Have you gone BLUE?

The first time she went in for a colonoscopy she was only slightly scared. After all, she hadn't had any symptoms, nothing to indicate that there was any problem. She probably wouldn't have even been there had it not been for the fact that her brother had just recently been diagnosed with colon cancer and the doctors had suggested that all immediate relatives of age have a colonoscopy. There was no other history of it in the family and her brother was already well on his way for treatment. It was just a test. They wheeled her in to the viewing room, gave her the injection to make a little more comfortable and little less self-conscious about the procedure and the started with the colonoscopy. Ten minutes later she was back in her room. It sounded like a dream, most of the words the doctors spoke were fuzzy, hazed by the medicine, but one thing was clear, or rather unclear. They were unable to finish the colonoscopy because her colon was almost completely blocked with polyps.

This was the beginning of my mother's journey with Colon Cancer. I was there that day. I was the one waiting for her to come out of the procedure. I was the one they told that there too many polyps to continue. I was also the one who had to tell my mother after the doctors didn't come back for a long time. Sounds like I'm pitying myself, but that's not really the case. The words were probably more of a comfort coming from me then they ever could have been coming from a doctor or nurse. But the diagnose was the same. Regardless of who or when the information was delivered, the diagnosis was the same. My mother had colon cancer.

Ultimately, my mother went through it twice. Both times she had part of her colon removed and underwent treatment to kill of any lingering cancer. Both times the cancer came back. She lost her battle with cancer when she was just 63. Two years to retirement age. Too many years too soon. You hear so many talk about the courageousness of those with cancer, my mother experienced an almost Zen like transformation that made me think that in some way she found comfort and offered it to those of us around her. Nothing else seemed to matter after she knew the final diagnosis. It was what it was. The rest was just stuff, as she often told me.

The rest was just stuff. Very prophetic words and one that I try to rely on to this day when things get rough. Since my mother's death almost 9 years ago I've had three colonoscopy with only one instance of polyps. I don't care how rough the pre-treatment is I still do it. If your family has a history of colon cancer then you should, too.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Know your family history. Suck it up and do the prep and the test. And never take a day for granted.   

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