Being Proactive About Your Health Can Mean Being Your Own Health Hero
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
I would consider many doctors, nurses and medical researchers to be heroes. So many lives are improved and, of course, saved because of their hard work and dedication. With that said, it is possible to find yourself in a personal health crisis where you may have to be your own hero by being your own advocate and seeking multiple medical opinions.
For example, take a look at the story of two-time colon cancer survivor and mother of two Sherri Rollins. In 2017 (Rollins said she is now approaching the age of 50, according to a report from NBC’s Today), she started experiencing a lot of back pain. A scan that Rollins underwent during an emergency room visit revealed that she had a lesion on her liver. She was told by a gastroenterologist not to worry and that they would take a look at the lesion again in six months.Always trust your gut.
“But I was thinking that may be wrong, and I always go by what my gut is telling me,” Rollins shared, in the report from Today.
So Rollins decided to see another doctor who recommended an MRI. The MRI revealed that she had stage 4 colon cancer that metastasized to her liver. She was diagnosed in early 2018 even though she started experiencing symptoms in 2017. In addition to this, her father died from colon cancer when he was in his early 50s.
Even though stage 4 is the most severe stage, Rollins did not let that defeat her.
“I never felt doomed,” she said.
Over a year, she went through surgery and chemotherapy. After that, she thought she had been in remission for four years, however, she began experiencing weight loss, painful gas and other issues. Rollins then underwent several scans and was told there were no signs of cancer. She said she just knew something was wrong.
“I can assure you, you do not have cancer, you are hypersensitive,” her oncologist said.
I really do not like it when doctors speak to patients like this, especially when the patient ends up being correct. Rollins insisted that her cancer had returned, and, unfortunately, she was correct.
Rollins said she was told, “Upon further looking, you’re right. There is a lesion in your rectum. It was farther down than the original cancer. That’s why we didn’t see it because we weren’t looking for it there.”
Rollins previously had cancer that had metastasized (which means that it spread). Despite this heartbreaking news, Rollins maintained her positive attitude and saw several doctors. Some doctors told her that she would have to use a colostomy bag for the rest of her life or that her colon would need to be removed.
She then found a doctor she really liked and trusted who helped her not have to use a colostomy bag indefinitely and not remove her colon. With a very specific approach, they attacked her cancer and Rollins has survived and is gaining her life back with a positive attitude and hard work.
“It’s only been a year, I’ll get there. I’m getting out more and doing more,” she shared.
A positive attitude, trusting her gut and being her own advocate is what really saved her. She is the real hero in this story, and she definitely saved her life. I am not sharing stories such as these to make people think they cannot trust doctors. What I do want people to understand is that sometimes it takes speaking up and seeking out different opinions. Ideally, we get the correct diagnosis right away and our voices are heard, however, that is not always the case.
I think it is important to take note of other stories somewhat similar to this one:
- Untreated Anemia Can Be Deadly
- Young Woman Refused Colonoscopy For Several Months. Discovers She Has Colon Cancer and Lynch Syndrome
- Be Proactive About Medical Gaslighting
Also be proactive about preventing colon (colorectal) cancer.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, and many young people are being diagnosed with it. Within the past month, I have known two people in their forties who have either died or are struggling with advanced colon cancer. Actor Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer at just 43-years-old. Home screenings and colonoscopies can be lifesavers.
Be sure to check out:
- It’s Not the Sexiest Topic, But Let’s Discuss Colonoscopies
- When Should You Have Your Second Colonoscopy? Well It Depends
And for additional information on how to help prevent certain colon cancers through lifestyle choices such as diet, check out these pH Labs blogs.
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses, and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products, and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.