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27 year old female, stage 3- any other young ones out there?

peasandcarrots's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Aug 2008

Hi there, all the way from New Zealand!
I'm a 27 year old female,
diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in October 2007.
I had surgery and have 1/3 of my bowel left- which works beautifully now! I finished 6 months of chemo- Xeloda(oral) and Oxaliplatin(IV) in June. As for depression- it smacked me in the face really badly!!!! About treatment 3 was when i was really bad and when anyone asked me how i was or said hello i would cry my eyes out.I went to counselling and got real with my feelings- learnt to go easy on myself, and lower my expectations of myself during chemo because of the physical efffects, plus, I went onto St Johns Wort(natural anti depressant over-the-counter) to control the emotions and increase the 'happy' feelings.I want to say to you that at times i felt like i had nowhere to go- nothing to do and noone to talk to- I call it my dark cloud. It was awful, but friends and family and faith got me through.I had never suffered from depression before and i think it was completely to do with the fact that life as i knew it -wasn't anymore. Chemo drugs have a lot to answer for as well I believe- they are both great and evil at the same time! I have often thought that it was the medication i was on that contibuted majourly to my emotional state.The light at the end of the tunnel has just kept getting brighter as every dark day passes.I'm back at work 2 months after finishing chemo- feeling great and much much happier. Are you a young cancer survivor, with questions about life or where to now?, or just need someone to relate to? Please reply and we can get in touch.Jenny (New Zealand)

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Jenny -

Welcome to the site. Sounds like you're already an old hand! I was Dx'd "young", too - 36. For CRC that's still considered young. A couple of years ago I got involved with a group called the Colon Club. The Colon Club's focus is outreach and education for people who are under age 50. The club's founder, Molly McMaster, was diagnosed on her 23rd birthday (BTW, she is now NED, married, has a beautiful baby boy... life certainly goes on!). Check them out at: http://www.colonclub.org You can also check out their calendar (also known as a "Colondar") at http://www.colondar.com

Welcome to the SemiColons.

- SpongeBob

peasandcarrots's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Aug 2008

Great, thanks for that website, sounds interesting and i will definately follow it up- Thank you so much. Thanks for the warm welcome too by the way- it feels better already knowing that i have got in contact with others who understand!
I'm guessing we'll talk soon, take care, Jenny

chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Jenny,

I am with you! I was diagnosed in October 2004 the day after I turned 27 with Stage III colon cancer. I had surgery to remove the affected colon and completed 12 rounds of Folfox (5fu, leukovorin and oxiliplatin... however you spell these drugs). I have been cancer free since surgery, thank God!

I'm with you on the depression. Depression really hit me hard, especially after I finished chemo. On top of it all, my daughter was about 15 months when I was diagnosed and all I could think about was leaving my pressious baby girl without a mother. We have been lucky to have had so many years together now. She is now 5 and started kindergarten yesterday. We are closer than ever and I still find myself tearing up when I think about the "what if's" which doesn't happen very often.

This board helped me pull it together. Just knowing others were there who went through the same emotions as me helped greatly. I also found/find prayer or repeating certain things to myself will calm me when I am feeling overwhelmed.

I try to eat a healthy diet, although it is hard at times and excercise. That helps a lot.

Well, welcome to our boards though I'm sorry you had to find us. Message me any time if you want to chat.


peasandcarrots's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Aug 2008

Tricia, , thanks for replying and great news that you are now cancer free! Ican't imagine how hard it would have been if i had a child(ren) when going through it all- I admire you for that- well done for making it through and doing it for your little girl- that must have given you something to fight for!
I can really relate to the 'what ifs' and i get them every now and then. It makes me feel bad because most of the time i am so positive and that really gets me down for a day or so and then i come right. Its good to hear that i am not alone in that respect.
I have got right into the whole diet thing, making sure that i am having lots of cancer fighting foods and orgnic fruit and vegies- but havn't started my exercise routine yet, as still trying to shake the tiredness from chemo- only enough energy for work really. I am hoping that my energy levels iad before it all will return- am i wrong in thinking that it will- how are yours?
Thanks for the warm welcome, and we will talk soon i'm sure.....
hugs, Jenny

