|Mom, less than 9 years before she was taken by cancer.|
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.