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Nicole Chancy

Patients & Survivors Stage III Rectal Cancer New York
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Story: "In late 2015, I started having health issues and I thought that they were minor. I was scheduled to go to my church’s annual corporate fast for 21 days. I thought this would alleviate some of the issues that I was having – high blood pressure, heart palpitations, tiredness, frequent bathroom trips, and shortness of breath. A close friend of mine and I were joking and laughing about issues we were having, such as hemorrhoids and constipation. She was constipated, I thought I had hemorrhoids, we’re laughing about everything and then she said, 'Just to be on the safe side, you should get checked by a doctor.' I kind of brushed her off, saying hemorrhoids are normal, no biggie. But something did not sit well with me and I took it upon myself to go back to my doctor.

"I went to the hospital a few weeks before my trip, and received a general physical with everything coming back normal, except my blood pressure. I spoke to her about the hemorrhoid-like symptoms and she assured me that it was normal, after all, her husband who is also a doctor, has been living with his for years. She offered me a referral to go to a specialist just so I can put my mind at ease. I met with the specialist, who examined me in his office on January 12th, 2016. He told me that hemorrhoids are usually not that low and he wanted to do a colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are usually done on older folks when they reach fifty. I was 37 and I had never even thought about a colonoscopy. The colonoscopy was scheduled for January 18th.

"During that time, I looked up my symptoms and discovered that some people had polyps and I said to myself, 'This must be it. They will just remove it.' All the while, I was praying and fasting for several things, but the focal point was my health. I prayed so much that sometimes I was left with no words. In those times, I would pray the Lord’s Prayer and Psalms 23. I was also comforted with the scripture that says that when we do not know what to ask for, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. When I woke up from the colonoscopy, the doctor told me it looked like a lesion. I did not know what that was so I said, 'Doctor, please tell me what that means.' He told me that it was a cancerous tumor.

"At this point, I lost it. All I could think about was that I was going to die just like my mother did, at the young age of forty. I would not be able to raise my children, two beautiful girls ages seven and nine.

"So after composing myself and getting into the Word of God, I began to stand tall and face whatever I needed to face. It was confirmed after doing an MRI and cat scan that it was stage III rectal cancer. I decided to go to the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. I was lucky to get on a protocol that eliminated the normal radiation. The standard treatment was typically six cycles of chemo with radiation, surgery, and then another six cycles of chemo. I was relieved that I did not have to do radiation. I started my first chemo treatment in May 2016 and sailed through it. Surgery came in September when the tumor was removed. Next, I completed six cycles of chemo, ending on January 11th, 2017. I thank God that he spared me from side effects that many others are greatly affected by. I was happy to have no nausea and short neuropathy. However, my hands, feet, and tongue became discolored. I was able to work while undergoing my cancer treatments. Thankfully, I was able to do everything that did before my treatments, except eating fresh fruits and veggies whenever my white cells dived. The Neulasta/Neupogen shots were the worse part of chemo. I was happy to discover the cocktail to alleviate that bone and muscle pain. My experience at Sloan Kettering was extremely positive. The staff was so kindhearted. My doctor, the nurses, and PCT's that I met were very caring.

"I am strong in faith and I believe no doubt that God healed me."

"I am eager to share my story as much as possible! I have started an Instagram page to document my journey. I kept it quiet for the entire year from many friends and loved ones because I did not want to talk about it. I was not in denial; I just did not want to give the cancer any power. Now, I can talk about it freely and not feel sadness and pity. I chose to share my story to spread awareness and to help people stop cancer in its tracks."

Advice: "One thing I found that helped me is to avoid looking at other patients’ experiences and believe that you will have the same experience. I did not want to look at Google and WebMD because they caused me fear and anxiety. I put my trust in God for my own experience. It may sound naive, however, it kept me sane and calm. I focused only on healing my mind and body."

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