Chris Harper, diagnosed at 28

I was young, very active (completing CrossFit workouts almost daily) and did not get sick often. Luckily, I wasn’t the type who was afraid to go to the doctor.

I started noticing that I was often tired in the afternoons, lacked energy, and napped quite often. This was a change from how I normally was, but it didn’t seem out of the ordinary, because I was still so active and worked a full-time job. A few people mentioned that my skin color seemed “off”, which I thought was strange but mostly just laughed it off.

The red flag that finally sent me to the doctor came when I participated in a Red Cross blood drive. I couldn’t actually donate because my iron level was too low.

“Fortunately for me, my primary care doctor was very curious to get to the bottom of what could be wrong.”

I wasn’t sure if it just happened to be low at the time or if it had been low for a while. I honestly wasn’t worried, as I did not feel any drastic changes to my body, but made an appointment with my doctor anyway. Fortunately for me, my primary care doctor was very curious to get to the bottom of what could be wrong.

I brought up all the symptoms I could remember, and the doctor asked a lot of questions to try to piece everything together. My doctor ran some tests and knew something was abnormal.

He suggested that seeing a gastrointestinal doctor would be a great start for figuring out exactly what was going on. I made an appointment with a gastrointestinal doctor, who performed an endoscopy and the ever-feared colonoscopy.

This led to my diagnosis — a fairly large tumor on my colon. Several weeks later, I went in for surgery where the tumor and 3/4 of my colon was removed. I’m now healthy and under regular care of an oncologist.

If you notice any slight changes in your body, don’t be afraid to go to the doctor. You’re not overreacting, we have people that are here to help!

Second opinions are also helpful if you are unsure of any diagnosis or treatment. Getting other views on treatment plans helped me feel more comfortable in understanding the doctor’s suggestion and choosing the right option for me.

Take the time to speak up in the doctor’s office and make sure your concerns are heard.


  • fatigue
  • change in complexion
  • low iron levels