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Rebecca Bixby

Patients & Survivors Stage IV Rectal Cancer Pennsylvania
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Rebecca's story

I had six months of blood in my stool and was told it could be my diet or IBS. I also had right upper quadrant abdominal pain.

It took months to get a GI appointment, and when I did they scheduled a colonoscopy for four months out from my initial appointment. Only after I sought care through an emergency room, and a friend who is a physician ordered a tumor marker and it came back sky high (CA-19>6000), did things start to move quickly.

I was then given a colonoscopy within four days that confirmed rectal adenocarcinoma. My father was there with me, and my best friend came to be there as well. I remember the nurse closing the curtain as I sobbed, though deep down I had already known what was in store.

What I didn't know was revealed on further CT scans that showed metastases to bilateral liver lobes, as well as my right lung for a stage IV diagnosis. I have a 7-year old daughter, and 2 step-daughters ages 18 and 22. I am a school nurse and have been healthy all of my adult life before now.

Side effects

Side effects included fatigue, bowel irregularities, chemo induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), and neuropathy.

Rebecca's Advice

Get screened. It is much better to screen than find out at a later stage.

I was told that there is always hope and there are others in the same or similar situation who can provide guidance and support.

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