Please Take Care of Yourself

Yesterday I learned that a dear friend has colon cancer. I don’t know how involved it is or what the treatment plan will be. Additional tests later this week should answer those questions. Until then I’m trying not to over-react and hoping for the best.

In addition to eating a high fiber diet, the chief means of preventing colon cancer is the colonoscopic exam.  By age fifty–if not before–everyone should have one.  Yeah, it’s unpleasant–but not nearly so bad as say, dealing with colon cancer.

Shortly after my fiftieth birthday I had a colonoscopic done. The doctor removed two polyps and biopsied a questionable lesion. The lesion was precancerous.  The doctor scheduled me for surgery to have the lesion removed.

I don’t remember how much time passed between the exam and my surgery. It wasn’t much–something less than two months.  But in that short time the lesion changed from precancerous to cancer.

Fortunately, because we caught it early enough, the surgeon removed the lesion before it had a chance to spread.  Yeah, the colonoscopics I had to have over the next two years to make sure the cancer was gone were a pain in the ass.  Still, I consider myself to be very lucky. At least I didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation.  Had I waited a few months or worse, years, to undergo the colonoscopic exam, there is a very good chance I wouldn’t be here today.

I don’t know if my friend had a colonoscopic exam after turning fifty and I don’t intend to ask.  It’s water under the bridge now.  Still, I can’t help but think bringing it up several years ago could have made a difference.

So today I’m bringing it up for all of you. Please, before you hit fifty-one, make sure you get a colonoscopic exam. If you’re over fifty and haven’t, schedule yours today. You’ll never be sorry you did.  And knowing we’ve had this discussion, I’ll sleep better here in…

My Glass House

4 responses to “Please Take Care of Yourself”

  1. Sorry to hear that about your friend. And that’s so scary about your own exam. Yes, it is a pain, but when you consider the alternative, it is definitely worth it.

  2. Wow! That was a close call for you. So glad you took action when you did. I had my third one a few weeks ago. I’m only 52 … or 53… i forget… and on a 10-year cycle, but had some symptoms that concerned me. My grandma had colon cancer. I had my first one in my 30s when a routine exam turned ugly (thankfully a false alarm). had the second routine one in my 40s, and this one a few years early. hopefully i’m good for another 10 years now. I’m a firm believer in it. I guess the fact that I worked for a gastroenterologist (I was Dr. West’s first employee when he came to town in 1979) made a believer out of me too. Here’s hoping you get good news about your friend today.