to see me as soon as possible. My doctor was one of the best in the whole country! The grapefruit size tumor had grown through my vaginal wall. I had emergency surgery the same week since my colon was ready to explode! I had my tumor removed and had a complete hysterectomy. Luckily, I did not need chemo or radiation because the entire tumor was removed surgically.

Carol's Advice

You are the only one that knows your body and even if you don't want to hear you have cancer, if things do not feel right, you should get a 2nd, 3rd even 4th opinion!

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