Sporadic Thoughts on Cancer (and more than you ever wanted to know about a certain procedure)


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Tuesday I had a sigmoidoscopy which, as usual, turned into a colonoscopy. For those who don’t know, the sigmoidoscopy (which is only done on the lower portion of the colon) is done while you’re awake and watching the whole thing on a TV monitor (as opposed to the more common full colonoscopy which is done while you’re under anesthesia). For me, though, because of my surgically altered colon, I feel no discomfort with a colonoscopy. So said procedure is billed as a sigmoido- (for insurance purposes) but performed as a colon0- without the anesthesia.

The procedure itself is rather uneventful and quick, the prep is awful and the aftermath is . . . interesting. You see, they pump air into your colon to inflate it so the little camera gets a good view. Well, when the whole thing is done you have a colon full of air and are sent on your way to enjoy the rest of your day. The rest goes without being said.

Now, besides all that, every time I get one of these things it gets me thinking about cancer (the reason for the scope and the colon full of air). Cancer gets me thinking about the battle that was and the future that will be.

A friend of mine (and fellow cancer survivor) told me once that when you’re going through cancer you think about it all day, every day–true–but as time puts distance between you and the battle you think on it less and less–also true. While I think about cancer less it still occupies my mind daily, several times a day. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about what was and what may be.

Don’t get me wrong, I thank God for what He has done in my life and trust Him fully with my future. That’s not the issue. The issue is that cancer demands that you regularly take inventory of your life, and it forces you to put things into perspective.

I have hopes and dreams for the future, for this upcoming year. Are they important? Some of them, most, maybe. They all involve my family and our well-being, our togetherness. I have ideas about how I want my children to grow up, how I hope they remember me. I have wishes for Jen and me and how we’ll spend the next year and every year after that. And I don’t want cancer to get in the way of any of it.

Sorry to ramble on like this, I’m just sharing what’s on my mind as I write this. It’s hard sometimes for survivors and their loved ones because for those around us life goes on, it moves forward and the whole “cancer thing” is forgotten, but for us it’s never forgotten and that part of our life doesn’t go on, it’s still there, stuck on pause.

So let me ask you this, for those of you who are either cancer survivors or have had a loved one take on that beast, what’s your story? Do you still think about it? How often? Has it shaped the way you live, your motivations, your priorities? How?

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About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on January 6, 2011, in Christian Living, Life in General and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Maryellen Cummings

    I lost my mom to colon cancer in 1987. I was 16. I’ve had 3 scopes so far……not just the sigmoid but the full monty. 😉 It’s hard to NOT think about her cancer as I approach the age she was diagnosed. (she was 45…..) I just turned 40 and have a 2y/o daughter.

    I can understand your words above in dealing with illness for another reason. I have MS and have had it for 11 years now. It’s probably not something that will kill me….but I do think about health and the ability to function every day. My dad always told me that health is the greatest blessing and that if you had good health, you have everything. (he’s gone too…..kidney cancer 2003) For that very reason, I try to enjoy using my body EVERY day. I hate to say it, but I want to enjoy walking, running, and swimming while I still can. I think I’m able to carpe diem b/c of the very real threat of losing my ability to function. Funny how everyone takes good health for granted.

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    • Thanks for your comment, Maryellen. I’m sorry you’re dealing with MS. My full-time job is in physical therapy and I’ve seen many people with MS. Keep enjoying every day . . . I know exactly how you feel.

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  2. As a cancer overcomer (I don’t like the word survivor) for seventeen years, and then having another bout of it pop its ugly head up, I know what you are talking about. Other than having to schedule things around treatments, doctors appointments (and trying to keep up with what doctor I’m seeing!), and the dealing with the aftereffects of the chemo (even though slight), there have been positive changes in my lifestyle–and much more than changing eating habits and the like. I have determined to live each day to the fullest, spending time with God each day, and then spending positive, upbeat time with my family. When the kids come home for the holidays or just come home for a visit, everything that can be set aside to spend time with them and do the things they like–even if it’s just playing a board game or watching them play a game on the Wii. My daughter “raids” my moisturizers and shower gels for fragrances she likes while I watch. I sit and cuddle with my grandson and granddaughter, and play Wii with Mikey (even though it’s very humiliating being beat by a 4-year-old!). My husband, who is in bad health, and I do things we enjoy and are able to do–even if it’s just going to Target and walking around and then stopping by Starbucks for a cup of coffee. And when I feel low and don’t want to go on, God brings to mind all the positive memories and all that He has done, and I’m reminded of His Word that He’s the same now as He was then, and He is still with me; He has not left my side. And I can’t forget my dogs. Someone has said there’s no better psychiatrist than having a puppy lick (kiss) your face, and I have to agree. When I’ve had a rough day at work and come in more tired than usual because of a recent treatment, I sit down in my recliner and Selah and Sasha (my two little ones) come and just snuggle with me, while my bigger dogs lie on the floor around me. And God uses them to let me know everything is going to be all right. Sorry to be so long-winded here, Mike. But I wanted to share my thoughts. And I want to let you, Jen, and the girls that you are always in our prayers. Blessings to you!

