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Carol Rivera

Patients & Survivors Stage IV Colon Cancer Puerto Rico
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Before my diagnosis, I never saw blood. I was always experiencing problems with my bowel movements, either constant constipation, diarrhea, or pain. Nothing felt normal. My acid reflux was also terrible. I went to the doctor multiple times to share some of the side effects I was experiencing. They were not willing to perform a colonoscopy because of my age. I was “too young” and did not have any blood in my stool. 

When my symptoms were finally taken seriously, my cancer had already advanced to stage IV colorectal cancer that had metastasized to my liver. I retired from my career as a Canine Handler with the Department of Defense and 21 years with the Army National Guard, due to my condition. 

“I am still getting used to the word “survivor.” When I used to think of this term I thought it meant I had to be cancer-free, so I did not identify with it. But now I have learned that whether you are still in treatment; you are cancer-free; you are just diagnosed; we are ALL survivors. So I keep fighting every day to stay here, to love, and share love with one another.” 

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