Shortly before Thanksgiving, my mom went to the GI Doctor complaining of lower intestinal pain and bleeding. She was previously told the problem was probably internal hemorrhoids, but her symptoms didn't improve. The doctor did a colonoscopy, and found diverticulitis and an ulcer. We thought the ulcer part sounded strange, but the doctor said he was "90 percent sure it was nothing to worry about", so we didn't think much of it. A week later, he called her into his office and told her she had cancer. Before she ~ or the rest of us ~ could process it, there was a flurry of appointments and tests to stage the cancer and prepare her for a treatment plan.
The diagnosis is squamous cell carcinoma cancer, stage 3 located in the distal rectal junction. It's a fairly rare cancer. Because of its location, the cancer is inoperable and will be treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. We decided to start a Caring Bridge out of an effort to effectively share updates with friends and family members around the country. My mom also bravely decided that maybe sharing her story might give her a future opportunity to encourage someone else who needs it. Thank you for your prayers and support throughout this challenging season.