Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cancerversary


Cancerversary. Who knew it was a thing? But it is. And I have one. This week. I’ve now lived more years post cancer than pre. I was practically a newlywed when I was diagnosed. This year I will celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary. My two children were but gleams in my eyes. Today they are each pursuing graduate degrees. My hair was dark and shiny then. Today it still is. (Well, only my hairdresser knows for sure.) As anyone who has ever received a life altering diagnosis knows, the moment is forever etched into memory, as clear and unforgettable as the JFK assassination or September 11th. In my particular case, surgery was required following blood transfusions (in the months before the blood supply was screened for AIDS) .The days and weeks following surgery were filled with recuperation and decision making. As my most learned friend put it, choosing a post-surgical treatment was like me deciding what type of jet engine Boeing should use on its newest plane. Three well respected oncologists recommended three vastly different approaches. There just weren’t too many cases of a young woman with Stage II colon cancer. 28 years later, I feel safe to say that my decision was appropriate. I am diligent about undergoing follow-up colonoscopies every 4 to 5 years. Everyone over the age of 50 should have one. People with a family history, including my children, need to be screened earlier. Since colon cancer almost always begins as a benign  polyp, the procedure itself can be lifesaving. The dreaded preparation is certainly the worst part. So be thankful for Miralax and propofol and get yourself screened. Now, back to my commemoration /celebration. How should I spend the day? Mah Jongg with the girls? Spa day? Dinner with my family? All of the above sound like affirmation  to me.

1 comment:

Debbie Gruber said...

"Cancerversary", what a great word. Congratulations, and I hope you have many, many, many more!