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Survivor Story: Natalie White

Houston, TX

My name is Natalie White and I am 38 yrs old. I grew up in Mt. Pleasant, Texas where I graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School. I went to Southwest Texas State University where I received a B.A. in English with a minor in Political Science. I attended and graduated from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. I moved to Houston, Texas after law school where I still live today.

I was never sick growing up other than your normal sinus/allergy problems. When I was 17, I had a breast reduction. I never really had any problems, I was always so healthy. Then 2006 came, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). My main fights were trying to prevent flare-ups and staying healthy. I thought that was bad enough.

Then July 2008, I had an MS flare up. I was given steroids to help with the symptoms. I was told the steroids could cause constipation. So, when I started having some cramping and problems going to the bathroom, I figured it was from the steroids. I would take mild laxatives and end up on the opposite extreme. I figured the cramping was just from all that. I thought I was causing the problem. This slowed me from going to see a doctor and I held out going longer than I should have. I didn’t see a doctor until October 2008. The pain would stop when I would have a bowel movement, at first anyway. Unfortunately, I let this go on too long. It wasn’t until I had blood in my stool that I figured something else was wrong. I should have gone to the doctor when the cramping started considering it was so bad, I would double over in pain and couldn’t move.

I finally went to see the doctor, who decided I needed to see a gastroenterologist. He decided I needed to have a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. They found five polyps in my stomach and upper colon and four polyps with the colonoscopy. Two of the polyps in the colon were malignant. Soon after, I was in talking to a surgeon and being told that my ascending colon and surrounding lymph nodes had to be removed. That happened on November 7th, 2008. I also learned I was anemic. It wasn’t long after my surgery that I was being told I needed to see an oncologist because they found four tumors in the lymph nodes during the surgery. The oncologist told me that I needed chemo and I started that on January 7th, 2009.

Upon starting chemo, I learned that I was still anemic, but my numbers were up. I am learning that I am stronger and more of a fighter than I thought I was. I am determined to win this battle. Although I just started chemo and not really sure of its effects on me, I am determined to stay healthy and on schedule with my treatments.

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