After I gave birth to my son, I started to experience bleeding. Initially, I assumed this was related to childbirth, but as the symptoms persisted, I told my doctor about what was happening. They referred me to a GI specialist, and my doctor scheduled a colonoscopy. that’s when they discovered I had stage one rectal cancer. I was only 36 years old.
I went through the typical procedures that go along with a stage one diagnosis including surgery but did not receive chemotherapy. After my surgery, the cancer was gone, and my ongoing medical scans began.
For the first year, I received medical imaging scans every three months to check for a reoccurrence of cancer. In the second year, the medical imaging scans were reduced to every six months.
Two years into remission, one of my routine scans caught an enlarged lymph node in my abdomen. At my four-year scan, my doctor saw that the lymph node had grown substantially, and the cancer had spread. I progressed to stage four and deemed treatable but not curable. I’ve been on and off chemotherapy for the last 3.5 years and routine scans are what dictate the course of treatment.
Throughout my treatment I am regularly reminded how important medical imaging is to my care. Had it not been for my colonoscopy or my routine scans, my doctors may not have caught my rectal cancer as early as they did or found that it had reoccurred.
That’s why I’m excited to go to Capitol Hill to share my story with lawmakers and advocate for policies to encourage medical innovation. One of the issues I’ll be advocating for will be the repeal of the medical device tax, which would protect access to the innovative medical scans that patients like me rely upon for our care.