By Reena A Jadhav
Almost 14 years ago, at the age of 35 years, I self-diagnosed myself with colon cancer. The first question people ask me is, “how did you know?!”
I listened to my body, saw the signs and took action. I started waking up with night sweats. I was only 35 years old, I couldn’t be in perimenopause. Why was I getting night sweats?
Then my digestion went from perfect to wobbly to just plain strange. I couldn’t digest the simplest of things.
But the biggest red flag was the red blood on my stool each morning. It was dark. When I googled those symptoms it would come up colon cancer. So, I went into my primary care with my symptoms and her response was that I probably had hemorrhoids, which most women do after delivering two big babies. I was adamant I wanted to get thoroughly checked up.
She referred me to another doctor who then referred me to a GI Dr. Shelby.
I remember walking into his clinic, proclaiming I had colon cancer, and him smiling at me serenely and saying, “why don’t you sit down, let’s chat.”
He decided to do a colonoscopy. “You remind me of those patients who won’t let go, so let’s take a look inside.”
Sure enough, there was a Stage 1 cancerous polyp brewing fast.
I went through surgery to remove it and got to live another day to share my story with you!
Here’s what you can learn from my story:
1. Always listen to your body, it gives us symptoms for a reason
2. You know your body better than anyone else. Trust yourself.
3. Stay persistent. Don’t give up. If you feel something is wrong, find a doctor who will listen and do the full workup.
It might just save your life too!
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