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Melanie's Profile



I had symptoms going as far back as 10-20 yrs. prior to dx. 'Stitch' on my left side while running late '90's. Unusual fatigue which I did ask Dr's about. Horrible IBS. Jan. of 2001 I went to a convenience care after having a completely bloody BM. Dr. dismissed me & sent me on my way. 6 mos. later was pregnant w/ my 1st. After he was born I had excruitiating pain when using the bathroom. Saw proctologist who started me on Metamucil. Only caused weight gain. Hardly worked. Then 16 mos. later pregnant w/ my 2nd. Noticed diarrhea really bad in 2nd pregnancy. Stopped going on long walks due to this. When my 2nd was 4 mos. old I went for routine physical & Dr. called to tell me that my AST & ALT levels were above normal. He wasn't sure why & it sent me into a worried tizzy as my IBS was so bad & I asked him if this could be cancer. I was assured "NO" & the nurse even told me to take a walk & eat an apple when I was in tears over this. This was 2004. It wasn't dx until Nov. 07! I thank Dr. Blank (gastro) & Dr. Vizzoni (family dr), in Freehold, NJ for their lack of medical knowledge. Sept. 05, I began having RAZOR WIRE LIKE pain horizontally down low, almost constantly. It was so debilitating, but I then began to suffer in silence as I felt everyone was tired of hearing me complain. I was doubling over in pain. Also, Dr. Reinertson in Puyallup, WA missed the signs. He casually mentioned I should have a colonoscopy in 1/06 & when I asked WHY, he told me to rule out Chrone's or IBS. He was not proactive enough. In Aug. 06 I became pregnant w/ my 3rd. I was 'thinking' I had endometriosis. Even saw my Gyn. & had an ultrasound on my pelvis mos. prior to getting pregnant. The technician & radiologist missed the giant tumor. In hopes that my 'IBS' like symptoms would get better, I only got worse. Oct. '06 I drove myself to the ER during the worst vomiting session I had (couldn't stop). I felt as if I was dying. I was left to wait for 4 hrs. before being seen. I was dismissed as probably 'going to' have a miscarriage. They gave me fluids & did an ultrasound to look at the tiny fetus & sent me on my way telling me that I had gastroenteritis. That ER Dr. didn't notice the large tumor in my Sigmoid colon. I continued having horrible nausea & vomiting throughout my pregnancy. I never had vomiting in my other 2 pregnancies. I was always slightly anemic (going back to 01 in 1st pregnancy) & so they'd give me IRON pills, on top of the already constipating PreNatal vitamins. My OB recommened several fiber therapies during pregnancy, which baffled him because nothing was working. I began thinking, with my symptoms, that it seems like there is blockage. I figured it out myself. Too late though. Because I noticed when I drank Metamucial after eating that I became very ill. When I was in labor 5/1/07 I was in terrible & unusual discomfort. The razor wire stomach pain became to come back more in the fall of 07. I attributed it to not eating as much fruit, as every 'Fall' for the last few years, I was having issues & was dealing with constipation since well after my 2nd was born (I used to have nothing but diarrhea, so I'd say that was a warning sign with the change in bowel habits! Dr's missed that too!) I decided to see the Gastro again. I found myself telling him that "I can not live like this anymore," with the pain. I had 3 kid's, a wonderful husband, yet I was in desperate need for pain relief. He felt my belly & during his consultation I heard him say the word 'cancer' one of the possibilities, but not to worry sort of thing. Dr. Reinerston never said that. I wish he had. My aunt died @ age 40 from breast cancer. My grandfather died from colon cancer. The wonderful Dr. who dx me was Dr. Manam (Puyallup, WA). Finally, someone listened. He wanted me back in 2 days for the colonoscopy. He must have palpitated the tumor & didn't tell me. He knew. I had my colonoscopy days later & never imagined I'd hear the words MALIGNANT in my Verscet haze. My aunt had a maligancy & she died. OH MY GOD. NO. My world has been flipped upside down & back up again. Nov. 12, 2007 I was dx. Thanksgiving of 07 I had my colectomy. The day before Thanksgiving I was given my new title: "stage3c colon cancer." Surgeon, Dr. Anthony Kim also saved my life. He removed the tumor & 32 lymph nodes, 14 of which were positive for cancer. He also biopsied a small spot on my liver, which was later benign. I had my port put in 12/5/07 & had to stop breastfeeding & begin chemo 12/10/07. For 6 months I fought a war. Battered & bruised, broken and uplifted. I couldn't eat or drink. Lost 55 lbs. I always felt dehydrated. I had 12 chemo treatments & 12 of Erbitux. So 24 in all, which meant I was at 'the cancer center' 2-3 times a week for roughly 10-15 hrs. sitting in that chair. Curled up & freezing. Unable to read, I would listen to music. Music has always lifted my spirits. I 'graduated' from chemo 6/3/08. My children did not know I was fighting cancer. I told them I was going for 'vitamins.' I hope to never have to look into my children's eyes & tell them. They only need to know when they are old enough to understand. But do any of us really understand cancer. I have been NED at each CT & PET. I have this done every 6 mos. My CEA count is down to .4 SO thankful. Keep up the good fight! ~ Melanie

Vital Info


December 23, 2007

Click Here


April 27, 1973

Cancer Survivor

Cancer Info

Colon and Rectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer in the Sigmoid Colon

November 12, 2007

Stage 3C

over 6.1


It's unpredictable.

What brokeness feels like.

Donate to the ACS.

Erbitux 12/07 to 6/08

I was given 6 mos. worth of Enfamil, which eased the pain from having to stop breastfeeding my then 6 mo. old. I'd like to continue that.

Richard C. Ostenson Cancer Center, Puyallup, WA (named after oncologist who died from a brain tumor)

I put it all in my biography.


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