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Mariely Del Valle

Patients & Survivors Stage IV Rectal Cancer New York
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Mariely's story

I was having blood in my stool for about two months but not every day, and my stool consistency had changed (very narrow). I made an appointment with my GI, but I was extremely scared, so I rescheduled three times, until finally I went June 15.

The doctor did a colonoscopy, (we all thought it could be hemorrhoids), but he came out with the news that I had colorectal cancer. I have a 5cm tumor in my sigmoid colon. I was referred to Memorial Sloan Kettering, a cancer hospital in NYC, and I got MRIs and CT scans, to confirm that I have three tiny lesions on my liver.

This means that they can’t do surgery, but we needed to start with chemo, 6 rounds, then surgery to dissect whatever is left of my tumor and liver lesions after chemo. I will leave the hospital with a hepatic arterial infusion pump for a couple of months.

This entire process has been extremely scary, but my team of doctors ensure me that they are aiming for cure, and they are extremely reassuring which calms me. As of now I’ve received three chemo treatments, and I’ve barely had side effects, other than nausea, dizziness, and some numbness on my fingers, and oh – I can’t tolerate cold foods.

I’ve been living my day to day with so much intention now, knowing that your life can take a 180 degrees and change in a minute. Having cancer isn’t a death sentence, it’s a life sentence.

There is so much life during and after cancer!

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms included rectal bleeding or blood in stool, ongoing change in bowel habits, narrow stools, stomach cramps/bloating/fullness, and fatigue.

Side effects

Side effects included fatigue, bowel irregularities, chemo-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), and neuropathy.

Mariely's advice

Seeking medical advice can be very scary, because of the outcome, but sometimes in life we have to do things even when we are scared, and this is one of those moments in life.

Medical conditions that are caught early on, most likely have a solution.

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