Colon Cancer Awareness Month: My scary diagnosis and what you can do

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Let me start by saying that I’m A-Okay and am planning on staying that way for a long time. Think of Sophia from Golden Girls old or Betty White that’s how long I plan to live: old enough for my crankiness to be attributed to age and suddenly be socially acceptable.

Several weeks ago I had a scare. 

Me at Mardi-Gras in Mobile.

After attending my first Mardi Gras in Mobile then scooting up to Montgomery to join Baron Coleman on the radio I rushed home and had a colonoscopy the next morning. It was a last minute thing after seeing a specialist earlier in the week.

At 37, I put it off even probably a little longer than I should have. I was having some troubling symptoms of which I’m glad for because otherwise I wouldn’t have found out I had pre-cancerious polyps growing inside of me. Colon cancer and polyps at my age? Nope didn’t see it coming.

You guys, I’m not close to 50 (the age after which most people are diagnosed) and I don’t know what I thought someone who gets colon cancer looks like (okay old looking, no I mean old) but I was pretty sure she wouldn’t be young enough to still be wearing 5 inch heels and have three young kids but alas I am now what I want you to envision when you think colon polyps (not colon cancer and not just about colons because that would just be weird). 

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last week: March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Early detection is key. Listen to your body. Make the appointment. Drink the gross drink and make sure your friends and family who are at high risk are doing the same.

Cancer is scary. In fact it’s downright terrifying.

Talking about colonoscopies and any symptoms related to that area of the body is generally speaking considered impolite, but we must do it. Since I’m not known for sticking to “just polite” conversation, I hope I’ll inspire someone to speak up and get tested too. Together we can beat this awful disease.


Signs and symptoms

Local symptoms. According to CancerCenter.com, local symptoms are those that affect only the colon and/or rectum and have not spread to distant organs. Common local symptoms include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation, or other changes in bowel habits
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
  • Abdominal bloating, cramps or discomfort
  • A feeling that the bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Stools that are thinner than normal

If you experience these possible symptoms of colorectal cancer for an extended period of time, it is important that you visit a health care professional.

Systemic symptoms. According to CancerCenter.com, systemic colorectal cancer symptoms may impact more than the digestive tract and affect your entire body. Common systemic symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

More signs and symptoms to watch out for.