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Jameelah Mahmoud

Patient/Survivor Stage III Colon Cancer Wisconsin
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After consistent pain in my abdomen, I kept returning to my primary care provider, knowing something wasn’t right. I went for an ultrasound. Nothing was found, so I went home. I tried eating a clean diet and kept a food diary: I did everything I was told to do. 

But the pain was persistent.  

At one point, I Googled my symptoms and saw it could be colon cancer, but I didn’t think it could actually be. 

One day, I went to the restroom, and something was not right. I went to my primary care doctor and was seen by a nurse practitioner. She checked my stool sample, and she told me I needed to go to the ER immediately. 

In the ER, they did a CT scan. Afterward, I could just tell by the looks on everyone's faces that something wasn’t right. The doctor came in and told me there was a mass on my colon. They didn’t know if it was cancerous but immediately admitted me to the hospital for testing. I ended up having a colonoscopy. I was told the mass was cancerous. 

My pain started in November 2018. I didn’t receive a diagnosis until March 2019. 

I was misdiagnosed four times before I was finally diagnosed at age 33 with stage III colorectal cancer.

I had laparoscopic surgery, and they took six inches of my colon out. I had eight rounds of chemotherapy: I had both infusion and pills.

I did not go on social media. I was on a hiatus for a while. I just needed to process. I commend people who post.

People knew I was going through something, but they didn't know what. I really never came out and said anything until recently. 

The reactions have been a little different. I don't think people thought I had cancer or I was sick. I hid my port while I was going through treatment. I did everything to hide what I was going through. 

I have one picture of me on chemo. I have a video of me ringing the bell. For me it's just sacred. Maybe later down the line I will share.

But I'm still processing. For me it's just really, really hard what survivorship looks like. 

Everyone has their own things that they kind of keep close to their chest about what they go through. Even now, in addition to the scars I see daily, which remind me of all my body has been through, there are a lot of invisible scars that we survivors don’t talk about. 

Now with no evidence of disease (NED), I’m in surveillance. I am still in disbelief at what I’ve been through. It’s been a whirlwind of emotions. At 33, life should be full of experiences to look forward to. But for me, there’s so much uncertainty.

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