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Melanie Coxson

Patients & Survivors Stage I Rectal Cancer Florida
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Melanie's story

I have IBS, so when the symptoms started I dismissed them. I had heavy mucous and that was the main difference.

Then as time went on it took me two hours to pass a stool, and it was painful. Rectal cancer runs in my family. I got a colonoscopy. My parents went with me.

The news what not what I expected. I had a very large tumor in my rectum that they would have to surgically remove: stage I.

It took two surgeries, and they removed my entire rectum. I am still getting polyps two months later.

I don’t yet have control of my bowels, but the cancer has been contained so far with the surgery.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms included ongoing change in bowel habits, narrow stools, stomach cramps/bloating/fullness, fatigue, unable to have a bowel movement (bowel obstruction) or constipation, and mucous.

Side effects

Side effects included fatigue, bowel irregularities, pain, distress or mental health issues/illness.

Melanie's advice

A colonoscopy is nothing compared to the pain and possibly losing your life.

Seek support groups. I got an autoimmune disease at the same time and got PTSD. I’m still working through it and need support. People don’t understand that a lot of people abandon you during this time, so be prepared. Seek counseling. Reach out to people so you aren’t alone.

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