Recurring stomach pains, unexplained weight loss, and digestive issues kept me in constant pain. When over-the-counter treatment didn’t work, I made an appointment with Linnea Ritter, NP, at the Be Well Health Center. I had not been to the doctor in more than 20 years, but I was in too much pain not to go.

At my appointment, Linnea referred me to a gastroenterologist and other specialists who informed me I had stage III pancreatic cancer. The other doctors used terminology I didn’t understand, leaving me feeling confused and unsure of next steps. I went back to Linnea, who called my doctors and took the time to clearly explain my situation in layman’s terms. After six months of treatment, which included a full panel of tests, surgery, chemotherapy, and oral medication, my tumor marker number went from 366 to 37.

This experience motivated me to change my lifestyle habits. I stopped smoking and drinking. I learned about nutrition and improved my diet by avoiding extra salt, sugar, gluten, and processed foods. I now incorporate more fresh produce into my homemade meals and replaced cigarettes with healthy snacks. I gained back the weight I lost and feel wonderful. Now when I am home, I spend more time enjoying hobbies instead of feeling sick.

Take it from me – don’t wait to take an active role in your health till a major issue arises. You only get one life so do whatever it takes to promote your health.