Hello, my name is Chrystal, and I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in March 2021 at the age of 36. It all started in December 2020 with continually having some very sharp pains in the lower right side of my stomach. These pains kind of felt like labor pains and would come and go, so I just kept blowing it off as nothing. My son’s dad kept telling me I needed to go to the doctor but I just blew it all off thinking, oh, it’s nothing especially since the pain would just come and go.
In March 2021, the pain had gotten worse, and was to the point of me crying at work and being sent home. Later that day, my mom checked on me and I was still crying in pain. She then made me get up and get ready to go to the hospital. I gave in and she took me to the ER. I just wanted medicine to help stop the pain. After a couple of hours and talking with the doctor about my symptoms, he wanted to admit me. I’ll be honest, I was absolutely refusing to be admitted. I was telling the doctor, nurse and my mom there was no way I was staying. I just needed some meds to help with my pain.
After about 5 minutes of arguing, the doctor basically said I needed to listen to him and that I didn’t really have another choice because if I walked out and refused treatment it would be bad. At that time, I was getting worried and scared because I had no idea what was going on. I finally got admitted, they did some labs, then got me ready for scans. After what seemed like forever, the doctor came in and told me I had cancer and the tumor on one of my ovaries was the size of a grapefruit. I completely lost it; I was worried, scared, and kept crying and thinking what am I going to do, I have 3 kids to take care of who need me.
I spent the whole month of April in and out of the hospital getting scans, tests and even emergency surgery. The doctors were able to remove the ovary with the tumor, and also removed a fallopian tube and did a colonoscopy. I had my port done in May, then about a week later, after having time to heal from the surgery of my port, I started chemotherapy. At my first chemo treatment, I broke down again, especially not being able to have my mom stay with me. As I went to sit down and get started, a very nice and sweet lady said I could come sit by her. That she would be there for me and help me get through my first day. I was very thankful for her being there that day. Eventually our appointments were changed and she was no longer there at the same time I was. However, I always asked the nurses how she was doing and she’s doing very well.
Chemo is no joke, it really messes with you and causes a lot of change within your body. Things taste different, you get worn out and tired easily; sometimes you even hurt. But I did what I had to do and I fight every day to beat this mess. Unfortunately, there was one day I did have a reaction to one of my chemo meds. Definitely not something you want to experience, but I had a whole team of nurses and doctors (5-10) with me stopping the meds, and getting different meds to help quickly stop the reaction. I made it through and the doctor completely stopped the one I had a reaction to.
I’ve been doing better since stopping the one, but still have my difficult days. It’s definitely been a long and very hard road. Especially with the loss of 2 grandparents and my mom all within that year. I already had severe anxiety, then after my mom passed, I was diagnosed with depression. I started seeing both a therapist and a psychiatrist. I’m slowly getting better, but still have a long way to go. I’m still on chemo and have started round 17. The end of March will be a year since before I was diagnosed with cancer. Then in May of this year, it will be a year since I started my chemo. I’m so thankful for chemotherapy because it has been working, my scans have been great and my CEA is way down to 3.5 from what I believe was 76 when I first started out. According to my doctor that is very good because 76 was way too high. I can say I’ve come a long way since last March, but I still can’t officially say that I’m cancer free just yet. Until then, I continue to keep pushing and fighting every day.
This story 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.