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Survivor Story: Stacy Ostenson


Stacy Ostenson
Benton Harbor, MI

I turned 40 last October and thought that would be the worst thing to happen last year, since I was not looking forward to getting old!

Well in the beginning of September, I had taken my daughter to Chicago for the day with friends and felt a little weird but thought it was from being out in the sun all day and on the ferris wheel at Navy Pier. The next day when we were back in Michigan I took my daughter to the beach for the day and while we were there I had used the restroom and saw blood in my stool – I just thought maybe it was from drinking red pop the day earlier or from hemroids or an ulcer – I was also feeling light headed.

Later that night we went back to the beach for a cookout and I had passed more blood before we left there and was feeling even more weird. I called my friend that had work at the hosptial what I should do – she suggested going to the ER and just having it checked out.

So off to the ER I went and they determined that I did have internal bleeding somewhere, but not sure where so they ordered a colonscopy. I went in for one that week on a Thursday. I hated the prep and was glad it was over. They removed six polyps from inside and thought pretty much that it was nothing to worry about since I was young and pretty health. I am a little overweight but there is not history in my family anywhere of any cancer.

On Sept. 24th my cell rang while I was at work and I noticed it was the doctor’s office calling, they said the nurse would call when the test came back – so it shocked me right away when the doctor himself was on the phone – he said one polyp came back positive and I needed to have surgery – if I had not had the colonscopy till I turned 50 he said, like normal, I would of been dead before 50.

They took out 18 inches of my colon in October and one lymph node came back positive so I started chemo on November 24th. I am officially half way there as of this week and have my first CT scan, since all this started, tomorrow. I am hoping for some great results!! So my message to everyone is please, please do not ignore the symptoms you have – they could be the warning you need to save your life!!!

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Jessica M says:

    Thanks Stacey for sharing your story and for your encouragement, I go for my colonoscopy soon after some bleeding and niggling symptoms.

  • Jessica M says:

    I forgot to say God bless you Stacey x

  • Pieter says:

    Hi Stacy, yes it also took me to stand infront of the door of death what a shock! I’m over most and is busy with chemo. Stay calm and live life to the fulliest! Pieter

  • Ann Overby says:

    I am 59 and did not have any obvious symptoms, no rectal bleeding, just low iron and low hgb. I had a clean colonoscopy 5 years before. Also had had 1 before that before I turned 50. I have had esophagitis and my brother has esophageal ‘s stage 4 so I had EGD 2 years ago and just no cancer but I had fullness and pain in upper left and so they repeated that, That was clear. Then they did CT of my abd/pelvis and that was clear. I had had the hidden blood test done showed no blood. I was on iron so my stool were black, so I stopped my iron a few days and stools were normal. The only thing was they were very soft and urgent but no cramping. I have lived with IBS all my life so didn’t think too much about it. I am also a nurse so usually am on top of things. Finally they did colonoscopy last and found a mass the size of a raquet ball in my ascending colon almost completely obstructing. Then I had surgery, took out 10 inches, had to recover from that. Then found an abscess on a tooth and needed a root canal so one week I went to dentist and got all of that done. Then port in and had my first chemo last Monday. I am on Folfox. Felt great Monday and Tues till 6:30 I woke up from nap, took Compazine and tried to eat toast but by 9 I was throwing up and that went on all night except I slept from 12-2. I tried to take the nausea meds but I was throwing up every 5-25 min. I was to get my pump off the next day so I called and told them I needed fluids and they scheduled me. They have me 5 different meds and I was still throwing up vile. So they admitted me, have me Phenergan and I finally got some sleep and relief. They gave me another dose in the night, I was slightly nauseated and Ativan for sleep and nausea. I slept great and woke up feeling great! So thankful they work with you until you are better. I think I got 3 bags of fluids too! Next time it will go better. They sent me home on steroids for 2 days and 2 more pills, one for stomach and one for nausea. I am to take or alternate nausea pills around the clock until Sunday. So glad to have a plan. Then I can drink water like I’m supposed to and eat small frequent meals. Thanks for listening I am just starting this journey.

    • Erin Peterson says:

      Ann, Thank you for sharing. It sounds like you and your doctors have a great plan in place and are headed in the right direction. Our thoughts are with you! Please reach out if there is anything we can do to help.

  • Sherana says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I go for my colonoscopy soon and I m getting a liitle bit scared.

  • CAROLINE says:

    I go on Monday for my 4th Chemo treatment. The nausea has been bad but I haven’t actually thrown up. My Doctor has me taking nausea meds (Zofran) before they start the infusion and then every 8 hours for the next 3 days whether I feel I need it or not. I also have Compazine as a back up as well. I believe this plan helps a lot with the nausea. The fatigue and neuropathy are another thing, nothing seems to help these symptoms. Also, Chemo brain. I can’t seem to find the right word sometimes when I’m speaking and am slightly forgetful about certain things.

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