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  3. Elizabeth Fisher

    Mike, I just wanted you to know that while I have prayed for you fervently for the last couple of years, something has tugged at the depth of my heart the last couple of weeks. I have been praying daily that your cancer will be in full remission and NEVER return. I will continue to pray for this and also for you to have peace about it all. Greg, Lexi, and I look forward to our friendship with you, Jen, and the girls till we are all very, very old.

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  4. Cancer has been part of my family for the last 30 years, with 11 people so far. I can’t believe I’ve made it to 40 without getting it yet, and I do mean yet. I always expect a diagnosis every time I go to the doctor. I wonder how I will deal with it? How hard will I fight? Will I fight at all?

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  5. Mike

    I was diagnosed with Lymphoma four years ago, followed by colorectal cancer three years ago. After a bunch of chemo/radiation, and six surgeries, I’m an “overcomer”. (Thanks Deb, I don’t like the word survivor either)

    An overcomer can function and act normally, but the disease is never far from the top of the thought process.

    You ask “what’s your story?” Anyone diagnosed with cancer could write you a book. I’ve decided to try and use my experience to assist tobacco users to stop! I’m working on a web page to inform tobacco users what is down the road for them.

    http://mysite.verizon.net/res16y5qv/index.html

    Ron

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  6. Thank you all for sharing. I’m blessed every time I hear the testimony of cancer OVERCOMERS or those loved ones touched by that awful beast. Keep on telling your story and testifying of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

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  7. My dad died of lung cancer after a two year fight. There were life choices involved (smoking) but the men in his family seem to be susceptible. I can say I hate cancer, the disease. I also understand there are more ways to fight it than one can typically receive in a normal hospital. I have strong opinions that it’s a full body disease, not a localized disease. Zapping it in one place or “taking it out” is just part of the answer. In some cases, maybe more than we even realize, our life choices can have a profound effect on prognosis. (Dramatically altered diet, exercise, supplements.) I sat in front of my dad after we learned the cancer came back and I said, “You have to change your diet, or you’ll die.” How’s that for harsh? But it was true, if he had a fighting chance that was one of the crucial parts of it. He didn’t heed my advice, I think he was too tired to fathom the thought at that point. But myself, I’m a stubborn fighter. I take the bull by the horns.

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  8. Two years ago I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I can still totally recall every detail of receiving the diagosis in Dr. Carpenter’s office. Which examine room right down to exactly what she said and what both of us were wearing. I’m sure it will be permenant in my memory. I had cared for my grandmother when she was dieing from breast cancer. She and all her siblings died from one form of cancer or another. My mom is the only cancer free sibling, her brothers and sister have all had cancer. Two of them have died from cancer.

    My treatment was very straight forward. Total hysterectomy. The detection was the earliest possible. No chemo, no radiation. I attribute this to a GP who was convinced that I would develop uterine cancer because I had all the risk factors except I am not a smoker. During the second follow up blood was detected in my stool. Hence I had a colonoscopy. Multiple poylips were detected and removed.
    My next colonoscopy was scheduled for a year. My body was reluctant so I had to do a double prep. 2 gallons not just one. A pyolop was detected and removed. Next colonoscopy will be 2 years. Each time that Something goes wrong physically the little cancer fear says is this cancer? I don’t think about it everyday anymore but the thought comes to the surface frequently. I am recoving from having a knee replacemnt replaced. It has been a struggle involving at home IVs and 5 surgeries over 10 days. I feel so blessed to have the doctors who are so diligent and vigilent. Each day I start with “I can do this and I will do this” In a way having cancer was a breeze compared with the knee. Had I not had uterine cancer I would have progressed to colon cancer

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    • Thank you for sharing, Jayne. You’ve had a long, rough road to travel and the journey continues. A double prep? Boy, you’re tougher than I am, I can barely get through one 🙂 Hope your knee is feeling better soon.

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