Monday, February 21, 2011

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Mutti. A Day to Celebrate Prevention...So We Can Run Another Day.

Mom, less than 9 years before she was taken by cancer.
Tomorrow is my mother's birthday.  It is for her that I'm running.  It is because of her that I am here to run.

She was an opera singer and a vocal arts professor by profession.  A doting mother by nature.  An avid runner and health food nut by choice.

Doctors exclaimed at her overall fitness, remarking at her astounding health and conditioning for a woman in her late 50s... aside from the pesky fact that she had colon cancer.

She died April 4th, 2000.

To celebrate the day of her birth, I'm getting a colonoscopy.

I hadn't planned on getting scoped on that particular day, I'd made no special request when I called to make the appointment.  It was simply the first available date and who was I to say no when it fell on such a fortuitous day?

Because my lovely mother died of the disease, I am at risk and no matter my relative youth and overall health, my doctors have insisted upon regular gut checks.  This will be my second.  No one has questioned the need or the benefits of early detection...of prevention.  My experience is entirely different from my mom's.

I try not to dwell on this part of her story, the consistent inquiries to her general practitioner, questioning why she was experiencing pain, discomfort, bleeding only to be dismissed as paranoid.   And when at long last her physician recommended a colonoscopy, they found a cancer so virulent and pervasive that her chances of survival were virtually cut in half had they detected the cancer at Stage One.  Had she simply been given a routine colonoscopy at 50, I'm pretty convinced we'd be running marathons together today.

So do me a favor, be pro-active about your health.  Live to run another race and celebrate another birthday by taking a few days out of your year to get yourself well and truly checked out.

And while you're at it, donate to the American Cancer Society in honor of the sons & daughters, the brothers & sisters and the mothers & fathers who were taken too early.


  1. I also lost someone who meant more than the world to me, my grandfather, to late diagnosed colon cancer. He was the most most loving and unconditionally accepting man that I have ever had the priviledge of knowing. Seeing him fight and ultimately lose his battle with cancer was heartbreaking. I wouldn't wish the pain (physical, psychological or emotional) on anyone. Yet I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to see him through his fight and be at his side in the end to give him only a fraction of the love and support that he had given me through the years. Your mother, my grandfather and the millions of other people who have lived and are lost to cancer are truly in inspiration in living positively and with purpose.

  2. This is why I keep nagging people; this is the difference early detection can make. I will keep on nagging and recruiting more donations! Will be thinking of you (and your mom) tomorrow.

  3. I feel for you and I empathize, Gesine. I went through something similar. Mom experiencing endless symptoms and being sent home time and time again without answers. She passed of a brain aneurysm and something that could have been addressed early on if the symptoms had been recognized by the medical professionals. I applaud you on your love and devotion to your mom. I wish you great success with your fund-raising. Keep sending the message and raise awareness!

  4. Gesine- How is your running? I saw a write up on you in a local magazine here in Texas and it mentioned Running in Circles is a new book project? Can you confirm that? If it is true I think it is fabulous and cannot wait for it to come out. If not, I am sure it would be an emotional book to write but have you ever considered it?
    Hope all is well!