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Brad Franzen

Patients & Survivors Stage IV Colon Cancer Indiana

Brad's Story

My wife and I were on a trip to the National Parks in Utah and Arizona. We were toward the end of our trip in Sedona when I started having extreme abdominal pain and nausea. It continued through the rest of our trip, especially on the plane ride back to Indiana.

The day after getting back, I went to the doctor and they gave me colonoscopy prep because they thought I was constipated. I ended up puking it all out. I immediately went to the ER where they confirmed a blockage on CT and had to abort the colonoscopy procedure because they found a 7cm tumor in my sigmoid colon.

Three years earlier, I had blood in my stool. I went to the doctor to see why, but they played it off as if I was too young to have colon cancer. They gave me a home test to perform, but it came back negative.

The doctor removed the tumor and gave me a colostomy. Stage IV colon cancer. I was in the hospital when I got the news. I had just gotten an NG tube placed. My wife ran home to grab some things and the doctors came in to say there were only two possibilities as to what it was. Either severe diverticulitis or a cancerous tumor.

I asked what the chances it wasn’t cancer and they looked at each other with devastated expressions. That was pretty tough news to take, especially without my wife there at the time.
Eleven rounds of high dosage Folfirinox and 1 HIPEC surgery later, I was NED in May 2021! I have luckily been NED ever since. I was given a year to live, and now I’m here 2.5 years later cancer-free.

Brad's Advice

The initial effort it takes to go through any of the screening methods is a lot less than the trouble you have to go through in order to beat this disease. It is totally worth it to be proactive!

Also, be your own advocate. When I was first having symptoms three years beforehand, I wasn’t knowledgeable or motivated enough to get a second opinion. If you think something is wrong, push for screening.

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