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Cristina Patrick

Patient/Survivor Stage IV Colon Cancer California
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On July 27, 2020, after surgery to remove a mass on my left ovary, I was told the mass was malignant and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Months later after continued GI issues, a colonoscopy revealed a mass in my descending colon. A colon resection in October 2020 revealed lymph nodes were involved, I was then classified with stage IIIc colon cancer.

I underwent six months of chemotherapy from December 2020 to May 2021. I switched my care to Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center, in December 2021, after reflection of red flags from my previous medical team. It was then revealed that I never had ovarian cancer. The cancer in my colon had metastasized to my ovary, therefore, classifying me as stage IV.

I have been NED since June 2021; however have been narrowing down some issues with my liver as my enzymes continue to be high. I also underwent a hernia repair surgery for two hernias that formed at the sight of my colon resection incision.

Oddly enough, I really didn’t have symptoms. In college, I had developed a sensitivity to dairy that was brushed off by my PCP as normal. In 2019, I had been diagnosed as anemic and told to take an iron supplement and was told it was normal for a woman of my age (childbearing years). Up until a few months before the only symptoms I had were random bouts of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that sent me to the ER twice. Once being told I had a severe UTI and the later colitis of which both were 'treated' with antibiotics.

Something Congress should know about colorectal cancer patients' needs is that screening for colorectal cancer should be open to all ages and recommended starting at age 20 (in my opinion). We need more emphasis on THIS disease (not pinking it out for breast cancer) and more funding to research an end for this disease.

Advice I would offer to someone afraid to seek medical help or colorectal cancer screening is that being proactive is better than the alternative. Colorectal cancer is treatable, especially when caught early.

The prep is nothing compared to the surgeries and therapies to treat cancer. You will never be alone in any step with this community!

Nobody fights alone! Stage IV is not always a death sentence. It’s OK to not be OK. When you’re not strong, others will be there to give you strength.

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