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I was 33 years old when I began noticing blood in my stool. I went to my family doctor and he had ordered an X-ray and CT scan of my abdomen. I was then sent on a 'wild goose chase' of suspicious “masses” that were “found” in my CT scan. Finally after finding out that the 5 cm mass found in my uterus was completely normal (it was just a bag of blood) my OB/GYN asked, why did you have a CT scan in the first place? I told him about my symptoms and he suggested that I get a colonoscopy ASAP. I went back to my family doctor that day and told the receptionist that I wanted a colonoscopy. . .I was told that the person who schedules these tests was on vacation for two weeks and that I'd have to wait. I told her that I'd be looking up “gastroenterologist” in the yellow pages and getting my own appointment. I did just that! I found a wonderful doctor (whose last name begins with A). He gave me an appointment within the week and I had my colonoscopy within two weeks of my initial phone call.
I had my colonoscopy completed and saw the tumor with my own eyes, and observed the biopsy (it looked like a little “Pac-Man”). My biopsy did show malignancy, and I was immediately scheduled for my colon resection. After surgery, they found that my lymph nodes were positive for cancer cells, so I had stage III colorectal cancer. I met a wonderful oncologist who explained the six months of chemo and six weeks of radiation that would be necessary for me to undergo in the coming weeks.
I opted to have my ovaries moved high within my body so that they wouldn't be “fried” during radiation. So after my second abdominal surgery in two months, I began chemo treatments with oxaliplatin. It was very exhausting, and I slept the weeks I had the treatment. Thankfully, it was given every other week, so I had some “awake” time to spend with my little 4 year old.
I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, which had spread to the lymph nodes, in 2005. After extensive surgery and one year of chemotherapy using leucovorin, 5 FU, oxaliplatin, Avastin, and irinotecan, I was in complete remission! I continue to remain in remission and have scans every four months. Even at diagnosis, my CEA levels were very normal. It is a miracle, and I am very grateful!.
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