A slight discomfort and cramps are normal feelings for most women at this time of year.
When mom Melissa Ursini got a stomach ache around her period, she didn’t think much of it.
In January 2021, the 37-year-old got punctual stabbing pains near her abdomen.
Speaking to The Sun, Melissa, who lives in California, US, says it felt a bit like labor.
They continued for six months and eventually Melissa sought the help of doctors.
After being diagnosed with various issues including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and even a parasite, the hiring manager was shocked when she was finally diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer in July 2021.
Cancer of the colon is known as colon cancer and around 34,000 people are diagnosed in the UK each year.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 18,000 people under the age of 50 are diagnosed with colon cancer each year in the United States.
The cause of colorectal cancer is not yet known, but various studies suggest that colorectal cancer is more common in countries with a high-fat, low-fiber diet.
It has also been established that high alcohol consumption, especially beer, can also be associated.
Just days before her diagnosis, Melissa said she was ill.
“It smelled like diarrhea and was brown, like I was pooping out of my mouth,” she says.
Now, Melissa is sharing her story to raise awareness of the signs of colon cancer and hopes it will help save people from chemotherapy.
The mother-of-one, Melissa, says it took her about six months to see a doctor after she first encountered problems.
“I didn’t really go to the doctor that often, I was someone who was never really sick or had a cold.
“I was fine during my pregnancy.
“The pains in my stomach came and went around my period sometimes.
“In the beginning it was every three weeks and then it became two to one until I was in pain most days.
“I thought it might have to do with my reproductive health or even that I was going through early menopause,” she says.
You need to know the symptoms of colon cancer
Experts at the Royal Marsden said the main symptoms to look out for are a change in bowel habits:
- increased constipation
- alternating periods of constipation
- alternating bouts of diarrhea
- blood or mucus in the stool
- feel like you haven’t emptied your bowels
- constant feeling of needing the toilet
- pain in your stomach
- feel tired
They say you need to see a specialist if your symptoms last six weeks or more, including bleeding from the rectum.
Source: The Royal Marsden
In April 2021, she saw her obstetrician-gynecologist who performed ultrasounds of her bladder and reproductive organs.
Everything became clear again, so Melissa continued to go to work and did the school run.
But the pain got worse and soon Melissa lost her appetite.
She explains: “I recently had some dental work done and they had given me amoxicillin for the pain. But I had an awkward reaction to it and I threw up.
“One of the side effects of amoxicillin is sharp abdominal cramps, so I figured it would be just that.
“I went to the emergency room, they agreed and gave me an anti-convulsant medication to take home.”
The medication helped for a while, but the pain returned.
In June, Melissa had enough. She called in sick at work and asked her mother to take her daughter Regan, 7, to school.
I was sick and it smelled really bad. It was brown and smelled like diarrhea, and I think technically it was
“I went back to the ER and they ran my blood work and said, ‘I know what you have, you just have constipation.’
“I was so shocked because I could hardly eat anything so hadn’t really gone to the bathroom.
“The doctor told me that’s why I’m in so much pain and said he didn’t want to give me a CT scan because I was so young as there was a very low risk of cancer.”
Again, Melissa was sent home but returned on June 18 when the pain became severe again.
This time, a doctor did a CT scan without contrast — contrast is when the scan is illuminated to make cancer visible.
Melissa says: “They told me I had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) but the pain was all over my stomach.
“They said they couldn’t explain the cramps.”
By July 3, Melissa’s condition had deteriorated.
She describes herself as an outgoing and talkative person, but didn’t feel like herself.
“I had to go back to the doctors and this time they told me I had a parasite.
“I told them I hadn’t been anywhere because of Covid and they sent me away on antibiotics.
“By that point I was getting sick and it smelled really bad. It was brown and smelled like diarrhea, and I think technically it was.”
“I SWITCHED OFF”
Luckily, she called her brother-in-law, who worked at a hospital about an hour’s drive away, who told her to come in and have his team look at it.
Her husband Dominick, 37, who works as an electrician, drove her.
She says: “They did another CT scan here and there they saw the mass that was disabling me – which is why I couldn’t go to the toilet.
“I just tuned out and all I heard was the word ‘disability.’
“I’m not a small person, but at that point I couldn’t really hear anyone and it wasn’t until the surgeon came by that I understood the mass was cancer.”
A mass had grown in Melissa’s intestines, causing the pain.
On July 5th, Melissa was hospitalized and had a colonoscopy a day later.
On July 7, she had to prepare for surgery and drink a liquid that would help her “clean out.”
She eventually had surgery on July 8, where medics removed seven inches of intestine and 56 lymph nodes.
They successfully removed all signs of cancer and Melissa was discharged from the hospital five days later.
She now has a seven-inch scar on her stomach that she says is a part of her that she’s trying to embrace.
She adds: “I’m still in shock and can’t really believe this happened to me.
“I thought I was too young to get colon cancer. I thought if something like that happened it would be breast or ovarian cancer.”
While she is recovering, Melissa is being treated by City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States.
Melissa commended the staff there for helping her get back on her feet.
She says: “At first I couldn’t do anything and I couldn’t even wash my hair.
“But now I’m pretty much back to my normal self and I’m training again.
“I even went paddling with my husband for our anniversary in October.”
https://www.the-sun.com/health/4956609/told-constipated-strange-smell-uncovered-deadly-truth/ I was told I was just constipated