Posts tagged ‘colon cancer survivor’

Hi Ho Hi Ho, Off to Surgery I Go

Well, the big day is almost here once again.

Nope, not getting married. Nope, not expecting another kiddo to arrive.

I’m headed to surgery once again.

Why This Surgery?

Last October when I met with my OBGYN/oncologist, we reviewed my charts and updates over the past several years. As we talked, I explained to her that genetic testing has shown that I more than likely have a variant of Lynch Syndrome. After my second diagnosis with colon cancer at 25, we requested gene testing once again only to realize that many of my genes behave in a way that’s very similar to others with the disease. I don’t have the “traditional form” of Lynch according to tests and my family history (I’m still the only one with young colon cancer diagnosis.) But, between complicated stuff about MLH1 and PMS2 genes – it’s likely that I have some form of Lynch. Thus, the young cases of colon cancer.

Thanks to the testing I know that in the future, my risk for other cancers, namely ovarian and uterine, are also very high… almost likely. So, my doctor didn’t mess around when she realized I had Lynch Syndrome. She knew we’d chosen adoption as our path to kids. So with that, she gave the hard recommendation that I go ahead and have  a total hysterectomy. Even though I’m not even 30 yet. She didn’t push it on me right away, but said to look at my calendar and see if there was a “good” time to have this surgery done. And after several months of thinking about it and weighing the options, I decided to go ahead and do it.

Under The Knife Once Again

So, on this coming Tuesday I head under once again. I’m dragging my feet into this, but I know it’s something I need to do. The opportunity to stop cancer in its tracks and before it starts is why I’m doing this. Even if it does mean opening up my infamous long abdominal scar once again and putting me on a 6-8 week recovery plan. But, when I look at Mae, I know there’s really no other choice. I want to do all I can to stay around as long as I possibly can. So, off to surgery I go.

Unexpected Emotions

This has thrown quite a curve ball for me, since many unexpected (and honestly, many unwelcome) emotions have risen up. Maybe it’s because of counseling a few years ago, but suddenly I’m feeling the emotions that come with surgery and cancer threats. Or then again, this is the first time I’ve gone through anything like this as a mom – so that’s probably playing a part too.

Many thoughts, fears, realities, plans and “what ifs” have run through my mind this time…..

How do I line up childcare for Mae and arrangements for my small business?
Other surgeries haven’t been “easy” in the past – how long will I be out with this one?
How much extra can I work so that we can easily get that high deductible paid off?
How long will I really be recovering in the hospital?
By them “opening me up again,” will she find anything unexpected … like last time?
Will I have blood clots or problems with anesthesia this time?
How long will it take for my stomach to heal once again?
Will my past surgeries cause complications?
After surgery, what does menopause look like for me?
Will I be a sweat ball or hormonal wreck?
What are my risks of taking or not taking hormones?

And then again I too often camp on, “Why do I have to go through this in the first place?!?”

Coming to Terms

Typically, I’d tie up this post and show that there’s some peace and resolve that’s been found amidst life’s challenges. But today, I leave it at … I’m working on it. However, I knew a post was needed to get this off my chest. And, after looking through applications for other young colon cancer survivors for the 2013 Colondar this year – I know I’m not alone. Many others are being told they too have Lynch Syndrome. Many others will also face these hard decisions sooner than later.

Just pray for me Tuesday as surgery comes. Pray for a fast recovery. Pray this surgery STAYS preventative, and nothing else is found. And pray I’ll be back on my feet … and picking up my kid … in no time.

I’ll post when I’m back!

February 26, 2012 at 9:34 am 9 comments

Holding It Through Costco

For those of you who missed my poop posts, well here ya go.

So I made it through Costco tonight. We’ll just leave it at that. For those of you who also suffer from, er, urgency issues, you know what I mean. And all in the Crohn’s club yells “yeahhhh baby.” Tonight’s episode of trying to make it through the store gave me flashbacks to last Christmas. Let’s just say that I have used every restroom between Springfield and Clinton. And I’ve never been more thankful my hubby had family in Clinton. Ahh memories. His grandpa had to give me his prescription anti-crap pills. Now when I’m taking that sort of stuff, it’s bad.

So why bore you (or I guess for some of you this is interesting) with my poop-a-palooza stories? Well, it’s just to push myself to keep bringing such an uncomfortable, unwanted topic out in the open. Because for years I wouldn’t talk about poop. I couldn’t imagine being married and pooping in the same house as someone. And my phobia of poop wound me up with stage III colon cancer because I wouldn’t talk about it.

So there ya go, a poop post. Oh – and here’s a baby picture, just for making it through all of this bathroom humor. HAHA – get it. Man I crack myself up. HAHA get it, crack? Ok I’m done.

 

I bet I get this look more and more as she realizes her mama's a poop blogger....


September 9, 2011 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

A Polypy Family

Last fall, our family tree had a bit of growth.

I’m not talking about more babies or marriages (although that did happen), but genetically speaking, we had some movement in the genetic family tree.

You see, for about 10 years now, I’ve been the odd ball out when it comes to this colon cancer stuff. I’ve had a great-aunt who was known for polyps and a few great-grandparents who supposedly had colon cancer, but nothing that really gave any doctors insight that my colon cancer diagnosis was a family thing. I’ve had to answer “no” every time I’ve been asked if there’s a family history of the disease. And while that’s still the case, things got a little more interesting a few months ago.

My Cousin Eric

Meet Eric

This handsome stud (sorry gals, he’s got a gorgeous wife) is my cousin Eric. He’s lives in Nebraska and texted me out of nowhere several months ago asking me about blood in the stool. I immediately was concerned, as that was my main symptom of colon cancer.

