Greetings everyone. I only heard about this site last week!
My name is Kimmy. I'm 34 and I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer 5 years ago...when my son was 1 1/2. I have a long story.
I had been having stomach pains beginning about 8 months after my son was born. I was uninsured but had been seeing a doctor at my university's student health center. He treated me for IBS and later said it was probably anxiety and gave me Zoloft. Then later still he said I was too young for colon cancer and eschewed a resident's advice that I get a colonoscopy even though my mother had been diagnosed with it in her 40's and her father and 2 uncles all died from colon cancer while in their 50's.
I lost a lot of weight and was dizzy all the time. At a family function my father realized something was wrong and offered to pay for me to see a specialist. Within moments of being in the gastroenterologist's office, I was told I would need a double blood transfusion before they could perform any scoping.
After the transfusions, they scoped my stomach and found nothing. Two days later I had a colonscopy and was rushed to surgery 30 minutes after the procedure. Apparently, my colon had less than a pencil's width of space for food to pass through. When I awoke they told me they had removed a very large mass, a good portion of my colon and my ilioischial valve.
The pathology reports indicated that 3 of the 7 nodes were malignant the cancer had not penetrated the colon wall.
A month later I began chemo. Xeloda and Camptosar. This entire time I have no insurance and no real say in my treatment other than to thank everyone profusely. The chemo was intense and lasted 6 months.
I don't know if I got the best treatment. i don't know what everything that happened means for me in the future.
*Good news sprinkled in* I had a daughter 2 years ago. I gave birth to her at home, which was incredible.
My mother called me today to tell me that her colonoscopy didn't go well. Her doc found two large polyps. He wants her to have another colectomy. She is 12 years out from her first diagnosis.
All of this makes me wonder....what can I do to stay alive? I've been so busy with family life that it has been easy to pretend that colon cancer is behind me but I secretly worry that it is just a matter of time. How do I make sure I'm getting sound medical advice when I've yet to meet a doc I trust?
Anyone have a good book to recommend? Words of advice ?
Kimmy in Richmond, VA <---whose children have decided I've been typing long enough