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Laura Shook

Patient/Survivor Stage III Rectal Cancer Texas
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I had a small amount of rectal bleeding for two months.

I finally made an appointment with the gastroenterologist, and she ordered a colonoscopy. She told me most likely I had internal hemorrhoids, but she wanted to check.

I woke up from anesthesia to the doctor telling me I had cancer. My husband was by my side and asked the doctor to repeat it three times! It felt so surreal.

They immediately did a CT scan and found the tumor had grown through the rectum and was in three lymph nodes.

My treatment included chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery where I received a temporary ileostomy (and I also had an ileostomy reversal).

Side effects included pain and neuropathy.

If you notice any change in bowel habits, go get checked! Don't delay!

If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, start screening early.

Take one day at a time. You can get through this! Listen to your body; rest; and let it heal.

I wish members of Congress would please pay attention to the fact that more and more young adults are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Please help make screening available and affordable for everyone!

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