Battling colon cancer at 33, Boone employee finds support from colleagues

Going into 2013, Nicolle Blacketer knew this year would be a turning point.

She had been accepted into the pre-med program at Florida State. She planned to move from her home in mid-Missouri and begin classes this summer.

Nicolle Blacketter

Nicolle Blacketer works as a staffing coordinator at Boone Hospital. She was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer in 2013.

But her life suddenly pivoted in another direction after a call from her doctor in early February.

“Cancer happened,” she said.

She had gone to see her doctor for what she thought was a hemorrhoid — a little blood in her stool and minor constipation prompted the visit.

But her doctor was immediately concerned. Further testing confirmed the worst. Nicolle had stage-4 colorectal cancer. It had already spread to her liver and lungs.

The news was an absolute shock.

“It’s almost not real. It’s like, am I really that sick?” Nicolle said. “I kept saying, ‘I’m only 33. This happens to people 50 and over.’”

Nicolle soon began the first of six rounds of chemo intended to push back the cancer. She will have surgery later this year.

The aftereffects of chemo felt “like getting hit by a semi truck,” Nicolle said.

Her family and friends rallied beside her during these difficult times. Her family held a bake sale that raised $900 for Nicolle. Staff members at Boone Hospital Center, where Nicolle works as a staffing coordinator, made t-shirts in recognition of Nicolle’s cancer fight.

Boone employees wear Team Nicolle shirts in support of Nicolle's cancer fight.

Boone employees wear Team Nicolle shirts in support of Nicolle’s cancer fight.

“It’s almost overwhelming how nice and kind people are,” she said.

In May, Nicolle received some good news. Scans showed the chemo was working. It was a welcome victory during a year that’s been far different than she expected.

One thing Nicolle has not lost sight of is her goal of receiving an advanced degree in a health profession. While she wasn’t able to start her pre-med program, she is currently pursuing her masters in psychology.

But first on her agenda is working with her doctors and caregivers to defeat her cancer.

“It’s a struggle and it’s a fight, but I’m more than willing to fight,” Nicolle said. “I’m ready to go, I’m not giving up.”

She encourages everyone to follow the recommended cancer screenings and, if a concern arises, have it checked out.

“Even if you have those little symptoms, you need to get it checked out,” she said. “I almost didn’t get it checked out. What if I hadn’t?”

4 Responses to Battling colon cancer at 33, Boone employee finds support from colleagues

  1. Bridget Graves McPike says:

    wow!!! What a story Nicole. Its great that you are able to share this with others. My mother and sister battled breast cancer and both are fine. Both had no problems sharing their story with the public. My sis never onced addressed her cancer as a sickness. well with that being said i am so glad that you are feeling better. It takes a very strong person to fight cancer and be successful. Good luck with this battle and the victory is yours. CLAIM IT!!!!!!. much love to you and to all those that have been showing you support and LOVE……

    • Nicolle Blacketer says:

      Thank you Bridget. I saw your Mom at Relay for Life on Friday and she looks amazing. I am staying strong and looking forward to each and everyday.

  2. tiffany says:

    You go gurllll!!! U HAVE CANCER BUT CANCER WILL “NOT” HAVE YOU…!!!

  3. Robin Gwinner says:

    Hi Nicolle. I don’t know if you remember me. I worked as a unit sec. on cardiology Dec 2011-May 2012 until I started RN school.I worked with you a few times when you signed up for extra shifts. My mom had just past away from cancer then, so your story really hits home. I am so sorry to hear you are having to go through this. You are young and strong. Keep your head up and fight this withal you have. My mother was first diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and beat it and lived 17 yrs. The cancer that she had in 2011 was unrelated to her colon cancer. My prayers and thoughts are with you. You can beat this.

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