Originally posted March 21, 2006
I started my blog http://lisaschaos.blog-city.com in March 2005 because we began building a house. By building, I mean my husband and I did all the physical labor we were allowed to do by state codes. I had stomach issues for years prior to this although I really didn’t share them unless I needed to explain to why I was acting weird.
During the whole house building process my stomach problems got steadily worse and Oct 18th, 2005 I went in for a colonoscopy. I was terrified of the procedure and had actually put it off and cancelled and rescheduled it several times. But things were to a point I knew I had no choice. I had had every other test with no answer other than Irritable Bowel but the bleeding was getting worse, as was the pain. Even in the waiting room I was ready to flee but managed to get in there and the last thing I told the doc prior to the exam was, “Well we know it’s not cancer or I’d already be dead”.
Boy was I wrong. The doc said, “We found cancer”.
My husband and I went home in denial, thinking that the doctor couldn’t know before the biopsies were back so I just told my family that the doctor said it could be cancer, and we waited for the biopsies. Even when the biopsies came back that it was cancer, I thought they could be wrong. Even when I met with the surgeon I expected him to say, “Oops, we made a mistake, you don’t have cancer”. Even when I had surgery I expected him to come into my hospital room and say that now that the mass was out they examined further and I didn’t have cancer. So I guess you could say I was in a form of denial for quite a while but I still did the treatments needed.
I was diagnosed at 38 yrs old, with no family history of any cancer and honestly never expected cancer to be the diagnosis. Back then (prior to diagnosis) I actually didn’t really talk about my issues with anyone. I mentioned in passing to my mom that I sometimes had blood in my stool and it worried me. I told my husband my tummy bothered me often, I had no choice on that one. But I really told as little as possible. This was partly because of embarrassment and partly because I figured it was something minor. I was afraid the doctor would come back with a verdict of hemorrhoids or something equally embarrassing and I didn’t want everyone to know that.
So I kept my family in the dark as much as possible about my issues. Getting the diagnosis I did has made me come out of the closet and I feel a need to be open and honest about what I went through because I want to help other people. I don’t want other people to live in fear and embarrassment, making themselves sicker. If I had allowed a doctor to do a colonoscopy years ago I probably wouldn’t be in the boat I am now.
Never was I so floored, as the day I was told, I had cancer. I had stomach pain, diarrhea and blood off and on for about 6 years and each time I did see a doctor they never found anything and just labeled me Irritable Bowel. So this added to my thoughts that it was nothing but an embarrassing condition. I had every test they could perform except the colonoscopy. I always chickened out for that test and no other test found the cancer so the colonoscopy is a vital test in finding the cancer.
Update March 2007:
It’s time for you to get your colon checked. No, your dog’s nose doesn’t count. It’s so important that you get screened. A colonoscopy can find cancer when it’s still itty bitty and is easily removed. A colonoscopy can find a small polyp that could turn into cancer before it is cancer and that polyp can be removed right then without major surgery. And, if you do this few moments of discomfort, you can save yourself all the pain I’ve been through.
I have no family history of any type of cancer yet I was diagnosed with Stage IIIC colon cancer or more specifically T3N2M0 (for more information on diagnosing and staging) at age 38. The average person doesn’t get their first colonoscopy until they are 50 but I know that I am not alone in having it this young. I don’t care what age you are, if you are having any bowel problems I suggest a colonoscopy. If you have a family history of cancer you should also be checked earlier.
I had every test imaginable and cancer was never found. Even my blood did not show a higher CEA level to indicate cancer. Only the colonoscopy found it. The only foolproof test for colon cancer is the colonoscopy. The colonoscopy is vital and you must make yourself do it. Don’t assume your cancer would show up on a CT scan as I did. Don’t assume that all the other tests would be good enough. Don’t chicken out, for fear or embarrassment, like I did. If I had went for the first one I had scheduled maybe I wouldn’t be in the boat I am now.
Call today to schedule your colonoscopy. If you are over 50 and your doctor neglected to schedule one then you request it. Today, right now, don’t put it off. This is your life and it’s too important to lose when you can prevent it so easily. I’ll even come hold your hand. I don’t want to share my boat with you, you belong on the shore.
Feel free to email me (or comment) anytime, I’m happy to lend an ear of support. I can be reached at lisa at Lisa chaos dot com or lisaschaos at yahoo dot com. Also, I love to hear good results, so after you’ve had your test please let me know that you’re ok.