Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

A friend of mine told me today that she saw her poster up in a grocery store this week - I said, "For what?" - knowing she had never robbed a bank nor was she wanted by the FBI, I was surprised when she casually replied, "I had become somewhat of a poster child for colon cancer." What? I didn't even know she had gone through this! I said, "Sister of mine!!" She said, "Did you have colon cancer too?" I said no - but I lost my colon about 8 years ago (and I can't find it anywhere...) so this is a subject very near and dear to me.

Three months after my son was born, I had a bad reaction to an "antibacterial" that killed off all the bacteria - the bad AND the good, and shut down my colon. I was hospitalized for nearly 6 weeks, nearly died a few times, and had to have my entire colon removed. I don't even have a semi colon... (oh, and the jokes keep comin' :) !!)

But - thanks to my heroes - my medical team - I pulled through, had a reconstructive "J-pouch" where, over 3 surgeries, a portion of the the small intestine is reshaped to take over some of the duties and function as a large intestine. I have had absolutely no problems with this since the surgery, I'm not on any drugs or steroids - the only foods I can't eat are raw broccoli raw cauliflower and stuff with super high fiber or roughage. Well, I CAN eat them, but it's pretty hard to digest.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. My friend had just gotten one of those test kits and sent it in. Just because. She hadn't been sick, but because her doc recommended that she ought to get one since she was 51, she said what the heck. A month later, she got her results, and immediately contacted her doctor. She had her colonoscopy, and they spotted a "Pollup" - a mass - she had it removed and it was cancerous. But, because it was detected early, she didn't have to go through chemo or radiation.

We got word not too long ago, that another friend of ours had just died of colon cancer - a young friend, the picture of health. But it was never even discovered, til it was too late. Colon cancer is very treatable if detected early. Please - do something good for yourself - get a colonoscopy. And if you're uncomfortable talking about it, you can borrow my dumb jokes :)

No comments: