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Colon cancer survivor shares her inspiring story

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Julie - Colon Cancer Survivor
“You can fight this, there’s no other option!”

Julie was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer in April 2016. She has now successfully defeated her disease and now lives a healthy life with her family.

The diagnosis

“I get asked ALL. THE. TIME. What my symptoms were that lead me to think something was wrong. People are always surprised that ‘someone so young’ has rectal cancer.

I was diagnosed at age 36 in April 2016. I was having pain after bowel movements which eventually led to a colonoscopy which found the tumor.

On Monday, April 4, 2016, Chad, Quinn and I went to Home Depot to buy some new plants. It had now been about 2 weeks since my biopsy was done. We knew it would take some time to get the results but then my doctor was out of town too which delayed things a bit more.

We were in the Home Depot parking lot, loading our car when the doctor called with the results of my biopsy. She said that the results surprised her, they weren’t what she expected.

Ok, is this good? Is this bad?

She said that the biopsy came back as adenocarcinoma.

‘It is cancer’.

Well, that took the breath right out of me”.

The Journey

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Right after my diagnosis, right before treatment began-Mother’s Day 2016

“It’s been a rollercoaster. I participated in a clinical trial to hopefully avoid surgery (a permanent colostomy) which meant I did radiation while taking chemo pills for 6 weeks, followed by 16 weeks of IV chemo. I had one year of clean scans before some cancer cells were found during a follow-up colonoscopy. So that meant surgery which I had in February 2018.”

Motivation to fight against cancer

“My family was my greatest motivation for fighting cancer. They kept me going when I wanted to give up.”

The biggest hindrance

“The biggest hindrances for me were definitely the side effects of treatment. They wear you down & make you exhausted not only physically but mentally too.”

Message to other cancer patients

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“My message to other cancer patients is to take things one day or even one hour at a time. Also, know your limitations & put your focus on what’s most important to you. Everything else can wait.”

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