Easter—when Christians celebrate the Resurrection—is just around the corner.
I celebrate a little resurrection of my own at this time of year. Twelve years ago during Holy Week, I learned I had colon cancer. I had no symptoms. I was visiting doctors for my obligatory, and first-ever, colonoscopy at age 50–the test most people avoid.
But you shouldn’t avoid it. I was already at stage 3 and didn’t feel a thing.
Not counting skin cancer, colorectal cancer—cancer of the colon or rectum—is the third most common cancer for men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. It’s expected to cause about 51,020 deaths during 2019.
Nobody wants to take the colonoscopy test, of course, and I’ve heard all kinds of reasons why. From “I haven’t had any symptoms” (neither did I) to “I don’t want to bare my big bottom in front of doctors.” You’re pretty much out for the test, so baring your bottom is not an issue.
Go lightly, go often
To be clear, the day before the test can get a little rough. For someone who keeps snacks an arm’s length away at all times, the thought of a liquid diet is frightful. And then there is the “Go Lightly” drink that really should be named “Go Often.”
However, I can attest that a colonoscopy is far easier than getting seven inches cut from your gut and undergoing six months of chemotherapy. And it would be easier on the ones you love too. Chemotherapy can make you nauseated and tired and not much good to anybody. It also makes food taste metallic. That can put a damper on life—especially if you enjoy eating. On the plus side, chemo treatments help you lose weight because most food becomes unsavory.
I’m done with annual CT scans and colonoscopies. But I want to save you that hassle. If you’re 50 or over and never scheduled your colonoscopy, please do it. I’ve heard the tests are easier now for those with lower risk. Schedule it for me and for Women of the ELCA’s Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls initiative. I want you to see your healthy girls grow into healthy women.
Now, raise your hand if you’re calling your doctor today.
Today’s blog has been updated, but first ran in 2012. Terri Lackey is director for communication for Women of the ELCA. She kept her family and friends up on her condition and progress through her blog Cowgirl Attitude.
Feature photo: Fresco from Kariye Camii, Anastasis – showing Christ and the resurrection of Adam and Eve, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54562