katienavs's picture
Posts: 88
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi Jenny,
Sorry to hear of all you've been through but glad you are doing much better today! I was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer when I was 24. I had thirteen rounds of folfox, five and a half weeks of radiation and two surgeries. I am 26 now and doing great. I have been cancer free for over a year and am back to work and life as I (almost) knew it before.
The emotional struggle and challenges along the way have been so difficult also. One of the most helpful things has been this board and the comfort that there are others out there who know what I am going through and can relate to so much of the fight.
I would love to talk more.

peasandcarrots's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Aug 2008

Nice to meet you, thanks for the reply, and CONGRATS on being cancer free- thats great! It sounds like you had a pretty intensive range of treatment and I admire you for getting through it and being where you are today! You sound as if you have had some dark days also, so it is really nice to hear you are in a good place and things are beginning to feel more like normal- I can relate to that feeling and know how great it feels!
I am really happy that i have found this website as there is nothing like this where i live, and even though you are on the other side of the world- it gives me security knowing that there are others thatknow the feelings, and as you said 'can relate to so much of the fight' for me to get in contact with. It's really lovely to hear from you- thanks so much again for the reply, and i'm sure we'll talk soon. Take care, jenny

wolfmn26's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2008

Hi Jenny...You're not alone in being young when diagnosed. I was diagnosed in April 2007 at 33 (although not as young as you but young enough). I've had 3 surgeries, radiation, chemo (Xeloda and Oxyplatin), and for a while had a colostomy and an iliostomy. I can relate with you about the depression. I've been on antidepressants since this all began. After getting diagnosed and having the doctors tell me that there was a good chance of being left with a permanant colostomy, I fell completely apart. I would start crying my eyes out at the drop of a hat.

Things are getting better. I've completed all the treatments and the last time I saw my doctor he told me that the cancer was gone!! The last surgery I had was to reverse the colostomy and plans to reverse the iliostomy in the very near future.

peasandcarrots's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Aug 2008

Thanks for the reply and nice to meet you. Firstly congrats on the great news from your dr about being cancer free, that is really fantastic. I'm sure you welcome the nice feelings that come along with that! You sound as though you have something to look forward to and to work towards with the upcoming surgery, and that also will make a difference to your outlook on life! Your treatment definately was more than mine, and knowing what i went through- I admire you for how far you have come considering everything you have been through! Yes i can relate to that feeling that came along with the colostomy- thank goodness that was not meant to be part of my journey or yours for that matter!
I'm sure we will talk soon, and take care won't you, Jenny

lizbiz's picture
Posts: 121
Joined: Aug 2008

I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer at the age of 32. I was shocked as I've always been really active and adhered to a (mainly) vegetarian/whole foods diet. I felt completely betrayed by my body and still do to some degree. I had also just gotten married and my husband and I were talking about our "goals" for the next 5 years. Hah...it's kind of ironic.

Anyway, I'm getting ready to start my 4th FOLFOX treatment tomorrow and the side effects are starting to get worse. I am grateful that I'm able to still work during my treatment otherwise I'd probably go crazy worrying about all of the what-ifs. Needless to say what used to be my normal has drastically changed!

Stay strong, everyone!

mk1117's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: Jun 2006

You guys have helped make my day better - just by reading your posts. I was diagnosed at age 44 (which seems young to me), with no symptoms to speak of (beside a lingering low-grade fever). My dr. was treating me for chronic sinus infections. I finally had to specifically ask for a blood test, because a) I thought I might have mono or b) I thought it might be cancer. My dr. thought both seemed unlikely - I was too old for mono and too young for cancer.

