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Kristie Reimann

Patient/Survivor Stage IV Rectal Cancer Washington
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At age 45, I had gone to my gynecologist when I was having cramps and issues with bowel movements. She immediately got me in for a colonoscopy.

I was told I had a tumor and would need to see an oncologist soon. Within a week I had been to see so many doctors and had a lot of tests ran.

The oncologist was meeting with my husband and I to tell us what needed to be done. I had an appointment with the radiologist right after. He proceeded to tell me I had stage IV colorectal cancer and gave me six months to two years to live.

I remember feeling like all the air had been sucked out of me: shocked and confused that I could go from feeling fine a few months ago to a death sentence and no other choices.

He scheduled my chemo to start the next day and set me up to have a port put in as well. There were so many changes and so much information to try to understand it was overwhelming.

We took notes and tried to really just do what we could each day, but it was so hard.

I tried to stay strong and not cry all the time. I had three teenagers living at home, a job, so many responsibilities that were all going to change.

I was scared. My family was scared.

My advice for people afraid of seeking medical advice or colorectal cancer screening is: Don't wait to have it. We all get so scared about a colonoscopy, but they save lives and are not as bad as they seem.

The prep stinks but I would have 100, if I could have caught this earlier. It's one day.

I've had 100 treatments and have an ostomy because my colon had to be removed. Waiting doesn't help.

Take care of yourself.

I've been having treatment every other week or every third week for the last nine years.

I have had the same drug the entire time and other than a few surgeries, ostomy, and hernia issues, I've been out of the hospital.

Sure, I have to do things different than I thought but I'm still here.

Don't give cancer any advantage. Be the best you and Do You!

There are a lot of things you can do to help your body flight cancer. Eating foods that aren't processed. Lowering stress, and exercising will help as well.

I prepare things for the weeks I'm down to help my family function better and that way I don't feel quite so helpless by freezing an extra meal here and there, setting up appointments only on my good weeks, and trying rest when I feel like I need it.

The most important thing is to keep living life!

Don't give up without a fight.

Try anything and do everything you can. When you get down and are sad, go take a long shower. Have a good cry and come out ready again.

I didn't want to talk about it all the time. I didn't want it to be the elephant in the room every day. Do what you can, when you can and do it well.

Something I wish members of Congress knew is I wish we could be tested so much earlier and more often.

You hear so much about breast cancer and fundraising for it, but there are so many other forms of cancer and so much less funding for research for them. I would hope they would consider looking at ways to screen for so many more kinds.

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