Thursday, July 19, 2012

A lesson from ME!

The most frustrating thing for me is the fact that I’m 35 years young and I have stage 3 colon cancer.  Never would I have ever thought I should be screened before the age of 50 like you see being advertised on television and on billboards.  I knew the rule- GET A COLONOSCOPY AT AGE 50!  Where is the awareness for people like me?  People who still have young children at home who need their parents raising them. 
I guess instead of being mad about it I can take this anger and channel it into something positive.  I’m going to teach you the signs of colon cancer :)
When I found out that the problem I had was inside my colon I was a bit embarrassed about it.  Who wants to talk about their bum issues to doctors over and over again?  Not me!  I especially felt silly telling family and friends- something must be very wrong with me to have colon cancer at age 35.  This is how I felt last month.  Now I feel a bit more knowledgeable about it, enough to understand that this isn’t something that I did wrong.   

Here is a list of the most common warning signs of Colon Cancer:
  • Pain in the lower abdominal area
  • Abdominal mass or hardness in the abdomen
  • Change in the consistency of stool for more than a couple of weeks
  • Diarrhea lasting more than several days
  • Significant change in bowel habits including diarrhea or constipation   
  • Chronic colon problems with bowel movements which would include abdominal pain during bowel movement
  • Obstruction of bowel movements
  • Narrow stools
  • Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort, such as cramps, gas pain
  • A feeling that the bowel doesn't empty completely
  • Iron deficiency anemia (may indicate bleeding in the colon)
  • Depression from anemia
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool   
  • Significant and or unexplained weight loss
Out of all of these signs I have to admit that I had at least 8 of them.  One of the signs was actually dismissed by a doctor I had 5 years ago.  Here’s a great interview that they did with my surgeon, Dr. Tae Kim, in February
Colon cancer is some pretty serious stuff that should never be taken lightly.  Most people don’t even recognize the signs until it is too late and the signs are severe enough to seek medical help.  I hear this a lot, but I’m here to tell you that I DID have early signs and I DID notice them, but I didn’t notice them and think that I needed a colonoscopy.  Why?  Because I’m not 50!  

I feel that the awareness for colon cancer is a bit  misleading, but I can’t sit and place blame somewhere else.  Only I know my body and I know from now on I’ll be paying a lot more attention to my health and any unusual signs.  I hope that anyone reading this will as well. 
All of this stuff that I get to go through actually has some happiness in it.  I can tell you that today I feel better then I have felt in almost a year.  I was very anemic and being so anemic was a normal way of life for me.  I really felt horrible a lot of the time and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around.  Today I feel great!  And...... I’ll be leaving the hospital this morning.  I have my first appointment with my cancer specialist this afternoon and I’m super excited, anxious, and nervous to finally get to hear how this whole chemo thing is going to work for me.
PLEASE get a colonoscopy if you are 50 or older!  PLEASE meet with your doctor if you are not and you have ANY of the signs listed above!  Don’t avoid having this conversation with your doctor, you could be saving your life.  
Thanks for listening to me while I was on my soapbox, I’ll get off now :)


  1. Oh I'm so happy you are feeling better. This is good information that could really save someone under 50! You did everything right. You'd just never ever think colon cancer was possible. Now it's time to go home & get all better. I'm sure your kids can't wait to welcome you with hugs & kisses. I'd love to welcome you with hugs and kisses too:)! Keep up the positive attitude. It's going to get your through the next phase. Sure do love you & look up to you soooo much! ahhhh crap. Why did I just start crying again?! I've turned in to a big BOOB:)!

  2. That is a really good lesson to hear, so thank you for sharing. You just never know what is going to happen in life and all you can do is learn from it and do the best you can in getting through difficult times. I am soooo happy that you are feeling so much better and i am so happy you can go home now and be with your family. Let us know what you need during your next phase of this stupid illness. I would love to do whatever i can to help make it easier on you. Love you and you are such an amazing example to me!!

  3. You are so amazing Becky...thank you for sharing this with all of us. It is so good to hear that you are feeling better and that you are going home! Yay for that!! I am so glad that you get to be home with Brandon and your beautiful 5 again! Sending lots of love, hugs, thoughts and prayers your way...

  4. Becky, thanks for sharing that. You are amazing! I can honestly say that I knew zilch about colon cancer, and I feel like now I would catch a few warning signs. Id listen to you talk about your bum anytime:) SO glad you get to go home!! And I love that you started this blog. You are inspiring, and amazingly witty and funny through it all. Go have some fun with your beautiful fam. Sending love!