I turned 50 years old in March of 2021. I had my physical in the beginning of August, 2021. My primary care physician relayed to me that I was due for a colonoscopy(because of my age*). I, of course, said “no thank you”. I had explained that I had no family history of colon cancer, so “I’m good”, or so I thought. My doctor then suggested doing something “less invasive”. I was intrigued. Cologuard. I was all for it. I mean, what could go wrong?
After numerous messages from Cologuard that had been sent to me to mail the box in, I finally did. On a Friday, towards the end of August in 2021, my PCP messaged me that my Cologaurd came back positive. But how? I didn’t have any issues that would’ve been a trigger warning, per se. I can not have cancer! No way. My family needs me. My husband. My two teenage boy’s.
As a female, I was never “regular” in that “department”. My friend’s and I would commiserate over our bathroom habits all the time. I didn’t think much of it. I’d be bloated quite a bit, but I chalked it up from being so irregular. Fast forward to September 19, 2021. First scope. My gastrologist relayed that I had two polyps, benign in nature. Sounded good to me, until the pathology report came back, September 25. One cancerous and one precancerous in the sigmoid colon, with possible lymphatic invasion of the submucosa.
October 5, 2021, I met my surgeon. October 11, my second scope to tattoo the area where the polyp was. October 13, my husband’s birthday, surgery. Robotic sigmoid colectomy. 12 lymph nodes biopsies. All negative. October 14, discharged to home. No further treatment. Cancer free. I did have complications though.
After a 3rd scope, December 27, an anastomotic ulcer had formed at the surgery site. Different treatments were tried. No improvement. March 16, 2022 4th scope. Ulcer has become worse. 2nd surgery May 2, 2022. Resection of anastomotic site. Through all of this I became anemic. I was referred to heme/onc(Hematology Oncology Specialist). I had two iron infusions at the end of August 2022 and beginning of September 2022, to which I responded well.
The girl who flat out said “no thank you”, to getting a scope, ended up getting four of them. It got to the point my surgeon let me pick my preps each time. He was an angel. He had told my husband that if I had waited another six months for the first surgery, it would’ve been a different outcome.
I hope my story will encourage those who are afraid to get scoped, or do a Cologuard, to do so. Pay attention to your body. It’s the whole stigma of the “colonoscopy”. It is not as bad as one pictures it. I would know this after having 4 in 8 months. It’s done so discreetly. The prep isn’t that bad either, from my experience.
*Since Tracy’s diagnosis, the recommended screening age has been lowered to 45.
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Thank you for sharing. It is so important to have these test done. Thank you for speaking up and out about it.