A Look Back . . .
The suggestion was made that I go back in time a bit and recap what symptoms I was noticing when this journey with cancer began. Great suggestion since that is the second-most popular question I’m asked (right behind “How are you feeling?”).
It started pretty innocently in January of this year with nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and persistently “loose” stool. symptoms I easily attributed to a stomach bug. That went on about a week then blood started showing up in my stool. Again, something I wrote off as part of whatever bug I was battling. Well, the blood in the stool turned into passing blood clots and that’s when Jen jumped in and ordered me to see the family doctor.
In someone my age, blood in the stool is almost always the result of hemorrhoids (isn’t that a strange word?) so naturally, that’s what my family doctor suspected. But to play it safe he sent me for a colonoscopy (which happened on March 13). Prior to the procedure the gastroenterologist almost assured me it was only internal hemorrhoids; after the procedure he said four words that changed everything, “You really surprised me.” He’d found a tumor. A biopsy was taken and well, as they say, the rest is history, or at least history in the making.
As I look back on it, all the symptoms I was experiencing were symptoms of colon cancer, but in someone my age and in my health, cancer is not even on the radar. I had (or at least thought I had) an explanation for each symptom. Either a flu bug or lack of sleep or something I ate or, or, or. There was always a reason and it was never cancer.
You know what I’m thankful for every day? The ulcer on the tumor that was causing the bleeding. If I never saw blood I would have never seen the doctor and who knows how far this cancer would have progressed before I saw anymore symptoms? The oncologist said I could have had this tumor growing in me for up to four years. It’s funny, I look at photos of our vacation in Maine last year and I look so healthy and vibrant and all along I had cancer.
I guess that’s why they call it the silent killer.
Moral of my story? One, know the symptoms of cancer and don’t hesitate to get them checked out. You never know. Two, know that God is working in your life, in even the strangest ways, for your own good. We don’t see the big picture, He does. So be thankful in all things. By the way, that’s not always easy, but no one said it would be.