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I was diagnosed at 26 years old after I went to five different doctors, and I couldn’t manage my symptoms.
In summer 2021, I went to El Salvador for vacation, and my family decided to influence me to stay for another week to get a second opinion about my symptoms, which included rectal bleeding or blood in stool, ongoing change in bowel habits, narrow stools, stomach cramps/bloating/fullness, unexplained or sudden weight loss, anemia/low iron, fatigue, and unable to have a bowel movement (bowel obstruction) or constipation.
On August 10, 2021, a colonoscopy showed a mass that was blocking 95% of my sigmoid. Three days later I had a sigmoidectomy.
I returned to California and UCSF diagnosed me with stage IV colon cancer, since 2021 I have been under chemotherapy (IV and pills) and radiation. I have also had surgery and targeted therapy/immunotherapy. I've also had biomarker testing.Side effects as a result of treatment include pain, neuropathy, skin rashes (skin toxicity, chemo rash), and increased anxiety.
I am not in NED yet, but so far my lesions are “stable.”
I wish members of Congress knew that medication is way to expensive and health care is more trashy every year! They also should be aware that colorectal cancer needs more awareness and more research.
My advice to others who may be afraid to seek out medical advice or colorectal screening is if you feel something is wrong with your body, push doctors to listen to you! Advocate for your health.
Make sure you get your colonoscopy, as I call it my spa day. Imagine: Take a really good nap and when you wake up you get to eat whatever you want as a reward! Sounds good to me!
Cancer is challenging. Cancer is one of those illnesses that attack your physical and emotional health. I stay positive as much as I can. I write one thing I’m grateful for every day, and that keeps me grounded and positive. I found friends in the cancer community and that changes the way I see my diagnosis.
Ariel Cordova was 26 when she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. She had been to five different doctors and unable to manage symptoms. While in El Salvador, she followed her family’s recommendation to stay for another week to get a second opinion. Ariel advises to advocate for yourself and get a colonoscopy if you have signs or symptoms and to stay positive.
Join the fight against colorectal cancer.