Editor’s Note, October 24, 2019: We received an update from Jessica’s mother that Jessica passed away in August 2019. Our thoughts are with her family as they move through life without her.
I was obese most of my life. In 2015, I lost so much weight. I thought it was because I changed my eating habits, however I was not exercising! I actually thought my job was exercising. I was working with autistic kids at the time. Other than this, I was using the bathroom nonstop. Every time I ate or drank something, even after eating something small like candy. I admit I was scared of eating.
My parents are retired, so they were in the Philippines at the time. They didn’t know what was happening with me. When they got back, my constant trips to the bathroom got worse, so I had a colonoscopy. Who knew a 28-year-old taking one was normal? I surely did not!
I was diagnosed in August, 2016. I had no family history of colon cancer or any other cancer. For a year after I was diagnosed, I wasn’t able to work.
I would say I had the usual reaction; I was sad, and I started tearing up. The weirdest reaction I had was in my head. I unfortunately was thinking about death.
I’ve grown up with my faith with God, knowing he has a reason why I got cancer. I believe he knew I dealt with something relatable. I have had a brain tumor called Lhermitte-Duclos disease, which is not cancerous, since I was 7.
My doctors have been great during my process! They support me 100%! They know I just want to live a “normal” life. They know I want chemotherapy, scans, appointments, etc., to be scheduled around my work schedule. I HATE missing work! I HATE being treated special because I have cancer.
Life has been great. I am now 30. I just live my life not thinking negatively. I hate not doing things because I have cancer! I travel and I’m a foodie. I don’t let cancer or chemo take me down. Yes, I do have cancer but it will not stop me from anything! I just want to live a “normal” life.
I really had no knowledge about colon cancer, only that probably 50-year-olds or older are diagnosed with it. I was wrong! I unfortunately kept my feelings to myself at first, but I learned to talk to God about it, and then my family.
I recently traveled to China for spring break at the beginning of April. I got the “go” from my doctor to work! I’m working with special education kids at a middle school. Personally, I’m just living my life. Right now, I’m just letting people know through social media that anyone can be diagnosed! Don’t be like me and think a small trait, such as losing weight dramatically, is normal! Get checked up!