When Jennifer Walker from New Jersey noticed herself feeling fatigued and losing some weight, she chalked it up to the regular fluctuations a body goes through.
Especially when it's dealing with the normal stresses of age, being a nurse and having two children.
Walker went to the doctor for a colonoscopy, expecting to be diagnosed with something simple like "ulcerative colitis, a common inflammatory bowel disease that's manageable with meds."
But she awoke four hours later to find out she had something far more dangerous: colon cancer.
The fact that she had a tumor came as a complete shock to Walker, who had never been on the receiving end of such bad news. She said:
"When I woke up and [the doctor] told me I had a large tumor, it was a complete shock, because I can't have cancer, I'm a nurse. I take care of people; I tell you [that] you have cancer."
"I treat you, but I can't have cancer. But here I am saying the words that make me so nauseous, and just to even say I have cancer is just so bizarre. But it is what it is."
She had undergone several other tests, including a breast exam, before receiving the colonoscopy. The American Cancer Society says colon check are unnecessary before the age of 45 (a number which has only recently been lowered from 50).
Walker now knows that if she'd waited that long, she would be dead.
Though she knows she shouldn't, Walker can't help but feel guilty about her cancer.
"You think of things you never want to think about."
"Who will take care of my children? What will I do? Can I afford a treatment? Can I afford being off from work?..."
"I've been angry, I've been sad, I have cried my eyes out for days, I've felt guilty, like this weird guilt because I'm a nurse, and maybe I should've known better, and maybe I should've gone sooner."
Facebook users sounded off in support of Jennifer.
Walker insists the people around her stay positive—she's intent on beating cancer.
"I'm not ready to die ... And all I know is that I want to live to raise them and to see them go to college, and watch them get married, and watch them have babies."
"And I can't wait for that."
"And in regards to this whole cancer thing, all I can say is, bring it. You have no idea how strong of a woman you are messing with."
"And I am going to fight for everything I deserve, and I have, and I want, because what's my other option? To roll over and give up? I came from far too little to do that."
Jennifer's friends and acquaintances rallied behind her.
The 32-year-old mother's most important message was one of self-care, however.
Mother's shouldn't dismiss their own health while taking care of the family or a career, she insists—trusting your symptoms are valid and making sure you're healthy could save your life.
"You never know, your entire world can change in a moment, and it makes you remember what's important."
"And this isn't necessary. You don't have to do it. You can catch it early. You can get a treatment plan in place, and you can change it."
Get yourselves checked, everybody—it's never too early!