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Andy Anderson

Patients & Survivors Stage IV Rectal Cancer Nebraska

Story: "This only happens on TV right? I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever hear the dreaded words spoken to me! But it happened in November 2017. With an indescribable combination of surreal and razor-sharp clarity, I listened as my doctor looked directly at me and said, 'You have colorectal cancer. It is most likely stage IV.' I didn't know what stage IV meant at the time, and I was still a little foggy from the colonoscopy anesthesia. In a somewhat detached way, I heard myself ask the question of questions: 'How long do I have to live?' The answer: 'Two. Maybe two-and-a-half years.' I don't remember what happened right after that. My wife was with me. I think we just held hands and trembled as the new, unimaginable, reality set in."

Advice: "My single greatest regret in this whole thing is the amount of pain and suffering my lack of action has caused for the people I love most. My GP said I should get a routine colonoscopy on a couple of occasions. I thought it sounded very 'creepy,' and I had not even had a cold in 30 years, 'So maybe later on that Doc.' The fact that I likely could have totally prevented this whole nightmare for myself and my loved ones, but did not take the steps to do so, haunts me nearly every night in the wee hours. Please learn from my missteps!

"Research! You have to design your own way to protect yourself from bad information but you have to. Know that you will get overloaded at times with info. Step away. Along the way you will find people, sites, and groups that help you feel better about your chances for survival and how best to mount your fight. Go with them. Also, don't be afraid to talk to trained therapists who can help you and your family navigate this journey. Most of us are not prepared for the mental aspects. Help is good."

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