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Stephanie Bertels

Family & Friends Stage IV Colon Cancer Tennessee

Story: "On November 7th, 2006, my mom was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. On June 19th, 2010, we were told that there was nothing more that could be done to save my mom. She began experiencing serious delusions and hallucinations. My dad and my sister and I were forced to place my 48-year-old mother in a nursing home. Where she died three weeks later on September 15th, 2010.

"This was a time in our lives when my mom and I should have been spending time together. Sharing stories, laughing, and playing with my daughter. She should have been able to appreciate the woman I was becoming while I appreciated the wonderful mentor I had always had but had never taken the time to appreciate; when I should have been able to learn important life lessons from her that I could then in turn pass onto my daughter.

"Instead, my mom suffered, lost her mind, and died. All my family could do was watch.

"Today is Wednesday, May 28th, 2014. I am currently 24 years old – half the age my mom was when she died – and my first colonoscopy is scheduled for Friday. It is a bit inconvenient to take time off of work, and the prep will undoubtedly be unpleasant. I'm so young, and it probably seems silly to many people for me to get screened at this age. But a bit of discomfort and inconvenience is well worth the avoidance of a slow and miserable death.

"My daughter will not lose her mother the way I lost mine.  My husband will not be a widower like my dad.  I won’t let colon cancer take me like it took my mom."

Advice: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. My grandmother and mother used to say this to me, and now it makes sense.  No one thought my mom would have colon cancer; we had no family history of it and didn't know what the symptoms were. For years, mom had been experiencing painful and disruptive bowel symptoms, but she had dismissed it as just a side effect of her medications. If she had known to get screened when she started having problems, she might have lived to see me get married, to see my daughter start school, to see my sister get engaged, to travel with my dad when he retires in a few years. She might still be alive today, if only we had caught the cancer sooner."

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