arrow copy Created with Sketch. FightCRC Logo fcc-logo-light

Angie St John

Patient/Survivor Stage III Rectal Cancer Georgia
Back to Champion Stories

I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer through a routine colonoscopy in July 2021 at age 50. I had no symptoms and no family history.

My team went into action, and I began chemotherapy in August. After finishing eight rounds, I then began my five-week, 25 visit radiation therapy and oral chemotherapy in January 2022.

I was blessed to have minimal side effects, neuropathy and LARS, from the treatments and was able to continue working during my treatments. As a Special Education teacher, my students and my classroom were my safe place. My family members provided me with the emotional and physical support that carried me through the treatment phases of this cancer journey.

A brief healing phase of 12 weeks preceded a 10-hour surgery to remove the diseased portion of colon/rectum along with multiple lymph nodes and a temporary ileostomy. Following a two-week hospital stay, I returned home to heal.

We received reports that the cancer had been removed and all margins were clear!

After three months, the ileostomy was reversed and life returned to normal. I continue to have scans, and my most recent colonoscopy in June 2023 was clear, along with scans in September 2023. March 2024 represents two years of a cancer-free diagnosis!

My advice for anyone who is afraid to seek medical advice or colorectal cancer screening is to do it! The prep for the colonoscopy is the worst part, and it is way easier on your lifestyle than the long-term side effects of chemotherapy!

Stay informed. Ask questions: No question is not worth asking. Listen to your body and rest when you need to. Take ownership of your diagnosis. You are in charge of your health care, if something doesn't feel right, let your doctors know.

I follow my doctor's directions on all health care related issues. Chemotherapy changes your body. Discuss health care plans and medication changes with your oncologist.

One thing all members of Congress need to know is that doctors know more than politicians.

Thank God for my medical team and my doctor for encouraging that routine colonoscopy!

Related Stories