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Kristine Brown

Patients & Survivors Stage III Rectal Cancer Texas
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Story: "I can confirm with 99% certainty that the mass is cancerous,” the doctor informed as I sat in stunned silence. I tried to process his words. My husband and I searched each other’s eyes for some response but found nothing. We tried to nod, signaling that we understood. But we had no idea what this news meant for us.

"Just a few weeks before, I had been traveling home from vacation when an unusual pressure against my tailbone escalated into excruciating pain. I’d had a few minor digestive issues, but I just excused them away with a renewed commitment to eat right and exercise more. As a busy 48-year-old pastor’s wife, mom, teacher, and writer, the need for any routine screening never crossed my mind. I didn’t think it could be something serious, but I couldn’t ignore this unexpected level of pain.

"So I talked to my family physician, who scheduled me for a colonoscopy. I am forever grateful she did.

"Now over two years post-treatment, I am proof that a full life beyond a devastating colorectal cancer diagnosis is possible. A supportive family, knowledgeable and caring team of medical professionals, and my faith all played an important part in my journey. A journey of healing, restoration, and hope for my future.

Thanks to the work of organizations like Fight CRC, access to screening at age 45 is more readily available. At the time of my diagnosis, the doctor said, had I been screened at 45, it would’ve made a huge difference. Now I’m so grateful that more lives can be saved with early detection."

Advice: "There is so much I want to say about walking this road—battling cancer one step, one treatment, one day at a time. But each time I try to describe the pain, discouragement, or weariness that a cancer patient experiences, I’m reminded of the strength and hope that pushes us forward. When we don’t know if we can find it within us to keep going, we take one more step. That’s what defines us as warriors. We won’t stop fighting."

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