Submitted By Seretha Collins

It all started with random stomach aches in October of 2010. They would come and go so sporadically that I thought it was something just stress induced or something to do with my eating habits. They even went away while I was on vacation later that year and while I was fasting with my church. But once I was off of my fast they came back with a vengeance. I finally went to a doctor in March of 2011 and they diagnosed me with really bad acid reflux. It was after that the stomach aches became more serious, I would be unable to eat and at times I would become so sick that I would throw up stomach acid. I even went to the emergency room when it became uncontrollable but everyone had the same diagnosis: change your diet and things will get better. It just wasn’t working so I pushed for a specialist which just meant more doctors visits and tests without any answers.

All through these medical issues, at my job we were hearing about rolling layoffs due to lack of work in my area. We were even offered an opportunity to do a voluntary layoff and after praying about it, God directed me to take the voluntary layoff. I thought it was so that I would have an opportunity to rest-God knew there was more to it. I was laid off on April 15, 2011 which was a Friday and that weekend was the worse yet. I was barely able to stand up straight, my abdomen was extended painfully and I could not keep any food or liquids down. I spent that following week trying to follow the doctors’ orders to change my diet but I could not eat or drink anything due to the pain. That next Saturday, April 23, 2011, I went to the emergency room once again. This time they knew something was really wrong. I was severely dehydrated, I had lost 20 lbs, and I still was unable to eat. I was admitted and went through many tests until the doctors found a blockage in my large intestines. We finally had an answer! I went into surgery thinking that this would be the end of my medical issues. They found out a day later, April 28, 2011 that the blockage was Stage 3 Colorectal Cancer.

Everyone was shocked from the doctors to my family and friends. I have no history of cancer in my family and I was only 25 years old which is very early for this kind of cancer to strike. I hit all the emotional lows that you can have in the next couple of days-anger, fear, depression, etc. I prayed to God to give me a reason for this test and He told me that my testimony would be a blessing to others. He wanted me to be a light in the middle of tragedy. I have now gone through 10 out of 12 chemotherapy treatments and will be in remission before the end of the year. I also have another surgery in January of 2012 to reverse the initial colostomy that revealed my cancer. Everyone from my doctors to family have said that my journey has affected them positively. I have only grown closer to Christ through the unemployment, surgeries, treatments, and exhaustion. He has truly provided a way out of no way many times in the last 6 months. He has been my Comforter, my Provider, my shoulder to cry on, and my Companion through the ups and downs.