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Natalie Savoie

Patients & Survivors Stage III Colon Cancer North Carolina
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Story: "In 2009 at age 19, I was attending college as a full-time student, feeling completely exhausted day in and day out. One day while walking to class with my best friend, I remember specifically saying, "I think I have cancer." My friend told me I should go to the doctor, to which I replied, "And what? Check for cancer?" Less than a week later, I was in the ER with severe rectal bleeding. Their first thought was hemorrhoids, while I just wanted them to find what was wrong. A few days later, they finally performed my first colonoscopy. The next day we were told that I had 150 polyps, a 6-inch mass and that I would need a total colectomy. My entire colon would need to be removed. The pathology came back as benign. I had my surgery. My surgeon gave me a J pouch so I would live the most "normal" life for someone my age. While in surgery, my surgeon noticed swollen lymph nodes. Out of the 60 he removed, only a couple were malignant. I started the Folfox regimen 6sixweeks later. From my research, that makes me a stage IIIA survivor.

"Now eight years in remission, I often say cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me. It gave me a true passion for life! I have developed a 'Why not now?' mentality."

"Before cancer, I wanted to be a doctor. During my hospitalizations and treatment, I decided I wanted to be a nurse. The one in the trenches with patients, seeing the day-to-day improvements first hand, listening to their feelings, insecurities, and frustrations. I wanted to be like my nurses, who pushed me along when I thought I could not make it any further. I became an RN two years ago. After I finished chemotherapy, I joined the Charlotte GYRIG team. I was also a Colon Club model in 2015 Colondar 2.0. I want to become more involved in the CRC community because I want to be a voice for my friends that aren't with us anymore, I want to be a voice for those currently fighting and I want to be a voice for those that aren't getting screened appropriately!"

Advice: "'Don't give up' sounds cliche. But it's true. You have to find the light at the end of the tunnel, even when you think there isn't one. My chemo nurse told me every week, 'In trying times, don't quit trying.'"

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