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Tim Sullivan

Patients & Survivors Connecticut
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Story: "I was diagnosed on February 2, 2020, (Happy Valentine's Day!) at 43. I had a colonoscopy because I had blood in my stool, and the tumor was found. The blood had been happening occasionally for years, but it never lasted, so I didn't think it was anything serious. I discussed it during my two previous annual physicals, but my doctor at the time thought it might have just been an internal hemorrhoid, and my bloodwork was perfect.

"I went into the colonoscopy expecting nothing more than a hemorrhoid or maybe a GI issue being found. The diagnosis floored me and fortunately, my wife Melissa was there to help with the information. I couldn't stop thinking about what was next for my wife and kids. The doctor's delivery wasn't the best, and we were left confused and really unsure of what to even do after leaving the hospital, other then a number that was scribbled on an envelope and handed to Melissa to schedule a CT scan."

Advice: "Do not wait. Colorectal cancer is treatable and beatable if found early. I have heard people talk about the discomfort of the prep or the stigma of the procedure. None of that claimed discomfort comes close to the alternative -- chemo, radiation, surgery, and we know those aren't even the worst, unfortunately. Being in my mid-40s now, I try to encourage friends, also in the same general age group, to get themselves checked at 45.

"Do not give up on yourself or feel that you are alone. Everyone has their story and everyone's story is important, but it is easy to feel like we are the only ones going through this. There is strength in numbers. There is strength and a bond in shared experiences. Seek out therapy or groups, such as Fight CRC, Colontown, Man Up to Cancer, and many more. Find what works for you and don't stop until you do. I let myself feel like it was me against this alone for longer than I should have. It was unnecessary, and I realize that now. I hope this encourages someone else in a similar place to seek the support they need and deserve."

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