Anyway - after surgery and six months of chemo, I've been cancer-free for 3 1/2 years. I took a low dosage of Accutane for a few years for adult acne - my dermatologist insisted it was safe - but I've seen some research that suggests a link between colon cancer and Accutane use. Has anyone heard that?

Things are great now - overall I've been able to stay fairly upbeat, although I do have my moments. (Suggestion: never watch the movie "The Bucket List", especially alone.)

I do notice that lately I feel like I'm having survivor's guilt. I feel guilty that I'm doing well while others I know with similar cases have not done so well. I've been on anti-depressents and anti-anxiety medication, but I'm thinking I may need some other treatment to deal with this.

I'm sorry about the circumstances that brought you guys here, but am glad to talk with you anytime.

Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2008

Liz; I had stage 3 colon cancer this yr. Surgery in March and I am on my 7th treatment. I too excercised religiously, stayed at a good healthy weight and at mostly vegetables, chicken, fish, etc. We ate red meat about once a month. I had a colonoscopy in 2007 and my Dr.removed a polyp and said to come back in 2008. He didn't get it all and I had stage III C 10 months later. I felt betrayed by my body and my Dr. I could care less about exercising now or eating salads at every meal.

Good luck to you.


msccolon's picture
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

Karen, I am APPALLED to read your comment about a colonoscopy finding a single polyp in 2007 and it being stage IIIC 10 months later! It definitely shows just how aggressive this beast can be when you get it at a young age. I was "young" for CRC at 43 and I too had always eaten healthy, exercised rather obsessively and rarely ate meat. I felt betrayed by my body as well, but over the 4 years since my original diagnosis I have come to terms with it. Being 4 months out from my last rounds of chemo, I am finally getting to the point where i can exercise again, but the body just isn't the same; the battle has taken it's toll. However, i know that i feel better when I exercise and watch what i eat, so I do so more times than not. But, i will be the first one to admit to not always being good; and that's ok too! I've learned that the physical perfection I spent so much of my younger years aspiring to just isn't that important! Be strong and continue the fight! Mary

KierstenRx's picture
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi Jenny,
Glad to hear you are doing well. I was also diagnosed young with stage III rectal cancer at age 32. My two year mark is coming up in September. It's been a long journey and in some ways continues. I had radiation and chemo, bowel resection and hysterectomy, move chemo (folfox and avastin). I too had depression issues. Mine did not even remotely surface until about three months after completing chemo. It smacked right in the face one day. I am still dealing with it. Most days are good and I look forward to the future, but at the same time I still get blue. I have learned I just have to take the time to mourn and acknowledge what I am feeling, then I am able to move forward. Best of luck to you and know that we are all here for you.


peasandcarrots's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Aug 2008

nice to meet you, and thanks for getting in touch. Firstly congrats on the two year mark- thats great news.I anticipate that moment with baited breath! Secondly- it really sounds like you had a lot to go through after surgeries and rads and chemo. Well done you for getting through it all and be where you are today! So you too would be familiar with the 'what if' feeling... i call it..... it enters your head and starts you thinking about what if the cancer comes back etc. I feel bad for having that negative thought- because 99% of the time i am really positive. On here i found many people willing to share their wisdom- that i am allowed to have that thought- that it is normal and many people go through it too. One person said to me "put all your enrgy into going forward now- don't look back" and oh how true this is!!!!! I can really relate to the fact that most days are good but some aren't and i too acknowledge it- make it real and then deal with then and there- amazing what we are able to do when we have to!I never thought i would face depression in my life, or thought that i could- and it's great to know that others can understand where we are coming from! Thanks for the reply and i hope that you too have only the best of things come to you in your journey. Take care, Jenny

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2008


I was diagnosed stage 3 with only one positive lymph node in January 2008. I have 4 kids and my yongest daughter was only 5 weeks old when I got the news. I had a subtotal colectomy and have had five months of chemo. (5FU and Oxolyplatin with Leucovorin.) Only 1 more to go after tomorrow. Anyways, I haven't suffered from depression, so I do feel for you. People always ask me how I can remain so positive during my chemo treatments. I always tell them that the alternative is unacceptable. There is no point wasting our precious time feeling sorry for ourselves. Enjoy your time with family and friends, even if you are not feeling up to par. Eventually, it will all be over and we can all get on with our lives. Good Luck.

