My Colon Cancer: semicolon, not full stop

When life gives you cancer, make a punctuation pun. Life as a cancer thriver, by Jenessa Schwartz.


I’m Jenessa Schwartz. On March 27th, 2017, I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. But more importantly, I am a middle school language arts teacher, mother to two adorable redheads, surrogate mother to two equally adorable twins, and partner to a physics teacher, also adorable.

I will be documenting my cancer journey here and on social media, partly because I’m a middle child and need the attention, but mostly because colon cancer deserves some air time. It is incredibly treatable when caught early, but devastating once metastasized. Screenings are not free unless you are over 50, and most people under that age have to beg their doctors for a colonoscopy. The symptoms are easily overlooked and ignored, especially in young people who tend not to have any symptoms until the disease is quite progressed. So I will be shouting from the virtual rooftops, as loud as my hashtags allow: Learn the symptoms and don’t explain away pain! Talk to your doctor! Listen to your guts!