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Danielle Boggs

Patients & Survivors Stage III Rectal Cancer Florida
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Story: "A few years before I was diagnosed I had blood in my stool. I went to the doctor and he quickly dismissed it, saying that it was probably not a big deal and was just hemorrhoids. It went away and then came back about a year later. I went back to the same doctor and he said the same thing, it was probably hemorrhoids again. Since I was young and did not have any family history he wasn't concerned. I had started fertility treatment and started having more symptoms, more blood, along with mucous. I was also losing weight and going to the bathroom more frequently.

"Deep down I was aware the something was wrong, but I blamed it on stress from the fertility treatments. I told myself that if I did not get pregnant, then I would get it check out."

"I did not get pregnant, which more than likely saved my life. If I would have gotten pregnant, I would have probably had to terminate the pregnancy, or possibly lost my life to have the baby. I asked my fertility doctor if my other symptoms could be related to why I wasn't getting pregnant. He told me that it very well could be, so I decided to go back to my primary care doctor. He referred me to a GI doctor and I had a colonoscopy.

"As soon as it was done the doctor told me that he did not have good news. He told me I more than likely had cancer and needed to get checked out immediately because it had probably been there for years. I was diagnosed at 31 with stage IIIB rectal cancer.

"Before treatment, I was able to do a quick round of IVF to preserve my fertility since I would probably become sterile from treatment. Once that was done, I had six weeks of chemo and radiation. I then had a rectal resection surgery with a temporary ileostomy. They removed 12 inches of my bowels and 13 lymph nodes. One lymph node tested positive, so I had to have six more months of chemo. Once that was done I had my ileostomy reversal. I have been NED ever since. My 3-year CT scan is coming up in a few weeks. I am very fortunate to be where I am today."

Advice: "Stay strong and power on. On days that you want to give up, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Small steps turn into big strides. Choose to laugh instead of cry at the ridiculousness of the situations you are put in."

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