Fernanda Lopez Franco was just 23 years old when she started experiencing symptoms such as feeling fatigued, lower back pain, cramping and occasional signs of blood in stool. Understanding something was not right with her health, Fernanda consulted her doctors right away. But, because of her young age the doctors decided it wasn’t necessary to do a colonoscopy.
With this decision in mind, Fernanda went back to regular life, working as a full-time barista after her graduation from college. This didn’t last long, however, as Fernanda’s pain became more and more severe, to the point where she wisely went back to the doctor asking for a colonoscopy.
On April 5th, 2022 Fernanda had a colonoscopy done; the doctors found a 5 cm tumor in her colon. A week later on April 12th, Fernanda had an appointment where she was given the results of the biopsy, and was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer.
On May 11th, Fernanda went in for surgery where 12.6 cm of her large intestine was taken out along with the tumor. After performing the colostomy they discovered that the cancer had spread to some lymph nodes.
Following the operation, Fernanda was in treatment for four months, and just this past November she was told that she’s cancer free. Fernanda is now 24 years old and will be in remission for the next five years.
Getting through treatment was incredibly challenging for Fernanda, and she emphasizes that she could not have gotten through it without her family. “My family was my best support, they were the ones that helped me stay positive, and strong. Being there for me despite my mood swings. cooking for me, listening to me, motivating me, ensuring that everything was gonna be fine and of course helping me financially”.
Fernanda wants everyone to be their own advocate when it comes to their health. This means keeping an eye out for any symptoms regardless of your age, and making an effort to go to the doctor with any concerns you have. After all, if Fernanda hadn’t gone to the doctor a second time, it would have taken more time to receive the urgent treatment she needed.
Since her diagnosis, Fernanda has learned to appreciate every single day of her life and to prioritize both her physical and mental health. Her overarching message to all readers that are going through any tough times, whether that be treatment with colon cancer, supporting loved ones with colon cancer, or anyone going through any other kind of mental or physical health problems, is to never give up. To “never lose faith that things are going to get better”.