Help increase awareness and screening of colon cancer.


Faces of Blue: Christina Frey

Faces of Blue: Christina Fey

I was 33 when I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.

It took approximately six months of doctor visits before I was diagnosed. I presented with severe abdominal pain, which was initially diagnosed as colitis. Even after being sent to a GI specialist, who reviewed my first CT scan, I was told, “we could do a colonoscopy if you want, but you’re too young for cancer, so I’m sure things will clear up.” My pain only got worse until I could no longer deal with it. Through my persistence for answers, and a few choice words, the ER doctor ordered a second CT scan.

I can remember very little about the day I received my diagnosis because I kept thinking “I don’t want to die.” I, like everyone else with a family, want to see my children grow, graduate school, fall in love, and start families of their own. All I could do that day is remember each milestone I had seen my children accomplish and wonder how many I would miss. I remember staring at my husband trying to memorize the handsome features of his face. I wondered who would take care of my family once i was gone. It didn’t seem real.christina-fey-2

This had to be a bad dream. At any moment I would wake up. I didn’t cry very much. I felt numb. Somehow, I thought, if I didn’t acknowledge this  being true, than it would all go away. Even as the surgeon was explaining everything, and I asked all the usual questions, I was thinking “this is no big deal, I’m a nurse, I can handle this.”

I can say now the surgery was a very big deal. My recovery was hard. I was very weak and lost a lot of weight. It was very obvious that I was sick. Losing my hair was depressing. Originally, I didn’t think it would matter. I had worked with cancer patients. When you’re fighting for your life who cares about hair?! But as a woman, it mattered. Having a huge scar down my entire torso and a port scar on my chest mattered.

I was no longer a nurse, a mother, a wife – now I was only a patient, a walking cancer. I struggled for a longtime with this new body and  my new identity. I went through a brief time when all I could think about was cancer and death; being afraid that each CT scan was going to give me an expiration date.

Then my body slowly got stronger and my hair started to grow back. My scans stayed stable and even showed improvement. I began to feel like myself again, and somehow felt better, improved. I have recovered from two surgeries and over 30 rounds of chemo.

I continue to fight everyday. And while I know my fight is not over, nor is everyday a win, I have hope and faith. I believe that this new chapter in my life is meant to show me great things. Now until my last breath, I will enjoy every single moment of my children. I will cherish each silly argument I have with my husband. And I pray that because of my struggle I have saved my children from having to go through this. If I can bring awareness or save just one person’s life by stressing the importance of early detection and being your own advocate, then I’ve done my job as a nurse.

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, cousin. The work you have done to raise awareness for colon cancer while battling it yourself is amazing.

  • Kellie O says:

    You are an inspiration to so many and the best friend a girl could ever have! I love you with all of my heart and celebrate you every day!!! Xoxo

  • Gwen Elfrink says:

    I am so inspired by you! I see this every day from the nurse’s side of the bed and have had some minor issues myself. Every single day i try to keep the perspective that it could be me in the bed, but for the grace of God, instead of the one caring for the one in the bed. Truly, your story is such a gift to so many and I will pray for you to live a long and happy life celebrating those milestones with your children and your story with anyone who will listen. You never know who it might encourage to get themselves checked!!! God bless you!!

  • Debbie says:

    Love you Christina!! You are such a strong woman and an inspiration to so many.

  • Karen waltermeyer says:

    Ironic your story popped up as I am friends with Kellie O. My old neighbor and bestie was just diagnosed with stage 4 mets to liver 2 weeks ago. I love your story and it is so inspirational. Keep fighting and living and loving every moment!

  • Yvonne says:

    You are an inspiration. Stay strong. You will win this fight and see all of your dreams come true.

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