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Better Safe Than Sorry!

IMG_0593I know some people get tired of Christa and I posting our poop preps every year.  The only reason we do it is for fame and glory…..haha….I wish.

Truthfully, we never thought Christa would get thyroid cancer at 35 (from Christa:  This is not a big deal at all….LOTS of people get thyroid cancer….it is not a big deal…I’m even embarrassed to tell people now because it is really not a big deal…..), we would have dorm friends who also had thyroid cancer,  or that I would have to have half of my thyroid removed.

A few years ago Christa had stomach issues and had to get a colonoscopy.  Unfortunately she had LOTS of polyps (these are small, flat, roundish pieces of skin in your colon that if left alone can turn into cancer).  Christa’s gastrologist told her that if she had siblings they needed to get a colonoscopy.  After reluctantly scheduling one (I felt great and knew I would be clear) I was shocked to find out that not only did I have many, one of mine was pre-cancerous.  

IMG_2061Here is Christa rocking her scar from her thyroid removal about to rock the colonoscopy!!!!

Here is the problem with colon cancer:

It is VERY treatable if caught early.  Up until this past February, the American Cancer Society’s recommendation was that people of average risk should have a colonoscopy starting at the age of 50.  The ACS has just changed their recommendation and now say that people of average risk should have a colonoscopy at age 45.  

IMG_2065.jpgIf we would have followed the original guidelines (colonoscopy at 50), there is a chance that we may have colon cancer or we may not even be here. We were never told that we had a higher risk (we had a great uncle years ago that had colon cancer). 

So how do you know if you should get a thyroid scan (our levels always were normal), a yearly pap smear, a mammogram, a colonoscopy before the age of 45?

I wish I knew the answer to this question.

Here is what I do know:

  1. There has been an increase in the number of women having thyroid cancer. All you have to do is ask your gynecologist at your next appointment to scan your thyroid. It is not a big deal and if you have a nodule (a lot of people do…) it will probably be non cancerous but you may need to get it out. 
  2. Christa’s sister-in-law had 3 roommates in college that shared a townhouse.  3 out of 4 of them have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
  3. My friend Barbara had a friend who was 42 and went to the doctor thinking she had a cold.  Instead she went home with a stage IV colon cancer diagnosis.  She fought hard for 3 years and sadly recently passed away. 

Many of these cancers are only detectable if you get checked out.  Nobody wants to have their boobs squished or have cameras placed up their rectums. However, what is the alternative?  Early detection can prevent much more dire circumstances. 

IMG_2062What if I can’t afford to have all of these tests?

I don’t know how to answer this.  In a perfect world this would not be a concern.  I didn’t enjoy spending $1000 this morning to have a colonoscopy.  However, do any of us really have a choice?  If I decide to spend the $1000 on a phone or vacation and put off my exam, the one polyp they found today and thankfully cut out of me, may turn into cancer.  

So there is my PSA for the day.

If there is a little voice that is telling you (I’m not 45,  but maybe I should get checked out), then you should think about it. 

IMG_2054Christa and I have had 7 colonoscopies between the two of us in the past few years.  We joke that we are pros and have written several blogs on tips.  Here are the cliff notes:

    1. Schedule One!  The earlier in the day, the better!
    2. The day before eat lots of yellow jello, clear and light colored gummie bears, Worthers Original candy, clear broth, and light colored popsicles. Avoid solids and dark colors (red, blue, purple). Drink your first drink at 4PM, the second at 9PM.
    3. Wake up, get it over with, and then enjoy the rest of your day.  You will be tired and hungry, but you may have just saved your life!

      P.S. Our sisters and parents (all previous or current smokers) recently had colonoscopies and all are clear as whistles.  Smoking, drinking, and eating red meat increases your chances of colon cancer.  Christa and I have never smoked.   It just goes to show you that sometimes you never know what really causes these things. We have cut back big time on red meat (we mostly eat turkey and sometimes will splurge for a steak and that seems to have cut down big time on the number of polyps we have each time).

Our question for you, who is ready to make their _____, ________, _______ appointment?

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