My Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

Welcome to Life as a Cancer Survivor!  Jelena here to tell you all about the symptoms that I experienced leading up to my Colorectal Cancer diagnosis. The symptoms that I experienced are definitely ones that are commonly experienced by others that are diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer but can also be symptoms of many other gastrointestinal issues.

If you start experiencing changes in your bowel habits, definitely check in with your doctor and keep pressing for answers until your symptoms subside. Some important things to keep track of for when you do talk to your doctor are:

    • When did the symptoms start?
    • Is there anything that you do that makes your symptoms better or worse?
    • What is the quality of the symptom or pain (like is it a dull or sharp pain, are you having blood in your stool, has your stool changed), those kinds of things.
    • If there is pain, does it start in one place and radiate to another?
    • How severe it is, and how long the symptoms last.

Colorectal Cancer is on the rise in young adults, so don’t let your doctor tell you that you’re too young to be checked. In fact, if you were born in 1990 or later you’re twice as likely to get colon cancer and 4 times as likely to rectal cancer as somebody who was born in 1950. I’ll have the link below in the description to the summary of the study. And within that summary, there’s a link to the initial publication of that study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Now to the details of what my symptoms were.

It all started in June 2015. The smell of my gas changed and it was much stronger and much more potent than it ever was before. By August 2015 I was tired of those smelly farts so I bought a probiotic at the natural foods store thinking that that might help. Well, shortly after I started taking the probiotic I experienced my first bout of rectal bleeding, and it usually would happen when I was passing gas. In fact, I had to be on the toilet to pass gas, otherwise, I would have to change my underwear. Yuck, I know. The blood was red, so it was fresh, and there was mucus in it. I stopped taking the probiotics because I thought that those were the root of the bleeding.

Jelena at a Christmas tree farm

I gave my system a little bit of time to reset and then 2 months later in October, I decided to try the probiotics again ’cause I was still having the smelly gas. Sure enough though, soon as I started them again, the bleeding started again. So I stopped them again for good. I thought I was just going to have to deal with really smelly gas forever.

I mentioned the gas and the bleeding when I went in for my annual physical in February 2016, but since it wasn’t actively happening at the time, at least not the bleeding part, my Nurse Practitioner just said to give the office a call back if it started happening again and sent me along on my way.

Well, nothing actually happened again until May 2016.

The bleeding started again when I would pass gas, and I started passing bloody mucous with my stools. I had never had any digestive issues in the past. I always had regular bowel movements, and I had a stomach of steel it was never bothered by anything I ate, which for the past 14 years had been a vegetarian diet.

I wasn’t taking the probiotics this time, and then I started having loose stools. So my symptoms were back, and more were adding into the mix. I called the doctor and made an appointment with the Nurse Practitioner again, and when I went in she put me on a gluten-free diet for a week and had me go down to the lab and give vials and vials

 of blood to see if I had any kind of food allergies or sensitivities that could be causing this bleeding and the loosening of my stools.

The gluten-free diet was pretty hard for me as a vegetarian because carbs were a huge part of my diet, but I managed for that week. After a week on that gluten-free diet, no change in symptoms, all the food allergy tests came back negative so they decided to send me in for a colonoscopy, to see what’s going on inside.

The colonoscopy was scheduled for May 23, 2016. Check out my next video, My Diagnosis, to find out what happened in that colonoscopy.

*This video was originally published on October 16, 2019

*Here is the link to the site I mentioned on the rise of Colorectal Cancer in young adults:



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