My name is Ana Rodriguez. I wanted to share my story so that other young people may become more aware of the dangers of not paying attention to their symptoms or simply ignoring them because of embarrassment.
I had symptoms of rectal bleeding for about a year before I finally decided to tell my mom. She immediately got me an appointment at my doctor’s office. However, many appointments later, the doctors still didn’t know what was causing the bleeding. Finally, one doctor suggested that I should have a colonoscopy done, just in case, to check for polyps.
So, I went in for my colonoscopy and, indeed, the doctor found polyps. About two weeks later, I got a very scary telephone message from my doctor telling me I should contact him. He needed to see me immediately because the polyp they had removed was cancerous.
I went in for surgery to remove a section of my colon to prevent possible further spreading of the cancer. I had just turned 22 years old. Luckily, after the surgery I did not have to go for radiation or chemotherapy!
I tell young people to never ignore the signs their body may be trying to send them. Although they may feel embarrassed or shy to talk about it, your life is more important. My mistake could have been a life-ending one. Luckily, it wasn't! I am now about to turn 25 and have had three colonoscopies and doctors have found no polyps or any signs of cancer.