Her story is a reminder to always listen to your body.

By Samantha Lauriello
September 06, 2018

As a 32-year-old registered nurse and mom of two, Jennifer Waller never expected to hear a doctor tell her she had colon cancer. But after processing her new reality, Wallace decided she wasn’t going to give in to the disease without a fight. Her first round: using social media to stand up to cancer and send an empowering message.

“All I can say is bring it,” she said in this clip posted on Facebook at the end of August. “You have no idea how strong of a woman you’re messing with. And I’m going to fight. I’m going to fight for everything I deserve, and I have, and I want.”

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In the video, which has been viewed over 26,000 times, Waller said she started to think something was up when she experienced vague abdominal symptoms and unexplained weight loss. But between the stress of working two jobs and running around with her kids, she thought she might have ulcerative colitis.

Waller went for a colonoscopy—and woke up hours later to a cancer diagnosis. “I can’t have cancer, I mean I’m a nurse. I take care of people, I tell you you have cancer, I treat you, but I can’t have cancer. But yet here I am, saying the word that makes me so nauseous,” she said in the video.

Her warning about getting screened comes at the right time. Until just a few months ago, people in the United States were advised to go for their first colorectal cancer screening at 50 years old, which would have been 18 years after Waller's diagnosis. “According to my biopsy, I would be dead,” she said.

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But in May, the American Cancer Society released new guidelines recommending people get screened at age 45. The change was prompted by a dramatic increase in colorectal cancer cases in younger adults: People born in 1990 have double the risk of developing colon cancer compared to people born in 1950 and four times the risk of developing rectal cancer.

Waller has the opportunity to conquer cancer because she paid attention to her symptoms and sought medical attention. Other signs of colorectal cancer include blood in stool, unexplained stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea, and changes in the timing, frequency or amount you poop. 

For those facing their own battle with colorectal cancer or any kind of cancer, Waller's message is a reminder that you are strong enough to handle this. “I have no control over this situation, but the one thing I do have control over is my attitude, and I decided I’m going to choose to be positive no matter what," she said.