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For Everyone Touched By Cancer

Sharing My Colon Cancer Story

Written by Nadya Carlson-Bowen on 
27th April, 2020
Updated: 29th January, 2024
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

My name is Nadya and I continue to share my story with others to bring awareness to Colon Cancer.

On November 21st, 1989 my twin sister and I were born in St. Petersburg Russia. We grew up as best friends in the orphanage not knowing we were sisters. We had an incredible bond and we both were adopted at the age five and moved to the United States. 

We grew up as best friends in the orphanage not knowing we were sisters.

We grew up like normal children.

We attend both public and private schools and we both played soccer through our whole lives. The transition to Russia to the United States was of course a challenging experience but also rewarding for us as a whole family. 

We grew up as best friends

In 2015, my twin sister gradually started to show signs of something.

She shook them off for a long time given the fact that we were both very healthy and lived an active lifestyle. She never realized something was actually wrong with her until on April 20th, 2015, my twin sister Vera was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer at the age of 25 years old. Her symptoms included: weight loss, bloating, blood in stool and abdominal pain. She had some surgery and began some treatment at that time.

Vera, was a bright spirit though it all.

In fact, as mentioned both of our outlets were playing soccer. I remember she played 8 games in one week right after chemo. It was a bit much but she wanted to live a normal life and not let Cancer define who she was. Vera kept also working at the one restaurant she absolutely loved until she couldn’t.

She fought very hard but sadly passed away peacefully on December 29th, 2015, 8 months after at 26 years old. 

In memory of her, I have found ways to help myself cope with this loss.

I have guided myself to try and live the best life I can while Vera watches over me. She would only want the same. I’ve continued to share my story in ways where fundraisers, relay for life and just being a young advocate can help ones self with spreading this awareness. I’ve been on our local news station twice to share my story. It truly is so unique and inspiring. 

Late December, last year four years later, I wrote a memoir in honor of my twin.

It addresses our lives together. We lived incredible lives! It starts with our lives in St. Petersburg, Russia, and transitions to the United States. The memoir then tells a story around our lives; adoption through a children’s and adults perspective, early childhood and adult life, struggles we faced through life, challenges we over came and her Cancer journey. Lastly I share my experience with as a caregiver, and although it is not a happy ending, I find that I heal better when I share my story with others. Especially for Colon Cancer.

We grew up as best friends

Cancer doesn’t discriminate in age, and I want to be a young advocate for others to know that it can happen to anyone.

Nadya Carlson-Bowen
In memory of her, I have found ways to help myself cope with this loss.

You can find the memoir on Amazon Books here

Half the proceeds of this book also go to the American Cancer Society. 

I hope this finds a way of healing to cancer; survivors, caregivers and fighters!“

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