Thursday, January 22, 2009

do something

Like a zillion others, I too watched the Inauguration on Tuesday. I'm not going to express any sort of opinion other than some disappointment at the 'personal resonsibility' message of the President and the irony of the National Mall left looking like a landfill. It was a great day, a cold day, but pick up your trash, people!

On that note of responsibility, I want to toss out a challenge to each of you.

You see, I'll be getting a colonoscopy next Tuesday morning. We need to rule out the possibility of any new, unwanted growth in the region my most CT and PET scans have kept being reported as 'consistent with disease progression.' Dr. Lee wants to be sure. Dr. Grasso feels (literally, ahem!) the scar tissue is there and possibly still healing. Only eyes on the area of concern will give us answers.

That's where you come in. Metaphorically speaking!

I'd like to challenge you to take some personal responsibility for your health. If you haven't already, I reeeeally want you to get up to speed on your own family history of cancer or other chronic/hereditary disease. If you're a child, ask your parents. If you're a parent, make time to talk with your children.

As I've said before, the discussion doesn't have to be some dramatically urgent shoulders pushed up against a wall Hollywood movie moment. Just ping your loved ones and ask for some time in the near future to sit down in a quiet place and have a little chat. You need to know... they need to know... loving one another means gently broaching these tender subjects. The awkwardness can be defused with a little bit of a business approach and a lot of caring for each other.

And when you get informed, do something about it. Had I known I probably had an elevated risk for colo-rectal cancer, I would have gladly sought to be screened for Lynch Syndrome. That simple blood test may have sent me in for a colonoscopy or other exam/tests well before I developed symptoms or spent months thinking I was just eating poorly or needed to get into better shape. It could have headed off this entire process of the last seventeen months and kept me from dreading the next three.

Eh, I say dread, but I know I'll get through. I'll feel crummy and I will fail in several ways, but I'll do what I have to do.

But you can do something, now, and that's what I want to encourage. i want to save you from the consequences of putting things off, denying a problem, or ignoring an unpleasant possibility. The earlier you know, the better! No matter how uncomfortable it may be today, I guarantee it will be much worse tomorrow.

Lord willing, you are healthy or at least informed of what to look out for. With that, please consider helping someone else out. These are selfish days; times that need the restoring power of helping another person even if from a distance. I am very excited about the things the Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) organization are doing. I know there are walks, runs, rides, etc for people to get involved in. Even the car guys out there can turn laps in BMW's for the Komen Foundation and help conquer breast cancer. All you need to do is look around for an opportunity... and then be brave enough to sign up.

Finally, though it does not feel like doing anything at all, you can pray. No, it doesn't feel like -doing- anything, but it puts your heart in motion. It is both the least effort and the most commitment to just quietly ask for the well-being of someone else. It may hurt. We think we get so much more out of putting our hands on something and fixing it, but the truth is there is so much more in putting our hearts into caring. Go for it!

1 comment:

Beth said...

Thanks for the gentle reminder that we all need to take our health more seriously. As the "beneficiary" of prior colon polyps, I too get to have those lovely exams every so often. My latest was in December where my doctor found another one. After recounting your diagnosis, surgery and treatment, my doctor is subjecting me to yet another colonoscopy in June, just to be sure. I absolutely HATE the prep (it makes me very sick), but it's a small price to pay for staying healthy.

Thanks for the reminder. I know you love us all enough to tell us to do the "hard" things.