kristasplace's picture
Posts: 956
Joined: Oct 2007

Hi Jenny! There seems to be a lot of us with early colorectal cancer. I was 38 when finally diagnosed, but around 34 when i got it. I don't know what the odds are in your country, but here, getting this cancer under age 40 is about a 5% chance. Under age 30 is probably even rarer. At any event, there is a neat website for cancer survivors under age 40 called Stupid Cancer. I go there sometimes to look around, and read the different articles. You might like it. I think the website is www.stupidcancer.org, but if you do a google search for stupid cancer, it should come up. Oh, their logo is "too young for this".

There is a definite advantage to getting cancer at our ages. For one thing, the doctors are very aggressive at treating, and being young, our chances of recovering from the damages of treatment can be reversed in most instances. I sure hope this is true since i've developed many complications mostly inpart from the radiation.

I hope you keep us up to date on how your treatments go!

Many hugs,

Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2008

HI Jenny,
I'm 36 and was just diagnosed with stage IIIC colon cancer on July 15. July 16 I had a tumor removed from my right side along with 12 inches of colon and 19 lymph nodes with 6 being cancerous. The Dr. started me on chemo Aug. 6 and I go for my 3rd round tomorrow. Everything has happened so fast, I still get upset but feel more angry now, especially since I ate healthy, worked out, took good vitamins and it didn't matter. I guess I am going through an angry phase now. I am a planner and this wasn't part of my plan. I am married and have 3 & 5 year old boys and was just getting my pre-pregnancy body back. Hopefully the chemo will continue to be tolerable and I will finish as you did.
I am glad to see that you are feeling better emotionally and all-around, hopefully I can keep my emotions in check too.

TY2HC's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Mar 2008

Hello Jenny,
Welcome to the group. It is a group nobody wants to be a part of but there are a great group of people here. I was diagnosed in November of 2003 at 27. I was "lucky" and it was caught early at stage 1. I only had to donate a part of my colon. When I talked to my surgeon she said you are too you to have cancer. To which I replied is there really an age where it is ok to have cancer?

While I have not experienced all that you have I can offer a positive attitude when needed. I always took the stance that it is what it is and I will deal with what is to come. I have learned that in doing this having cancer becomes a part of your life and not what controls your life. Life after a cancer diagnosis changes to include wondering if "it" will come back(which we all do no matter what stage we are diagnosed or at what age) and follow-up care. But life doesn't stop. I have 2 beautiful little girls and a wife that help me with this. Anyway, thats what I have learned over the past 5 years.


Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2008

Hi Jenny,
I am 35 female, and was diagnosed with stage 3 cc Feb this year(2008), has surgery 2 days later and am now I am 1 month on from 6 months of Xelox chemo (capecitibine tablets and oxaliplatin). I live in Auckland.

I went through a very very angry stage when first diagnosed. I was a right bi%&h to my family. I found I could work part-time through my chemo and have tried very hard to keep life as normal as possible, as I felt very strongly that the biggest battle I would/will have is fighting the "psychological cancer".

I am on anti-depressants and it has really helped me. I feel very lucky that my cancer was found 'early' (even though stage 3 it hadn't spread anywhere else in my body) for cancer, it is a pretty good cure rate. I have met many other people through my treatment with other types of cancers that have not been so lucky....and are facing a terminal prognosis.

We are lucky to be here and even though young, i feel my body has let me know about this bug before it is too late.

The irony is that I am a dietitian, I have eaten really well, exercised and never smoked. There is no rhyme or reason why we got this thing, and nobody "deserves" or "doesn't deserve" it.It is how it is. I am now going through the uncertainty and worry that comes with having finished active treatment.

How do people deal with this uncertainty?

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