Germaine’s story

My name is Germaine Warren and I am a 36-year-old cancer survivor. In March of 2019, I lost 20 lbs. in one month. My doctor figured it was due to a change in medicine, since all my blood work came back clear. I had no other symptoms, so it would have been hard to diagnose my cancer at the time. In the summer of 2019, I began experiencing a loss of energy. I was severely fatigued when doing simple tasks. The fatigue progressively got worse.

In the fall, I began seeing blood in my stool. After an emergency room visit, and a positive test for blood in my stool, I was diagnosed with hemorrhoids. Although the diagnosis did not sit well with me, because I was not straining nor did I experience any pain or discomfort, I accepted it. Soon after, the bleeding stopped. Not long after, I began passing out periodically but did not realize that I was. I would wake up but not remember falling asleep.

On January 21, 2020, I experienced severe blood loss from my rectum. I went to the emergency room and was admitted because my blood count was dangerously low. After two days of testing the blood tests and CT scans showed no problems, including no signs of cancer. I was told that I probably had diverticulitis and that they were going to discharge me. A friend of mine passed in June. Before passing he mentioned asking for a colonoscopy in his cancer story. This stuck with me and I asked for a colonoscopy. I was assured that I did not have cancer but was told that they would perform one for my peace of mind.

The doctor that performed my colonoscopy was awesome. He was funny and cheerful, as well as his staff. We joked as I was prepared for the colonoscopy. After the colonoscopy, I do not remember much until the sedation wore off. But I do remember them saying that they found a mass. In addition, I was rushed to have a CT done of my abdomen and chest. Once back in my room and the sedation wore off, the doctor came to speak with me about the results. I could tell, before he uttered a word, that it was not good. His demeanor had changed. As he said the words colon cancer, my heart dropped. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and all that I could think about was death. This happened around 7:00 pm and for the rest of that night I was severely depressed. I do not remember much that night, other than praying.

The next day I started looking at things differently. I thought about how blessed I was that they would be able to operate, that I had a chance to fight. I did not feel as bad as before. It was not as hard. But one of the hardest things was to tell my 10-year-old son. He did not take it well and I knew that I would have to fight for him.

I had ½ of my colon removed on February 10 via robotic laparoscopic surgery. For two days following, I experienced the worse pain I had ever felt. They tried every painkiller they could, but nothing worked. A friend that was visiting saw how much pain I was in and suggested that I try a heating pad. I had tried everything else, why not? It worked instantly!! After a few days of recovery, I began to feel better. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.

Before my surgery I kept my diagnosis private. With only close friends and family knowing. The more I thought about how I was saved by my friend’s public battle and advice, the more that I knew that I must inform others. I felt that God allowed me to go through this so that I could help others. While fighting cancer, I have dedicated my life and privacy to educating; potential cancer patients (genetic), current cancer patients, health professionals, and essentially the world, on the ends and outs of a cancer battle. I do this with the hopes that others do not have to go through what I have and that they catch it early. If not caught early, there will be enough information to help new patients & caregivers with their battle.