Genetic testing I underwent a few years ago indicated that my mutated gene (commonly found in Lynch Syndrome)  is most likely traveling through my dad’s side of the family. So, when Eric texted me (cousin on my dad’s side), I IMMEDIATELY told him to get a colonoscopy. Good thing his doctor was already headed there, or I would have driven up to Nebraska myself to make sure he got tested.

Colonoscopies Save Lives

Eric’s colonoscopy found that he had polyps growing in his large intestine. This young, twenty-something hunk (sorry again – he’s married, and actually has a baby on the way) indeed had pre-cancerous growths in his colon. Thankfully, they did a colonoscopy right away given his family history (sorry dude) and symptoms, and were able to remove the polyps safely. Now, Eric knows he’s at high risk for colon cancer and can get screened often to prevent an occurance.

Polypy Cousins

A Polypy Family

Don’t get me wrong, while this might seem like I’m excited, I’m bummed that Eric has to deal with this too – yet so relieved that he caught it early. There’s a suspension that a weird variation of Lynch Syndrome is running through our family, thus the importance of everyone getting screened. (That’s right you Ripleys who are reading this – get your rears CHECKED OUT NOW.)

If you are like our family and have someone who’s been diagnosed with colon cancer — and especially someone diagnosed with colon cancer UNDER AGE 50 — get yourself into a gastroenterologist and get your colon checked NOW.

It’s nothing to play around with.

April 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm 2 comments

Dress In BLUE Day

Today, I hope the world is covered in blue.

Not to show support of a team, or even a special school.

But to carry the message of colon cancer awareness.

While those of us impacted realize that wearing a certain color won’t make cancer go away,

We do know that it will help people realize the importance of colon screening.

And that it really is a big deal.

A colonoscopy is much easier to deal with than surgery, chemo and radiation.

That’s why those of us who have gone through it keep getting the message out.

So today, on Dress in Blue Day, we ask for your help.

Spread the message. Dress in Blue.

Encourage everyone (especially those over 50 and with a family history) to get their colons screened.

Let’s save some lives together.

March 4, 2011 at 7:31 am Leave a comment

A Safe Apple A Day…

should really keep the doctor away – or at least hold him off if you’re like me.

Here’s my second recommendation for those of you interested in eating safer, healthier foods but have NO IDEA where to start. My first step was using the company Fresh Connect. My second step is knowing the “Dirty Dozen” and choosing to buy the organic version of these fruits & veggies.

The Environmental Working Group has made a list of the “Dirty Dozen” produce items that contain the highest levels of chemical and pesticide residues. Remember, the key is to start small, and this is one easy way to do that. Make a decision to start buying an organic version of ONE of these at first, and then break yourself in. You don’t jump into a cold pool all at once, you start by testing the water with your toe. So, do the same with switching to safer foods. Test the waters here, and choose a few of these to try. I’m not saying the organic version will necessarily taste different, but recognize how you feel afterward – both physically and mentally. If you’re like me, you will slowly work your way up to buying the organic version of almost all of these and find a way to make it work with your budget. It’s worth it.

Why?

Your body will be digesting foods it recognizes and not be distracted by processing strange chemicals that have been sprayed on the food. Your insides will stay focused on fighting disease, burning fat and keeping balanced hormones rather than going haywire because of a foreign chemical intruder. As a 26-year-old colon cancer survivor, this has become a priority for me as I can’t afford to have my body not focused on fighting off my naturally-causing genetic deficiencies because it’s preoccupied with Round Up on the peaches. I’m not saying this will keep my cancer away, but it sure won’t hurt that effort either. Whether you’re in my boat or not – do this for yourself and for your future health. I don’t think eating safe foods is something you’ll ever regret.

The Dirty Dozen

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Imported grapes
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes

Here are some places in the KC area that I go to buy organic produce. (ahem – come on Walmart, get with it!)

  • Fresh Connect
  • Nature’s Pantry (great place, little pricey, but still awesome)
  • Hy-Vee (fresh produce isn’t in the Health Market specifically, it’s with the regular produce. Frozen is with the Health Market stuff though.)
  • Target (smaller selection, but it’s there nonetheless)
  • Whole Foods (for my Overland Park readers)
  • Farmers Markets. Here’s a link Farmer’s Markets in the KC Area. Don’t forget about Lee’s Summit’s market who isn’t on the list yet! Also remember that even if the market doesn’t say it’s an “Organic Market,” there will be plenty of vendors there with organic produce.
  • Jason’s Deli. I know it’s not a market, but if you’re hungry for a safe salad, this is the place to go. These guys have a ton of organic produce on their salad bar.

Did I miss any here? Write in and let me know if I need to add to the list!

Source of the Dirty Dozen: An Unhealthy Truth by Robin O’Brien, page 274

January 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm 3 comments

Bottoms Up

Welcome to the latest blog about colons.

I’ve created this blog for two reasons.

1. I am a young colon cancer survivor.

Actually, I’ve had colon cancer twice. I’m 25 years old. I’ve only got about 18 inches of my colon.

They say it’s good to have a place to let off steam. So I’ve created this blog. This will be my “dumping spot” for all things colon-related. I will be as candid as possible in my stories.  I hope people with normal colons will find more appreciation after chomping down that plate full of refried beans without thinking twice, and my fellow semi-colons will find comfort that they’re not alone – and even laugh with me about what we go through.

2. I love to write.

Anne Lammott says to be a good writer, write every day. So my topic of choice that affects me every day: my colon, or lack thereof. Get ready for tales of the good and the bad. Maybe living through such a dramatic life event will have some rewards in the end.

So with that, welcome to blog. Let the games begin…

November 9, 2009 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment


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