As I walked down the hospital hall a couple of weeks ago I noticed a sign that read, “7 out of 10 colon cancer patients have no symptoms.” I could agree with that whole-heartedly, because I had no symptoms that one would associate with colon cancer.
Since January of 2022 I’d felt short of breath and seemed tired, but who would associate that with colon cancer?
I made an appointment with my general practitioner who did the usual blood tests and exams. He reported, “Your hemoglobin is at 9. It should be between 13 and 15. You’re leaking blood somewhere. I’m ordering an endoscopy and a colonoscopy to find the source of your leak.”
By mid-February we knew the problem. I had twelve polyps in my colon. A year and a half ago at my last colonoscopy, I had none. In this February test, one of those polyps came back cancerous. After the necessary tests and appointments, I entered the hospital on March 18 for a resection and removal of a third of my large intestine along with the removal of 20 lymph nodes that filtered that portion of colon.
After several days I met with an oncologist to find the result of the biopsies. The golf-ball sized tumor the surgeon removed was classed as a stage 2 cancer. It hadn’t spread to the lymph nodes. This was the best news I’d heard since January. Now I wouldn’t have to undergo chemo. I got to keep my hair. The oncologist scheduled me for a couple of iron infusions to bring my red blood count up and I’m off to the races again. Hallelujah!
The medical community now suggests people get a colonoscopy beginning at age 45. Some cancers pop up because we have family histories; others have no apparent causes. Mine was the former. The surgeon told me if he had to pick a cancer to have, it would either be breast or colon because they are the easiest to treat. The oncologist informed me the chances are remote that I will have colon cancer again. For that I am grateful.
Don’t put it off, dear ones. It might give you a few more years on this side!