Monday, July 27, 2009

Meet the Mertzes

Ethel & Fred - she was cute and plump while he was anything but. He was rather cranky looking - apoplectic comes to mind. AND - he was cancerous.

I'm not talking about the Riccardos' landlords here. I'm referring to the polyps that took up residence in my colon. They're gone now - the gastroenterologist gave them the old heave-ho. But the uncertainty lingers.

Am I lucky? In the sense that I caught this in time, yes I am. I had symptoms and I decided to take them seriously because when you've had cancer once before, you'd be an idiot to ignore the possibility that it could come back in another form.

That said, alot of times there are no signs. No bleeding. No discomfort. And people go on their merry way. But if you are 50 or even a few years younger, then do yourself and the people who love you a big favor. Drink the nasty tasting stuff, crap your brains out and then let a doctor stick a camera up your blow hole so he/she can see what, if anything, is going on. Every time I think of what could have happened had I not gone for this screening, my heart tightens up in my chest.

I beat the odds ten years ago because I went to my doctor on a regular basis and my ovarian cancer was caught at Stage 1A. No chemo. No radiation. Just follow-up for the next several years. Women who have had ovarian cancer are at a greater risk for colon cancer because there are alot of genetic similarities between the two. That makes sense. It doesn't make me feel any better, but I can at least appreciate the logic of the matter.

I lucked out again this time and I hope that's the end of it. Only time will tell. Follow-up is in 3 months for another round of Movi-prep, bathroom marathons and picture taking. But in the meantime, take this seriously: colonoscopies save lives. If you haven't had one yet, it really is not a big deal and the inconvenience of the prep beats the possible alternative. If you haven't had one in a few years, please make an appointment and then make sure you keep it. The people who love you are depending on you!