Eric was sick around the same time as Lisa. He was younger, early 30’s, married. He grew up in Raleigh but lived in California, and he was hilarious! I never met him but reading his CaringBridge page was funnier than a night at Goodnight’s Comedy Club.
Brian was an athlete, a swimmer and a real outdoorsman. He was a doctor, my doctor. Not an ounce of fat on his body. He was serious and cared more about his patients than other physicians I’ve met. When you were in his office, he was with you. One-hundred percent focused on your needs for as long as it took. Cool wife, two teenage sons.
I grew up with Angie, she was in my older brother’s class at Terry Sanford Senior High School, Go Bulldogs! She was a cheerleader, not only in school but in life. She worked at PSNC, the place that keeps the residents of Raleigh warm for the winter. Ironically, she read my book not long before her own diagnosis of colon cancer.
And there was Lisa. My wife. Mother of three, just shy of 40.
All died. All of colon cancer. The oldest was 52.
Current recommendations don’t call for colon cancer screening until you’re 50 unless you have a family history of the disease. But while rates of colon cancer are decreasing for older people, the are actually climbing for the younger generation. And while rates increase, young folks are less likely to be diagnosed until the cancer has progressed.
Colon cancer can respond well to treatment if caught early.
Younger people think and are often told by their doctor that they aren’t susceptible to this disease.
Younger people put off getting stomach problems checked out assuming it’s a reaction to food or stress.
Many are active which can cause hemorrhoids. They attribute blood in their stool to a sore butt from running or biking.
And who wants to have a colonoscopy? I’ve done it. It was not fabulous. I drank sixteen gallons of white syrup and 45 minutes into my feast, I ran to the bathroom like I was headed into a Black Friday sale. It was awful. But once I was cleaned out, the procedure actually wasn’t that bad. And there was something sort of invigorating about imploding my innards. I felt fresh and new.
Not every stomach ache is colon cancer. But if ongoing, check it out. If you just don’t feel right down there, you know your body, check it out. If you have blood in your stool, RUN to the doctor’s office. And don’t let them tell you it’s nothing. Press for answers!
When in doubt, get checked out!