I am a 39 year old married mom of three beautiful girls. About two years ago I started having tummy troubles. I had pain in my stomach and was constantly sick. My doctor attributed it to stress, as I had just become the PTA president. It continued for a few more months, and I noticed blood in my stool. I immediately saw my doctor again, fearful that it maybe cancer. She assured me that 38 was far too young to have cancer and that I had nothing to worry about.
I continued to get sicker, weaker, and lost some weight. I finally went to my doctor in tears begging her to do some tests. She sent me to a GI specialist who determined I had HPylori (a rare stomach bug caused by tainted water). He started me on a grueling round of antibiotics but my symptoms continued. Part of the HPylori treatment included an endoscopy and a colonoscopy to rule out any damage caused to the digestive track. It was during the colonoscopy that he found a golfball sized tumor near my rectum.
I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. I did 6 and 1/2 weeks of chemo/radiation followed by surgery to remove the tumor, surrounding lymph nodes and a length of colon. During this procedure I was given an ileostomy to allow my intestines to heal. I then did 6 more months of chemo. In May, I finally had the surgery to reverse the ileostomy and put my plumbing back together.
Two weeks ago I was officially declared cancer free and had the port removed from my chest. While I still battle many side effects of the past two years, I feel so blessed to be on this side of the fight. I could not have done it without my faith in God, incredible family and supportive friends all giving me the courage to Fight Like A Girl!!!
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.