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Rebecca Barber

Patient/Survivor Stage III Rectal Cancer New Hampshire
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I had just had a baby, and I started bleeding when going the bathroom. It was 2019, and it was getting worse.

I went in for a sigmoidoscopy, and they found my tumor while I was awake. Only the doctor and a nurse were with me.

I thought it was a joke and disassociated. Then the nurse mentioned my child and said not to worry.

I came back started crying because I forgot about my baby. I felt guilty and almost like it wasn't true.

Then I went back in for MRI and CT and found out I was stage IIIb at 32 years old.

My treatments were chemotherapy, surgery (which included an ileostomy and reversal), and radiation.

My side effects included pain, LARS, neuropathy, and increased anxiety.

Something that all members of Congress need to know is that people should be automatically approved for disability. I never was approved when I lost my hair, threw up all day, almost died. It is insane that anyone with cancer would be denied.

Many people will develop PTSD and cannot continue to work, but many survivors are forced to work and get stressed and are at higher risk for other cancers after.

There is not enough after care for survivors, and it's outrageous.

My advice to anyone who is afraid to seek medical attention or colorectal cancer screening is please go in to be screened if you have any sign that anything is off. Go in. It's better to take the time to go in and make sure it isn't anything serious before your body makes the decision for you. Or before it is too late.

Keep fighting
even when you feel awful.

Keep fighting
even if you feel ugly.

Keep fighting
even if your partner is leaving or cheating.

Keep fighting
No one should fight alone and you matter.

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