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Michael Caprio

Patients & Survivors Previvor Colon Cancer New Jersey
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Story: "When I was 18 years old I had to get a blood test for a genetic condition. The condition that runs in my family is called Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, and it is a rare genetic cancer that accounts for 0.5% of all cases of colorectal cancer. It's a disease that has run in my family for four generations and has affected my mom, aunt, and grandma.

"Upon my diagnosis, I was the fourth person in the family to get it. With my condition, it wasn't a matter of if I will get cancer, but when I will get it. My body can't stop the growth of polyps; instead, they multiply. After my blood test results came back positive, I had to take a subsequent colonoscopy to make sure the blood test results were accurate. I remember looking at the results of my colonoscopy with my parents as the doctors circled the hundreds of polyps lining my large intestine. It looked like my large intestine was made of bubble wrap."

Advice: "The fear of getting the checkup pales in comparison to the fear of being strapped to an operating room table knowing you're about to get cut open. The screening can be scary, but it can prevent surgery or worse, which is far scarier.

As bad as things might seem, time truly does heal all, and sometimes it can take years. For me, it did take years, but it turned over gradually. The human body is incredibly resilient and so is the human spirit. Once you conquer something that is life-threatening, the other trivial issues of the world become insignificant in comparison.

"What helped me the most in the pits of my journey was forcing myself to adopt more responsibility, and taking it out of the hands of others, which is something I still apply to my life today."

-Michael Caprio

I found that by taking care of myself, and my ostomy, I recaptured some of that self-pride that my surgeries had robbed me of. I tried to focus on taking the worry away from the ones in my support group who love and care about me the most. Even if I was miserable, I started to consider the people around me and be strong for them, which again goes back to responsibility. Developing responsibility is a very underrated tool, and one you don't think about when you are depressed, and believe me I have been there before."

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