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Erika Garcia

Patients & Survivors Stage IV Colon Cancer Colorado

“The few weeks leading up to September 26, 2020, I'd been having a bit more trouble getting the kick in my giddy up going. My brother and I had been working our tails off preparing my townhome for him and his beautiful family to move into. I finally took residence in the apartment. I slowly made progress and continued to feel a bit tired, but nothing indicating something dark and evil lurking inside. Then the week of the 21st, I started experiencing total fatigue: barely making it through a shower, unable to walk Maya, rolling nausea, muscle weakness. I felt awful and frustrated! I called my mom and she urged me to get tested for COVID-19.

My mom instructed me to call the after hours doctor at my clinic and tell them about my symptoms and I got scheduled for an appointment. One more thing I have to reveal is over the last couple months I had been having cramping pain when passing gas, sometimes doubling me over and sometimes just annoying. I was expecting I'd go in, get examined, and she'd send me on my merry way to the lab where they'd swab me and I'd end up with COVID-19. The doctor explained she'd check for any inflammatory markers in the blood work and we could talk about what might be going on with "the gas.” At this point, I'm terrified of the fact that I had exposed my parents to COVID-19 and what happens next if I have COVID-19?

Long story short, I end up in the ER and get taken for a CT scan. The doctor explained that he'd been checking and rechecking the results of my tests and working behind the scenes all day on a few indicators he didn't like in my symptoms, vitals, etc. For example, my heart rate and my white blood cell count was ever so slightly elevated. He said he just needed to keep working to see if he could get to the bottom of it. Thank you, Dr. Wood for being so diligent!

Finally, he sat down and pulls up the CT. I hear words like mass, tumor, colon, malignant, metastasize, liver... My mom took my hand and started crying. I sort of floated out of my body staring at him. I understood the words, I just didn't understand.

I was admitted to the hospital for an emergency colonoscopy. A GI confirmed the tumor and supported the diagnosis. Followed by surgery and meeting with an oncologist, stage IV colon cancer was diagnosed. And that’s where my journey began.”

Advice: “Be positive, let bad moments be bad moments, then lift your head up and find perspective in each day.”

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