Valerie's Story

Valerie Schock, local nurse, had no family history of colon cancer and was given a clean bill of health following her first colonoscopy at age 51. Soon afterward, though, she developed new gastro-intestinal symptoms like diarrhea and cramping. She sought medical help for these symptoms and was diagnosed with lactose intolerance. When she searched for an explanation for this condition, which seemed to develop suddenly, she was told that it was normal to develop some new food intolerances in mid-life.

Finally, after suffering with these GI symptoms for more than four years, she scheduled another colonoscopy for December 2016. This time, the colonoscopy revealed a four cm tumor in her colon. Valerie chose to receive treatment with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health under Shalini Kanneganti, MD, FACS, FASCRS, medical director of colon and rectal surgery at Franciscan Medical Group.

She began oral chemotherapy treatment to shrink her tumor in January 2017. By April, her tumor was small enough to be removed and her surgery took place April 20, 2017. In May, she began intravenous chemotherapy and in October 2017, she had a surgery to reverse her ileostomy.

Today, she still has her chemotherapy port, pending a follow-up visit with Dr. Martin. “As a nurse I know the importance of screening, and I wish I hadn’t waited more than four years to go and get another colonoscopy. Screening is so important. The prevention of disease is so much easier for the patient if they catch things early. Listen to your body.”