In the Fall of 2013 I helped open the new Germantown Wegman’s store as the Deli Manager. At this time I had Colon Cancer. I did not know this. I was 56 years old.
Standard operating procedure for people who reach 50 years old is to start having colonoscopies. Obviously I did not do this.
Most colorectal cancers develop first as polyps, which are abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum that may later become cancerous if not removed.
As a child of a physician we are not the best at seeking out medical attention or doing preventative care. Growing up if I felt bad I called my Dad and he would call one of his friends. This friend would fit me in and diagnose and prescribe what I needed.
Right before I left for College I had my wisdom teeth removed. I got an infection. On Labor Day weekend my dad called one of his friends who was an oral surgeon. I met him at his office and he took care of the problem.
When I was 25 I had pain in my side. Thought it might be my appendix. My dad called my godfather who was a surgeon. It turned out to be an intestinal obstruction. My godfather operated and it was fixed.
So as you can see growing up medical care was on demand not preventative. I was a healthy person who was physically active, I didn’t go to doctors unless I had to.
As I look back on the time between the Fall of 2013 and June of 2014 (when I was diagnosed) I certainly had some of the symptoms.
I chalked it up to stress, getting old and of course anything but that I was sick. Because I had never been sick.
In May of 2014 the symptoms got to the point that I decided to set up an appointment with a Gastroenterologists. Which I did. I went to the office saw a Physician’s Assistant. And based on my symptoms we set up an appointment for a colonoscopy.
My next blog I will recount my first colonoscopy and my diagnosis. Below from the Colon Rectal Alliance is a list of symptoms and when to see a doctor.
Colorectal cancer (cancer in the colon or rectum) first develops with few, if any, symptoms. Be proactive and talk to your doctor. If symptoms are present, they may include:
A Change in Bowel Habits
Including diarrhea, constipation, a change in the consistency of your stool or finding your stools are narrower than usual
Persistent Abdominal Discomfort
Such as cramps, gas, or pain and/or feeling full, bloated or that your bowel does not empty completely
Finding blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
Weakness or Fatigue
Can also accompany losing weight for no known reason, nausea or vomiting
Colorectal cancer symptoms can also be associated with many other health conditions. Only a medical professional can determine the cause of your symptoms. Early signs of cancer often do not include pain. It is important not to wait before seeing a doctor. Early detection can save your life.
When to See a Doctor
These symptoms can also be associated with many other health conditions. Only a medical professional can determine the cause of your symptoms.
Early signs of cancer often do not include pain. It is important not to wait before seeing a doctor. Early detection can save your life.
Remember, the most common symptom is NO symptom, which is why we call it the silent killer. If you’re 50, average risk, get screened! #screenbrave
Interesting how your experience as a daughter of a doctor and my experience having no family doctors and limited access to any medical care created in us very different approaches to our own medical care. My mother was diligent in making sure we got our vaccinations and I had a number of minor surgeries as a child but I knew it was very expensive for my parents. So once I actually had a job that had health insurance I became diligent in doing everything I could to get the benefit of that insurance! I can understand better now why some time went by before diagnosis and confirmation.
Well, fancy reading this today at age 55 and scheduled for my first one next Tuesday! Now if I can only convince my husband to do it as well.