Julie Krause, Stage IVB Survivor/Patient
Crystal Lake, Illinois
I was living a very active life before being diagnosed. Working full time, exercising for a body building show, very involved in my disabled daughter’s life and traveling. I have a family history and had put off my colonoscopy until I was 51, when a friend was diagnosed with colon cancer. I went in within weeks for the procedure.
I had a cancerous polyp that had not infiltrated the submucosa. They told me they thought they had it all but to be on the safe side I should have that part of my sigmoid colon removed, so I scheduled the surgery. The surgeon said everything looked good, he was sure he got it all and it was all over.
When I went in to have my staples removed he told me I had 1/14 positive lymph nodes. Now it was stage III and I needed to see an oncologist. When I saw him he said my chances of surviving five years was 92 percent with front line treatment, Oxy, Folfox, and Leuc. I proceeded with eight treatments at full strength and four at 75 percent.
I ended treatment and went about getting my health and life back, in May 2011. By Dec. 2011 my CEA started to rise. In March, I had a PET and they found a met in my liver. So it was back to stage IV. I had a liver resection in May 2012.
While I was recovering, I developed 2 more mets in my liver. I started Irtotectin and Avastin. By Dec. 2012, I was NED. I continued on various forms for maintenance chemo until Mar. 2016 when again my CEA started to rise. The PET showed a new met in the liver. I then had an MRI and CT that showed no signs of cancer elsewhere. I had my second resection in May 2016 and was back at work in three weeks. The doctor was sure he got it, until the path came back. I had a positive margin.
Recently, I had RFA and will follow up with chemo. I have worked full-time, exercised, kept very involved in my daughter’s life and still travel. It has not been easy, but I refuse to allow cancer and cancer treatments to ruin my life!
What One Million Strong Means to Julie
I want a cure for myself and others. This disease takes too many, especially young people. One Million Strong means being an advocate for testing to prevent this disease.
Everyone should be screened for CRC at 50, or even sooner if you exhibit any of the warning signs. There are other tests besides colonoscopies. Do not let your doctor minimize your symptoms because of your age. It is time to bring the discussion of colon health to the family dinner table. It is important to discuss your family history.
There is nothing crappy about knowing your and your family’s crap situation, only in not knowing it.
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