Diana Zepeda lived a normal life with her loving husband Alexander Sweeney in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, that simple life became more complicated when she started suffering from diarrhea, according to The Sun. Diana was 33-years-old when she started having these recurring bouts. She worked as an executive for Interstate Hotels and didn’t have much time for proper food, so she would grab whatever she could get her hands on. The Sun also reports that she was dealing with diarrhea for about two years, and it didn’t get any better. In fact, it got to the point where Diana was taking sick days from work.
Diana told the Daily Mail ‘I figured I’m not in my 20s anymore, I can’t just eat whatever I want without consequences and this is my new normal.’ But in February of 2017, Diana found blood in her stool. She had never found any blood in it before, so it was new and also very alarming. According to the Daily Mail, she Googled all of her symptoms to try and find out what was wrong with her. Unfortunately, diarrhea and blood in the stool are common symptoms for many diseases. She thought it might have been hemorrhoids, an ulcer or an allergy.
Despite all the diet changes she made, her symptoms did not subside, so she made an appointment with a gastroenterologist and had her blood tests done. The tests confirmed that Diana had E. Coli, according to The Sun. But the antibiotics that were given to her to help with the symptoms did not work. In fact, the antibiotics actually made her symptoms worse for her. So her doctor, Dr. Jessica Korman, booked a colonoscopy. If you’re unaware of how people prep for a colonoscopy, they have to take laxatives and purge the bowel by drinking 1.8 liters of fluids.
Diana told the Daily Mail ‘I was scared, I was embarrassed, I was dreading it. I didn’t know what to expect because that’s not on my radar at this age, so it sounded a bit overboard.’ When she tried to drink 64 ounces of liquid to purge her everything in her gastrointestinal system, the only thing it did not do was purge. She started to complain of severe abdominal pain and a lot of vomiting. So her husband rushed her to the emergency room. Doctors didn’t want to do a CT scan because it could affect Diana’s fertility. So doctors told her to come back the following day for a partial colonoscopy.
The Sun reports that the following day when Diana had her partial colonoscopy done, doctors found a golf ball-sized tumor. She was then diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. Diana is extremely lucky that Korman ordered the colonoscopy and didn’t just diagnose her with IBS like most people with those symptoms.
According to Michael Sapienza, a spokesperson for the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, about 85% of people who are under 50 and have colon cancer are misdiagnosed, and it’s getting worse. Sapienza also adds that if you are under 50, you double the risk of colon cancer than you did in 1990. To get rid of the tumor, Diana underwent radiation in order to shrink it first, then had surgery to remove a-foot-and-a-half of her colon, appendix, gall bladder and a few lymph nodes and 75% of her liver.
Diana is hopeful for the future and prays that she doesn’t fall apart every three months before she gets the answer on whether or not the cancer is fully gone, reports the Daily News. The one thing that she had left to say was “I hope that everyone takes their symptoms seriously.” I agree with Diana, when it comes to symptoms, especially with cancer, they cannot be ignored and it’s the doctor and the patient’s job to exercise every possibility.