Patient / Survivor
West Columbia, South Carolina
I was 27 years old at the time of my diagnosis. Up until then, I had experienced pain that felt like bad stomach cramps, and saw blood when I went to the bathroom. I had no idea, at the time, that the black I was looking at in the toilet was blood.
The cramps and stomach pain got worse, but each time I went to the doctor, they said I was, “fine” or that I had “girl troubles”.
I had multiple tests done, and the doctor felt my abdominal area and believed I had cysts on my ovaries. Tests were done; it was discovered my ovaries were clear of cysts.
My doctor wanted to go the GI route next. He made an appointment for me to go see a gastroenterologist. Between the time of that appointment and the next, I fell to my knees in my kitchen–the cramps were so bad. I had to go to the doctor, so I called my, then, fiancé to come home to take me.
When we got to the Urgent Care facility, the doctor ordered a CT scan. I was called and urged to immediately meet with a surgeon. The doctor told me I had an intussusception, which means my intestine was folding back on itself (similar to a telescope being folded back into place). He told me this was not common in adults at all; surgery was the only way to fix it.
After hearing this news, I really began to worry—panic, honestly. I had never had surgery before and, quite frankly, was terrified of surgery. I met with the surgeon and decided on the date for surgery. I was given a prep to drink, but, a third of the way through it, my body started to violently reject the prep. Everything was coming up, and nothing was working the way it should have worked.
I went to the hospital for surgery, but the doctors decided to do a few more tests, prior to cutting me open. I had a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. During the colonoscopy, the doctor ran into a tumor between the size of a lemon and a baseball.
The biopsy came back as stage IIIC Colon Cancer.
My Dad had just finished treatment for his stage IIIA Colon Cancer. One would think it’s genetic, but the genetic tests we have done have not proven a link between my Dad’s cancer and mine.
Calm down. Colon cancer is treatable.
Listen. Follow directions.
Pay attention to your body.
Communicate for your body.
Take care of yourself.
Love those around you.