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Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month; What You Should Know

The month of March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month and because

taking care of your health is vital to self-care, we are sharing one of our contributor's stories about her battle with the disease. Kim creates the beautiful "mindful minutes" posts you see on our social media and she has graciously shared her experience with us in an effort to educate and create awareness so that others may survive as well.

Were you having any signs or symptoms prior to the screening?

"Not at all, I was just following medical advice to get the colonoscopy as the recommendation has been lowered to 45."

How are you feeling now after treatment?

"I am 70 days post-op, still figuring out diet, and longing for being back in great shape. I am trying to allow myself space and time to get back in shape. A bowel resection and 22 lymph nodes removed is major surgery, the scars are pretty intense, but I am trying to stay present and grateful for the outcome because so many are not that lucky."

What helped you the most mentally during your treatment?

"I had almost completed #75hard prior to being diagnosed. If you do not know what this challenge is, it is strictly a mental challenge. I know this prepared me for the diagnosis, surgery, hospital stay, and recovery."

What do you wish you had known at the beginning of this journey?

"You are going to have some bad days, and that is ok. I was very fortunate to have friends reach out who had been through other cancers, and step up and encourage me. I also had an amazing group handle meals for Family for a month. You need to ask for help and let people help.

When you get a cancer diagnosis, you have to confront your mortality and there’s something in doing that, it pits you against something really big and you strengthen your emotional muscle. I have learned what I can handle and what’s important and what’s not."

What do you wish others knew about colorectal cancer?

"I am proof that this Cancer can come for you regardless of age, fitness level. I had zero family history, eat healthy, and exercise. I would encourage anyone 45 and up to get one done. The prep and the procedure truly are not bad. Early detection is key, and I am so grateful to my surgeon, Adrienne Forstner-Barthell, she truly saved my life. If I would have waited till I was 50, I wouldn't be here to share and encourage people to be screened."

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Kim!

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