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Jack Birren

Patients & Survivors Stage III Colon Cancer Wisconsin
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Jack's story

I was waiting for January 2017 to schedule my routine colonoscopy because of insurance.

Unfortunately, I woke up Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 24, 2016, with black tarry stool.

Having colorectal cancer run in my family, I knew it was cancer.

I scheduled a colonoscopy the following day. I had my colonoscopy Dec. 6, 2016. I woke up from the procedure and the doctor told my wife and I that they found two tumors, and he took a biopsy, but in his experience it's going to come back as cancer.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms included black tarry stool. Also being monitored every five years due to family history.

Side effects

Side effects included fatigue, pain, neuropathy, chemo brain, and distress or mental health issues/illness.

Jack's advice

I always tell people that whatever bad things they have heard about a colonoscopy, it is nothing compared to having your colon removed and going through chemotherapy.

My journey was seven months from diagnosis to NED. Surgery and seven rounds of chemo. I sometimes feel "Why does my story matter? It seemed so easy compared to others."

I didn't want anyone to feel like I was gloating. It was then that I thought, "Tell your story. People need to hear it because everybody's journey is different."

YOUR story will mean something to all, but could mean everything to one.

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