To Whom It May Apply

This is not a particularly glamorous topic, but I can’t let the month of March pass by without mentioning that it’s National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Why, then, am I choosing to post about it? That’s easy:

beverly d

The two loons in this photo are my friends Beverly and Joy, with Beverly being the one on the left in the remarkably ugly sweater. When she learned how much the rest of us despised that sweater, Bev wore it every single time we got together–she had an ugly jumper-dress she wore for similar purposes in the warmer months– and always with a sly twinkle in her eyes. That should tell you a lot about her personality.

Beverly was only 52 years old when a visit to the doctor for what she thought were digestive problems revealed that she had colorectal cancer. In the ten months that followed, she went through two surgeries (including a colostomy), chemotherapy, and radiation, and then suffered a stroke as the result of a post-surgical infection. She died a month short of her 53rd birthday.

I’m sharing Bev’s story to honor her in her birth month and to urge you to talk to your doctor about the colorectal cancer screening test, especially if you are “of the age” (50+) or if you are at higher risk.

I had my first screening two years ago. There are several tests available, but because of my previously disastrous diet and sedentary lifestyle, and because both my mother and grandmother had experienced polyps in the past, my doctor opted for the colonoscopy. It wasn’t what I would call a “fun” experience at all, but it wasn’t all that awful either.

And it was well worth it. A couple of non-cancerous polyps were removed during the procedure, and while the vast majority of polyps never become cancerous, all it takes is one. I was glad I did it and equally glad to get a 10-year pass until the next one. (I advised the doctor that they’d better come up with a better way to do it by then, or I will not be happy.)

If Beverly had been screened, her cancer would likely have been prevented or caught in the earlier, more treatable, stage. We’ll never know, but we’ll never stop wishing for the possibility that earlier detection might have afforded.

I care about you and your health, so this is me begging: Please commit to talking with your doctor about colon cancer screening at the next opportunity. It could save your life and save your family and friends a whole lot of heartbreak.

Let my heartbreak be your wake-up call. Get screened for colorectal cancer.
See Terrence Howard’s moving video describing his family’s heartbreak HERE.



17 thoughts on “To Whom It May Apply

  1. Great reminder, Cammy. I’m not quite of the age for a colonoscopy yet, but time passes fast!
    I am glad you are in the clear.

  2. I’m so glad you shared your friends. And I will remember and think of Beverly from now on and how funny she must have been. I love it so much that she wore that sweater over and over.
    This is a good reminder. And something I would not have thought of.
    I’m so sorry you lost your friend.
    xoxo

  3. I usually am a pretty good girl when it comes to these sort of things, so I had my screening colonoscopy at age 51. Much to my surprise, the doctor found several non-cancerous polyps and (much to my dismay) I am now on the every five year plan instead of every 10. And guess what?? This year is my lucky year! And yes, I will do it gladly. No, it’s not something I want to do every day, but it isn’t nearly as bad as I’d been led to believe. I join you with a hearty encouragement not to let this important test slip by. Colon cancer is silent and deadly!

  4. Im such a believer our friends and family live on when we share their stories.
    ALL OF THEIR STORIES
    the funny and the serious.
    thank you for the reminder and the story.

    Carla

  5. As a result of previous digestive problems, I too am on the five year plan and just had my most recent one in December. They’ve never found anything thank goodness, but taking a test is a simple way of protecting your health and making sure you’re around a long time for your loved ones.

  6. Thanks for sharing Beverly’s story and I am so sorry for her loss.

    I had my annual physical last week and my doctor reminded me that I will be 50 in November (as if I might forget LOL) and that it will be time for my first colonoscopy. I can’t say that I am looking forward to it, but I am definitely going to have it done as soon as I turn 50 (insurance won’t cover it otherwise).

  7. Huge hugs Cammy & thank you for sharing this! Important things no matter how UGH need to be shared!

    Saying all that, I wish I could afford health insurance!

  8. Sorry about your friend, Cammy. Glad you got your polyps removed early. I had a colonoscopy in my early 40s when I was having some digestive issues. (And a whole battery of other tests too.) My husband just had his first last year when he turned 50. I can tell you that they have made improvements in the stuff you do to prep in the time between our two tests! So maybe they’ll make it even “less horrible.”

  9. I wish people wouldn’t talk so negatively about some of the medical exams. I avoided them for years. And none of them are as bad as all the stories.

    Thanks for sharing this Cammy.

  10. I had my cheaper-than-a-colonoscopy sigmoidoscopy (Kaiser, sigh) screening when I was 51. It wasn’t that bad (I agree with Debby) and I was lucky to be clean. My dad has had some polyps, but no cancer, so all my sibs have been pro-active on this screening.

    So sorry for the loss of your friend. She was so young.

  11. Thank you for sharing the story and your friend with us Cammy!!! So sorry you lost her at such a young age. You were robbed of many many years of fun with her (and that sweater! – what a lovely story).
    Take care, have a great week.

  12. I am glad you shared Beverly’s story with us. I am so sorry about the loss of your friend for you and for her and her family and friends. Thank you for the reminder to take care of ourselves and not put “uncomfortable” things off that really can be lifesavers. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to take care of ourselves. I am glad you are taking care of you!!!

  13. Cammy, thank you for bringing this up (you’re always looking out for your blog buddies – such a wonderful quality I love about you). My mother has never had colon cancer but has had many polyps removed. My sister is following suit and I am next on the list for a screening. Even though I’m 42, chances are mine will be long before I’m 50 and that’s okay with me. It’s an easy-breezy test compared to when my mother first began getting them many years ago – when they didn’t sedate you (can you imagine??).

  14. This made me cry. I’m sorry that you lost your friend at such an early age. It makes the unpleasantness of a test seem very silly, as it can save your life. Great post!

  15. Thanks for the reminder and letting me know it isn’t that bad. I’ve never been screened and at 58 I know I should. My doctor has never mentioned it.

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