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Jennifer VanMeter

Patients & Survivors Stage III Rectal Cancer Georgia
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Jennifer's Story

I was 48 years old. Routine colonoscopy. No family history.

My husband was with me, but because of the COVID guidelines in May 2022, he was asked to sit in our vehicle and wait until the physician called him. I had given permission for him to be explained everything after the procedure.

My poor husband sat in his truck with tears rolling down his face after he heard the news. I was just waking up and was then told that I had a big mass on my rectum, and they were positive it was cancer.

Jennifer's Advice

Please don’t be afraid. I have been a nurse for 25 years, and I knew better. I was referred two or three times by my PCP starting at age 45 and finally scheduled it at age 48!

Then 6 weeks before my “routine” colonoscopy started rectally bleeding and having irregular bowel habits. The absolute worst thing about a colonoscopy is waking up to the words “I’m so sorry, but you have cancer!" That’s what I tell people.

So far since my diagnosis on May 3, 2022, three friends and six family members have had their colonoscopies done.

Of course I was devastated when I heard those words, but that very same day I had made up my mind that no matter what I had to do or how bad it was going to be, I was going to beat this.

I have remained positive and as active as I can be. No pity parties here. I have bad days, but as long as you don’t stay there, you’ll get through it. Be an advocate for yourself, speak up, because nobody else will. Hey, get that second opinion! You are worth it and turn your pain into a purpose to help others.

Never give up. Allow yourself grace and lean on others.

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