Sunday, August 9, 2015

Where does your brain go when your doctor says it's cancer?

My doctor didn't use the word cancer.  Neither did I. He said adenocarcinoma and I said what do I need to do?  My brain pushed the word away while simultaneously digesting it and rushing to next steps.  Let's not dwell on what, let's concentrate on what to do about it.

I remember my stomach dropping and my eyes filling with tears, but I also remember pushing that away with an urgency to get beyond REacting to get to actually acting. WHAT NEXT?

People all react differently I imagine.  And I'm equally sure their reaction is colored by what kind of
diagnosis they are receiving.  I was extremely lucky.  This was colon cancer, one polyp found during a colonoscopy that when removed did not appear to be anything, but the biopsy showed otherwise.  Still, only one polyp, only the chance that a bit of cancer had invaded the colon wall.  The treatment?  Remove about 6 inches of intestine at the cecum, including the ileocecal valve.  No chemo, no radiation, no anything beyond that besides having regular colonoscopies on a more regular basis for the rest of my life.  A VERY small price to pay for having found this tiny bit of cancer so early that I consider it cancer with a small "c", as opposed to the big "C".

So am I a cancer survivor?  I suppose.  But it's embarrassing to say that considering what so many others have gone through.  It was all over so fast because I wanted it to be, and I barely allowed myself to think about it AS cancer.  Now that it's past and the only remaining reminder is the difference in my digestion, I don't HAVE to think about it.

What I DO think about though, is keeping up with my health, blood work, and whatever tests I should be having at this point in my life.  Things I did take seriously before, but not quite as seriously as I should have.

It's definitely something to think about, whether or not you have ever had this particular diagnosis.  Had a colonoscopy lately?


  1. Up here in Canada, at least two provinces send out little test kits for all those over 50 to get checked out. It is not as thorough as a full blown colonoscopy but at least there is a first line screen to pick out those who need to be tested further.

    1. Oh for sure - the lab I used to work at offered those fecal blood tests for free for employees over a certain age. Very helpful. But I needed the full colonoscopy to catch mine before it made any inroads. Like I said - very lucky!

  2. I feel the same. I go for a while without posting, then post for a few days, then another month passes. I feel my life is very mundane and uninteresting, so who really wants to hear about it. Mostly these days, it's mommy blogs and fashion blogs. Fashion blogs are all the rage. Oh, and DIY blogs. Yikes I am at that stage of life where I want someone else to do it for me. :)