Patient / Survivor
Clinton Township, MI
On Aug. 31 2016 at 18 years old, I was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer. I had just graduated high school, and was thrown into the real world quickly. My life before cancer included spending time family and friends, working, starting college and being a regular 18-year-old girl. I honestly did not know that colorectal cancer was reality, so I never even thought about researching it. Next thing I knew, I had been diagnosed with a disease I knew nothing about.
I only experienced one symptom, which was blood in my stool. This lasted about six months. My mother and I did not think much of it; we told ourselves it was most likely hemorrhoids. After lab work, stool samples and a colonoscopy we were proven wrong. I remember before getting the news I was in my college english class researching for the first time about colorectal cancer. Pretty crazy, right?
Growing up, I never broke any bone or had any major hospital visits. This was my first time being at a hospital for a major reason, and I had never been poked by so many needles!
I have an amazing support system in my life, which made my diagnosis easier to deal with. I am so thankful for my family and friends who are experiencing this journey with me. Doctors called me “one in a million” and that’s because only one out of a million 18-year-olds in the world will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. If I can be completely honest, I was proud to be that one eighteen year old. I did not let cancer stop me from doing anything and I never let cancer define who I am.
I went through surgery, port placement, 12 rounds of intense chemo, taking chemo home with me for two days, MRIs, CT Scans, 3 ER visits, blood transfusions, ultrasounds, and two colonoscopies. I am now 19 years old and cancer-free. Cancer has made me proud of who I am and really put my life in a positive perspective.
I share my story with you because I want you to know that you can overcome this and cancer will NEVER define who you are. We are all on your side, we can fight this together!
Through my journey I always told myself to never let cancer define me. So my advice to you is that you’re stronger than this cancer and it will never define what kind of amazing, inspiring and strong person you are!