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Erin Verscheure

Patients & Survivors Stage IV Colon Cancer Michigan
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On August 31, 2016, at 18 years old, I was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer. I just graduated high school in June and was thrown into the real world quite quickly. My life before cancer was living through family and friends, working, just starting college, and just being a regular 18-year-old girl. I honestly did not know that colorectal cancer was a real thing, so I never did any research about it and was diagnosed very quickly.

I was only experiencing one symptom, which was having blood in my stool. I was having that issue for about six months and my mother and I didn't think much of it: ”It was most likely hemorrhoids” is what we told ourselves. After lab work, stool samples, and a colonoscopy we were surely proven wrong. I was basically diagnosed within a week, I had lab work and a colonoscopy all in one week. I remember on August 31, before getting the news I was in my college English class researching for the first time about colorectal cancer. Pretty crazy, right?

Growing up, I was an all-around good kid and never broke anything or had something major happen to me that I would need to be in the hospital for. So this was my first time being there for some major reason, and let me add that I have NEVER been poked by so many needles! I have such an amazing support system in my life, which made this much easier to cope with. I am so thankful for my family and friends who are experiencing this journey with me. Doctors called me "one in a million" and that’s because only one out of a million 18 year olds in the world will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. If I can be completely honest with you all, I was proud to be that one 18 year old. I did not let cancer stop me from doing anything, and I never let cancer define who I was.

After a surgery, port placement, 12 rounds of intense chemo, taking chemo home with me for two days, MRIs, CT scans, three ER visits, blood transfusions, ultrasounds, and two colonoscopies. At 19, I was cancer free. Now, I'm 24, and cancer has made me really proud of myself and really put my life in a positive perspective.

"I share my story with you because I want you to know that you can overcome this, and cancer will NEVER define who you are. We are all on your side: We can fight this together!"

Advice: "Through my journey, I always told myself to never let cancer define me. So my advice to you is that you're stronger than this cancer and it will never define what kind of amazing, inspiring, and strong person you are!"

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