It certainly doesn’t get the attention like October gets for being breast cancer awareness month, but in case you didn’t know, March is colon cancer awareness month.
I’ve been personally affected by this disease, first when my brother Mike was diagnosed in 2005 when he was 36, and then when my close friend Lorna was diagnosed when she was 39 in 2008.
With my brother, his treatment was a roller coaster ride, but at the very least things seemed hopeful. At one point though, doctors found another tumor, which they considered inoperable. That was the low point I think for everyone. At the time I made this video, things looked pretty bleak, but after doctors met and discussed his condition, they decided to operate anyway.
They removed the tumor, and my brother is alive and cancer free.
But, with colon cancer there are a LOT of complications and side effects. I know he has dealt with a lot since then, with scar tissue, blockages, and other things which make life not quite the same.
When I got the news about my friend Lorna, things looked even bleaker. By the time they discovered it, she was at stage 4 with little hope (see the video her friend created for her).
Lorna was a childhood friend. The kind you often think of as a family member since our families were very close. She was a year older than me, and we were college roommates for awhile until she decided to go to college closer to home.
Lorna was the most positive and sweetest girl I knew. Everyone loved her. When I heard the news I was devastated.
She fought a very brave battle until she passed away in October 2009. I flew to Michigan several days prior to say good-bye.
That was the hardest moment of my entire life, and I almost feel selfish saying that, because that doesn’t hold a candle to what she was feeling.
What I knew from that moment was she was being robbed of her life, and she had way more life to live. And she was scared. I still have a very hard time remembering and talking about those last moments with her in the hospital room.
Colon cancer is a terrible disease, but one that is VERY preventable. Early detection is everything!
I get a colonoscopy every five years because that’s what is recommended when you have a close relative who was diagnosed under 40.
The prep for the test is not pleasant, there is no getting around it, but the procedure itself is a piece of cake. I’ve already had two, and aside from the slight embarrassment of the doctor making you pass gas when you wake up when you are in a room full of other recovering patients, there is really nothing to it.
I say this because often times when it comes to “that area,” we are too embarrassed to go to the doctor to get things checked out. But I’m hear to tell you that is just silly, and dangerous.
Although Mike and Lorna were much younger and would have probably had no reason to get screened for colon cancer, it’s imperative that you know your risks and/or get screened immediately if you have any unusual symptoms that you are concerned about. You are your own advocate when it comes to your health, so if one doctor tells you, “oh it’s nothing” and you are still concerned, find another doctor!
For more information about colon cancer screenings, visit this website.