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This may take you out of your comfort zone a bit…but…never mind.
Imagine if you will. You are 58 years old and on your deathbed. You are one of the unlucky 50,000 people who will die of colon cancer this year. As you lie there, you are tormented by the constant replays playing in your mind of your life slowly slipping away.
All you can see are the wonderful things you took for granted…your beautiful wife…your wonderful family…your close friends…your unfinished projects.
You’re anxious about all the things you’re going to miss… like your daughter’s upcoming wedding… being a part of your grandchildren’s lives… the family vacations you’ll never take again… the sounds of laughter…the simple conversations at the table…the smell of an April shower…the fresh feeling of a new day…all the things you should, want and could .
With a tear in your eye, you pray to God for a miracle. Now…rewind your imagination here and now and think seriously about this question.
What would it be worth to you not to lose 20 years of your life to colon cancer?
Would you be willing to fast for 24 hours, while having stomach cramps for two to three of those hours? So, would you be willing to be asleep for 20 minutes while a doctor examines you for cancer? Well that’s it! I ask you again… would it be worth it?
Oh, I just realized there’s one more hurdle I forgot to mention. FEAR! A little different from the others…this one could literally scare you to death.
Let me cut to the chase.
Three members of my family recently passed away from colon cancer. The sad truth is that with today’s technology, I sincerely believe that all three could be alive and enjoying life today. All were over 60 when first diagnosed, and none had ever been screened for colon cancer…even though national guidelines start at age 50. I don’t know if it was fear or lack of information that kept them from doing so…so I’m going to address both of them.
I hate to be so blunt… especially when it hits so close to home. The truth hurts like hell… but the truth is the best weapon I have to possibly get your attention. And if somehow that helps to neutralize some of your fears and gets you into action…I’ll be harnessing it all day.
According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer kills nearly 50,000 people in the United States each year…while, in the same time frame, nearly 150,000 new cases are diagnosed. It’s the second deadliest cancer…after lung cancer…which is also preventable. But that’s another topic for another day.
The real tragedy is that we now have a way to prevent most colon cancers, but thousands of us every year, for one reason or another, choose to ignore it. Did you understand… I said… CHOOSE TO IGNORE IT! If this shoe fits you… please re-read the first two paragraphs.
Although Colon Cancer generally targets those 50 and older, I ask my younger readers to hang in there and listen to me. This is vitally important, as you may be the only one with enough influence and knowledge, after reading this article, to possibly make sense to your parents. I don’t mean to be too dramatic… but you could literally save their lives. It’s your job to make it happen.
Colon cancer begins as benign, slow-growing polyps, usually in people over 50…possibly younger if there is a family history. The beauty is that at these early stages, they can easily be detected and eliminated before they become deadly…thus preventing colon cancer. All of this can be accomplished with a relatively simple procedure called a colonoscopy…which, by the way, is done while you’re asleep and completely unconscious.
For some reason, the very word colonoscopy scares a lot of people…especially us guys. Once upon a time, I was one of the many…but not anymore. After having my second last week, I can honestly say…it was a piece of cake. But I have to tell you… I still hate that word… colonoscopy.
The fool who came up with this word should be beaten to death with the tool they use for the procedure. Why don’t they call it adding 20 years to your lifeoscopy? It would be a lot easier to sell… don’t you think?
A quick word on fear…it feeds on ignorance and inaction. Thankfully, it loses its sizzle in light of information…valid information, that is. And it’s made even more useless, when this valuable information comes from someone who was plagued by fear before going through his first screening. Again, I just had it done last week, so what I’m about to tell you is very up to date.
• Step One: This is the hardest part…but it’s really not that bad. The day before the procedure, you must fast and drink a laxative solution that cleans your colon so that the doctor can see what he needs to see. For those like me who have a weak stomach, there are pills, which can be used instead, called OsmoPrep. OsmoPrep is taken with clear Gatorade and works just as well…if not better, and I highly recommend it. Tell your doctor that you know about the pills and he will prescribe them for you.
• Second step: The actual colonoscopy. This is frankly what scares most men…not to do it. They just can’t forget to think about it. Look… I’m gonna tell the plain truth here, and I’m not gonna take any beating. When you arrive at the hospital on an outpatient basis, you are given an IV in your arm…this is where the sedative will be administered a few seconds before the procedure. At show time, you are rolled into the room where the procedure will take place and then asked to lie on your left side. They then inject the sedative through the aforementioned IV. Five seconds later, you’re like a light. Next thing you know… you wake up and it’s over. That’s it… you’re done.
• Step Three: You take your life back… full stop, amen.
Look… we all know we’re not going to live forever… at least not in this body. But there’s no reason why we can’t take advantage of this wonderful life. And if that means having a colonoscopy every 10 years or so after age 50…then do it.
If every cancer had a screening technique as reliable and effective as colonoscopy, cancer would be almost a non-factor for most of us.
If you are 50 or older, or have a blood relative who has had colon polyps or colon cancer, talk to your doctor and schedule an appointment. Don’t delay… do it now. You don’t want to be tormented by these replays. If your parents or someone you love fits this bill… stick with them until they give in.
Don’t assume everyone knows the facts. Show some moxie and spread the word…even if it takes stepping out of your comfort zone to do so.
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