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And Then I Think I Have Colon Cancer

Remember my little Web MD confession? It was that one time that I thought I had breast cancer and the radiologist told me that I had lumpy mattress boobs?

I blame my family really.  There are a lot of crazy genetics swirling around that could have ended up in my double helix strand of DNA. I’ve got to watch my back.

My grandmother had colon cancer when she was 32. This was before they did chemo, so instead of chemo it seems like they removed just about any organs that they could that were anywhere near her colon.  She had just had her 4th child a few months before.

My grandmother is the one on the right. This photo was taken shortly after she was diagnosed And yes, she's wearing a "wiglet".

My grandmother is the one on the right. This photo was taken shortly after she was diagnosed And yes, she’s wearing a “wiglet”.

 

Here’s the part that I love:  My grandmother’s mother told her that she needed to be sure to get some photos taken for her obituary in case she died. So my grandmother went to the photo booth and took a few snaps. Which is pretty hard core if you ask me!

Photo Booth Obituary Pictures

Well, my sweet grandmother, “GG”, is still around and kicking it today. She’s one tough cookie.  She even had polio when she was a little girl.  Ultimately, they caught the cancer in time, and it never game back.

I always told myself that when I was 32, I would take the plunge and get a colonoscopy just to be safe. And well, you know, because colonoscopies are so much fun!

To be honest, it really wasn’t so bad. My doctor with a nice Italian accent sang me to sleep with that one Michael Jackson drug (Propofol) and I woke up shortly thereafter feeling like I had the best little nap ever. Done. (I’m not going to lie though, the prepping for the colonoscopy is another story and requires you to stick close to the facilities for about a day).

And guess what? They found a polyp. And those are the little things, that left unchecked, can grow into colon cancer.  They removed it on the spot (no need for another procedure), and sent it off for pathology. It was benign.

I did a little more looking at my family history and found out that I’m actually at elevated risk for colon cancer. My grandmother had it, her sister had it, and my aunt had pre-cancerous polyps that she caught early. She was in her early thirties when she found them because she had scheduled a routine colonoscopy based on my grandmother’s health history.

I never knew that anyone in my family besides my grandmother had any connection to colon cancer until I asked. I mean . . . it’s not like you sit around after Sunday dinner talking about your colon. But maybe you should.

Want to know if you are at risk? Take the hereditary cancer quiz and find out. Based on my family history, my doctor advised me to take the genetic test to see if I had a certain gene mutation for colon cancer. That genetic test is in process somewhere and the results should be making their way back to me in about a week.

I’ll be back with my results, and more details on how the genetic test works. In the mean time, schedule your colonoscopy if you all ready know you need to. Not sure? Get to know your family history, and tell your spouse to do the same. I mean, how much do you know about your in-laws colons? Time to find out!

Get Screened for Colon Cancer and Win a Canon, Camera, Kitchen Aid Mixer, Flat Screen TV and MORE!: Details Here

 Hereditary Cancer Quiz

 

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Comments (9)

  1. Erica Fehrman 03/26/2013 at 12:12 pm

    My mom had some issues that seemed like returning endometriosis, but before doing lapro surgery her OBGYN recommended a colonoscopy. It turned out she had colon cancer and it was able to be removed immediately. She’s been fine since. She was 48 then and I’m supposed to start getting screened next year. Def something to stay on top of.

  2. Mamatwoboys 03/26/2013 at 9:53 am

    I had my first colonoscopy when my youngest was 6 months. In the last 10 years I have had two more. Each time they have found polyps and removed them immediately. I could bury my head in the sand about this or stay vigilant and spend one day on the pot and the next taking a GREAT nap! Just do it people. Seriously!

  3. Heather D 03/26/2013 at 9:25 am

    So glad it came up benign!
    I’ve got a family history of colon cancer on both sides of the family, so I did a colonoscopy when I was 40. They found one pre-cancerous polyp and removed it. Had another two years later, and there was nothing, and now I don’t need to go back for three years.
    Although the prep in annoying, it’s so much better than the alternative, don’t you think?

  4. Hildie 03/26/2013 at 9:19 am

    My dad had colon cancer when he was around 50. He ended up dying of a heart attack the next year so who knows how it might have turned out. I really need to get a colonoscopy. I’m going to call and make an appointment right now! Thanks for nagging me.

    Ummm, what kind of doctor does that sort of thing?

    • Heather D 03/26/2013 at 9:22 am

      Ask your general practitioner for a recommendation. That’s how I found mine.

    • Rachael Herrscher 03/26/2013 at 9:24 am

      I’m so sorry to hear about your dad! The kind of doctor you want to see is a gastroenterologist. They aren’t as bad as you think! Let us know what you find out!!!

    • Rachael Herrscher 03/26/2013 at 9:25 am

      You also might want to ask about the genetic test if anyone else in your family has had colon cancer. I should be getting my results soon!

  5. Amy Allen Johnson 03/19/2013 at 10:34 am

    It’s always amazing to me that in the fight against cancer, we actually have tools to help detect early.

    Guess that Ben Franklin saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” can hold true here too.

  6. Stephanie Quilao 03/19/2013 at 12:34 am

    Glad the results came up benign. My dad had colon cancer. Was a scary time for us. Had surgery and chemo, and did much emotional and spiritual healing work as well. Happy to report that this summer, he’ll be cancer free for 20 years!

    He did the same thing and told people to get colonoscopies. If you catch the polyps early, cancer can be avoided or caught way early.