“My message is that with early detection we can successfully fight colon cancer. I am living proof.”
My life is a testament to the value of routine colonoscopies. When I turned 50, my physician urged me to have a baseline colonoscopy. I had spent my life taking good care of myself, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. There was no history of colon cancer in my family and no reason to suspect that anything was wrong, but I followed my doctor’s advice. My doctor offered to make the appointment for me and I agreed. Thank goodness I did. The decision I made that day saved my life!I was incredibly lucky. My colon cancer was only in stage one with no involvement outside the colon so I did not have to have chemo or radiation treatment. I opted to have my surgery at the Cleveland Clinic some distance from my home. The operation went well, but on the return trip home I began to experience severe pain. At Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis, we learned that my resection had leaked, which occasionally happens with colon resections. The leak meant 28 more days in the hospital for treatment and recuperation. It was a difficult time, but I still count my blessings.Of all the choices I have made in my life, agreeing to a colonoscopy is clearly one of the most important. This routine screening saved my life and I feel so lucky to be able to share many more years with my wonderful husband, family and friends. Obviously, I feel very passionate about the importance of routine colonoscopies, so I have made it my mission to share my story so that other lives might be saved. I urge everyone I know to step up for the test beginning at age 50. My message is that with early detection we can successfully fight colon cancer. I am living proof.