Meet Miss November | Paige Hartmann

Yes, it’s true. This beautiful gal that’s featured as Miss November is a survivor of colon cancer… diagnosed at age 21. The Colon Club was thrilled to meet her and have her model for us in the 2012 Colondar. Read on to learn more about Paige!

paige-hartmann-21-year-old-colon-cancerThe BASICS

Name: Paige Hartmann

Diagnosis: Stage III rectal cancer in October 2009.

Age at Diagnosis: 21

 

ON SURVIVING CANCER:

Where were you when you found out you had colon cancer? 

I was in the hospital; they thought I had Crohn’s disease. They came back and said it wasn’t Crohn’s, it was cancer.

How did you feel?

It was a huge shock, not what I expected at all. It didn’t really sink in and it took me awhile to process what they had said. The pills I was afraid of when I thought it was Crohn’s didn’t seem as bad when I found out it was cancer.

What were your symptoms?

Rectal bleeding, really bad stomach pains and I was really tired. I had problems going to the bathroom – doctors thought it was IBS or other typical things they thought would be in symptomatic of a young girl.

What did your treatment involve?

Six months of chemo and laparoscopic surgery that removed all of the tumor.

Worst thing about treatment?

Being the youngest person in chemo. Every time I went there were people were at least 60 years old there asking me if I was in high school – thinking I was 18. It was hard not having anyone there who could relate that was around my age.

What got you through cancer treatment? Any goals or mindsets that plowed you through?

I got diagnosed the fall semester of my senior year of college. I stayed in school and finished treatment. I just graduated a few months later – wanted to finish school and not stop.

Does cancer run in your family?

No.

paige-hartmann-young-colon-cancer-survivor

WHAT HAS SURVIVING CANCER TAUGHT YOU…

About your body?

To listen to any symptoms or signs and not ignore them.

 About life?

It’s a lot more precious than I thought. Before cancer, I was always looking for something else; this has helped me live more in the moment and enjoy things.

About family?

My family was there through all of it, I couldn’t have gotten through it without them. They were a really important support system to have, sick or not.

How has cancer changed your life for the better?

I really do enjoy every moment. You don’t think about that when you’re younger and it’s sad that something bad has to happen to think of life in a different way. Even though it was a negative situation, it’s given me a more positive attitude.

What do you hope your message and survival story will do for others?

I hope it will help younger people relate to someone; that’s not something I had when I was going through it. Even though I had my family, it would have been nice to relate to someone around the same age.

 

RANDOM INFO ABOUT PAIGE

Job?  mental health counselor

First job ever?  Friendlies restaurant as a waitress

Hobbies?  Going to concerts.

Where are you from?  Worcester, MA

You just look cool. What other things about you make you cool? I change hair color all of the time. Oh, and I have 7 tattoos.