‘I was diagnosed on April Fool’s Day at age 38’

Julie Kasse“My story begins in December, when I started having abdominal pains, which was my one and only symptom.

They first appeared after a long night of “celebration.”  I thought it was just part of a hangover, and I remember thinking to myself, “I’m getting old because my hangovers are getting worse!”

After about a week and a half of pain, I finally set up an appointment with my PCP.  She took the normal blood work and scheduled me for a CT the following week.  The pain intensified and I found myself at the ER over the weekend having the CT.

The ER Dr. diagnosed me with Mesentery Adenitis and advised me to follow up with my PCP.  I went back to my PCP and she was still perplexed as to what was going on.  I even suggested that I could have a parasite and she ordered the necessary tests to screen for that.  Of course, it came back negative, so she ran more blood work.  Those results came back showing Lupus, so she referred me to a rheumatologist.

I saw the rheumatologist in February, and she diagnosed me with Raynaud’s phenomenon and Scleroderma and was ready to send me on my way.

I said, “Wait a minute, I’m still having stomach pains!  If that is not a symptom of either of those two diagnoses then there’s still something wrong!”  She then referred me to a gastroenterologist.

I saw the gastro in March and he ordered another CT to compare to the one I had in December.  My lymph nodes were still swollen, so he ordered an MRI.

Before I knew it, I was scheduled for a colonoscopy.  The procedure revealed a mass in my intestine that was almost a full blockage.  Biopsy was taken and sent off for analysis.

I got the call on April 1st from the Dr. telling me it was colon cancer.  Almost ironic that it happened on April fool’s Day as you hope this is some type of joke.

Six days later, my surgery was scheduled where they removed a tumor the size of a fist and 60% of my colon.

I’m now well into my cancer journey and undergoing chemotherapy and trying to live as normal a life as possible.  I work when I feel up to it and try to get back in the gym as often as my body will allow.

I’m determined to beat this and return to my normal life of running and exercising.”