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Scott's Story

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Scott Bernstein was diagnosed with left-sided colitis at the age of 11. It wasn’t easy going through his formative years, especially back in the 1980s when treatment options were more limited than they are today. He would bounce from flare to remission, mediated by courses of steroids that could provide some relief from the colitis but with their own negative effects.

At the end of 2008, when he was 34, Scott started to experience more severe symptoms than a usual flare. Something just didn't seem right, as though he was in some way blocked. Over the course of the next few months he made multiple trips to his GI. Each time he was sent home with a different prescription, none of which seemed to help.

He'd had a surveillance colonoscopy the year before and his doctor didn't think another one was needed, but Scott insisted. In March of 2009, while he was prepping for the procedure, he felt more bottled up than ever. That's when he started vomiting. His wife – seven months pregnant – took him to the emergency room.

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"You have to be your own advocate. Trust your body. Get it checked out if something seems wrong."

After a long night in the ER, Scott underwent the colonoscopy first thing the next morning. What they found was ominous: a stage IIIc tumor in his sigmoid colon was causing an obstruction. He was sent to emergency surgery. He later learned that he had almost died, his necrotic colon having sent his body into septic shock. His initial recovery took weeks and was followed by subsequent surgeries and cancer treatment. 

When his son, Ari, was born in May, it was a surreal experience. While his wife recuperated at the hospital, Scott headed down to the infusion suite for one his chemotherapy treatments.

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"It's at the big family moments that it still hits me. I might not have met my son."

More than a decade later, Scott remains cancer free and incredibly grateful for the things he has been able to experience that he would have missed had things gone a different way. 

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