Jamie Crespo, 29
What is your experience with Colon Cancer? (Are you a patient, survivor, advocate, or caregiver?)
Both my parents were diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017.This was unexpected since cancer did not run in my immediate family. My dad showed signs of weight loss and anemia. He eventually was scheduled for a colonoscopy. In my gut feeling, I knew what the worst diagnosis would be and did not want to believe that it could be cancer. In mid-April, my parents and I found out that my dad had a large mass in his colon and needed surgery. This was the worst news that my family and I received. He was supposed to have surgery mid-summer but had a reaction to a cardiology test that pushed his surgery back to August. My dad had a colectomy to remove the part of the colon that had the mass. He stayed in the hospital for a few days. He had to undergo eleven rounds of chemotherapy with diagnosis of stage 3 colon cancer. With good news, he has been in remission since then.
While my dad was going through chemotherapy, my mom scheduled a colonoscopy that was long overdue from the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, her gastroenterologist told me he found polyps and a small mass in her colon that needed surgery to be removed. In November, she had laparoscopic colon surgery to remove the mass and was successful. She stayed in the hospital for a few days as well. Luckily, they removed everything and she did not need chemotherapy for treatment.
Did you have any family history of colon cancer before your parents were diagnosed?
I did have a cousin that was diagnosed before my parents.
Has your experience impacted your lifestyle? If yes, what are some changes you’ve made?
Exercising regularly, healthy eating habits, seeing a primary care physician yearly.
Is there someone or something that you have leaned on for support during this time? How did they help you?
When my parents were both diagnosed the same year, my support group, that included my family and close friends, came to visit when my parents were in the hospital. If I needed to talk to them they were there for me.
What advice would you give to others who are experiencing the same situation as you?
Definitely have a support group that you can talk to and get a colon cancer screening at age of 50 if not sooner.