Friday, January 16, 2015

Getting a Colonoscopy and the importance of cancer screenings

My latest via Divorced Moms. I am fighting a horrific cold, bronchitis infection and now have full on laryngitis. I was going wedding dress shopping this afternoon. Now I am rescheduling that appointment. I have literally been sleeping all day. I just got off the couch at 1:30 this afternoon. I hate feeling like this, especially on a Friday. Oh well, hopefully it ends soon. Have a fabulous weekend, dear readers.

Lizzy

Why This Mom Got Her First Colonoscopy And You Should Too
by Lizzy Smith                    
January 16, 2015
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Mandy and I were great friends. We grew up together in high school and we both loved to ski. She had a season ski locker at Mammoth Mountain (California), we both had season ski passes, and we spent countless days driving up to Mammoth to hit the slopes, check out the cute guys, and then going to parties and barbeques afterwards with many of the ski instructors we knew. For my high school graduation, my mom took me, Mandy, and two other friends to Hawaii. That's where this photo was taken. Mandy is wearing the white dress, me in the green and white one. It was very fun.

Fast forward to January 2012 when I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. I told very few people I had cancer. I didn't want to see fear or pity in anyone's eyes. I was going to beat my cancer, I was on a mission, and no one was going to rattle that resolve. Just weeks later, Mandy took the opposite approach. I was perusing Facebook and there she was, announcing that she had just been diagnosed with Stage IV color cancer that had spread to her lung and hip. After the shock wore off and I wiped away a few tears, I called her. I told her that I, too, had just been diagnosed with cancer and we could support each other during chemo and whatever else we needed to endure.

Over the next two years, Mandy and I would text each other. One day, she asked if I would like to plan a fun trip with our daughters for the upcoming Spring, like Disneyworld or the Bahamas. I was all in. But that trip never happened. She past away in June 2014 at the age of 43, leaving behind a husband and two young daughters. Her advice: get a colonoscopy.

Since then, I've always had that in the back of my head. Colonoscopy. But I wasn't 50 years old yet. I didn't have risk factors (though I had no risk factors for myeloma either and I got it anyway). And who wants to have that painful and awful test. But since getting cancer, I'm the most paranoid person on the planet when it comes to health. If I feel sick to my tummy, is it stomach cancer? A headache, brain cancer? A nagging cough, lung cancer? So I finally took the plunge and scheduled it. And while I was at it, I scheduled my mammogram, annual pap, and a skin cancer screening. I would have added a complete blood count panel (a simple blood test) but since I get those every other week as part of my maintenance therapy, I was covered there.

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