March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month.
Twelve years ago, my family physician stood in the hallway joining other doctors’ offices and yelled at me loudly enough to be heard by all of the nurses and patients in exam rooms: “You are going to die, and it won’t be long!”
I’d become so debilitated I couldn’t drive myself to surgery and was in serious conflict over the surgeon, the medical oncologist and the debility to come from chemo and radiation.
When he later said, “They will do the procedure on you anyway because you won’t be able to s---, but it will be too late to save your life,” the decision became easier.
I met with a friendlier surgeon who explained everything in detail, answered all questions and agreed if I decided at the last minute I didn’t want it, he’d take the afternoon off, go golfing — no problem.
Surgery went well, but recovering energy and function takes longer than expected and chemo brain is real.
However, I am alive and occasionally enjoy it.
Bottom line: If you are 50, get a colonoscopy; doctors can miss things in a digital exam. If you are 40 and have any suspicions, even if you are in your 30s and have misshapen stools and bleeding, get a colonoscopy. Catch it early and live a joyous, long life.
Ed Hall, Bellefonte