Nobody likes to talk about their colon. Nobody likes the idea of having a colonoscopy and many people don't. Yet colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Tomorrow I'm having my first screening.
|Me and Hilda, early 1970s|
Tomorrow also happens to be my half birthday, halfway to fifty-three. Something of significance, that I may have mentioned before, is that my half birthday always falls a day after the anniversary of my sister Hilda's death. It's always a time of introspection for me. A time to take stock of my life and where I'm at in this journey. I'm glad I'm doing something as important as getting screened for colon cancer.
First let's talk about the colonoscopy and why I've been putting it off. I really haven't been avoiding it completely. It's really been the circumstances and yes, I haven't been in a hurry to do it. My first excuse was that I turned fifty during the Covid pandemic. When my OBGYN asked me about it I told her I would do it but I let another year go by and I didn't make an appointment. She asked me to do it again and she referred me to a doctor in her building. I made the appointment, which wasn't available for a few months, but I still wasn't in a hurry. The appointment was scheduled for May and then the doctor's office called me because the doctor was going on maternity leave.
In the middle of all of this back and forth I found out in May that a friend from elementary school and middle school passed away from colon cancer. He was fifty-two. I'm not going to lie. Finding this out and going to his funeral was another reminder that I needed to get this done.
So here I am three months later on the eve of both my first colonoscopy and my half birthday and on the 27th anniversary of my sister's passing. I've been doing a lot of planning and plotting my goals lately. I have two notes in my phone. One is "Three Month Goals" for all of my immediate goals, like getting the kids off to college. The second one is called "5 Year and 13 Year Goals," and that one has all of my longer term goals for writing and moving towards retirement. I am trying to make it a habit to look at these goals every single day to keep myself on track.
One of the most important parts about my long term goals is my health. I've said it again and again. My health is the bedrock on which I must build all of my goals for the last part of my life. If I don't have my health I won't be able to go on any of the adventures that I have planned. So starting with this colonoscopy tomorrow, here is to prevention and doing the things to keep me alive.