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Joe Bullock

Patients & Survivors Stage III Colon Cancer North Carolina
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Story: "I started to have a bit of stomach cramping and blood in my stool right after my 50th birthday. My general practitioner sent me for a routine colonoscopy. On the day of the procedure I found out I have colon cancer. I didn’t know the stage at that point, but we knew that one of infected polyps was a cancerous tumor. I would not know the stage till a few days later. My official diagnosis was stage IIIb colorectal cancer. My life had totally shut down and my cancer journey had begun that day. I had a 10 cm tumor removed from my sigmoid region of my colon, 40 lymph nodes removed -- three tested positive for cancer, and I had six months of chemotherapy. I have been cancer-free for a year. The thing that gets me is that if I had gotten a routine colonoscopy in my early 40s. I would not have gotten cancer at all. I had no family history or symptoms until it was too late. Get checked!"

Advice: "Get with a therapist early. The emotional side of cancer is as painful as the physical. It took a while for me. I was trying hard to be a 'good patient.' Sometimes being strong is admitting you are in emotional pain.  Cancer affects us mentally as well as physically. Cancer can be an emotional, dark, and sad place to be alone. No one should suffer alone in this fight."

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