One night in the fall of 2018, I was experiencing some stomach bloating that escalated into a sharp pain in my lower abdomen. My husband insisted I go to the doctor who immediately sent me to the emergency room.
In the emergency room, I was given a CT scan, which revealed that my colon was perforated. I had exploratory surgery that day when they found what they thought were just two cysts on my liver and fibroids on my uterus.
My first colonoscopy had been scheduled for just a few days after my surgery, but given the change of events, I had to delay the procedure while I healed. When I did finally get that colonoscopy, doctors found a mass on my colon. After a second surgery- a colectomy and a hysterectomy- and additional imaging, doctors determined I had stage four rectal cancer.
At first, every time I had to tell someone about my cancer, I immediately started crying. I felt lost but being able to read information and connect with people online made me more comfortable and ultimately helped me find the support and strength I needed.
Now, I’m ready to take my story to Capitol Hill to help others. I joined Right Scan Right Time in Washington, DC, last week to urge lawmakers to protect access and innovation in medical imaging by repealing the device tax. Without proper medical imaging, my doctors would not have found my rectal cancer and metastases, and these life-saving innovations should be encouraged, not penalized with the medical device tax.