This week is Thanksgiving in the USA. This year there's a lot for which to be thankful in the Keith household.
I reconnected with two of my late brother's children (well, they ain't children anymore, but still).
My first novel, Becoming NADIA, won Best Thriller at EPICon in San Antonio, and is coming to print before the end of the year.
My son's latest round of surgeries should be his last, God willing. Keeping our fingers crossed.
And the latest thing is the outcome of my colonoscopy/endoscopy: Clean. Almost.
Which brings me to my next point. My family history is rich and storied with cancer in various forms and types, which mandates me being on a regular cycle of checkups and exams, because high risk is high risk, and not acknowledging that is just plain stupid.
I'm talking to you this week about scoping because it isn't just for high risk people like me. Plain and simple, colon cancer is the single most treatable cancer known. It grows slowly enough to head off in its earliest stages, and its survivability rate is very high these days, because the signs are so easy to catch in time.
If one takes the necessary steps.
My little sister died at age 46 from colon cancer. She didn't get scoped. I know the books all say you don't need to get checked before age 50, and that's true for the most part as long as you're not in a high risk group. I had little trouble getting my insurance company to cover my checks before I was 50, once I explained the risk and my family's story with that monster. Anyway, Cindy never got herself checked, and when she started having symptoms, it was already too late.
Let me say without reservation that there is a deal of suffering and humiliation (for me) in getting scoped. First off, there is that godawful "cleansing" you have to do the day before and the morning of the scope. Take these pills, take some more pills, take some more pills, and make sure you're within ten feet of a bathroom door. Thank God they knock my keister out before they come at me with that scope. I couldn't lay there awake while they're in there looking for lost miners or whatever it is they eventually turn up. I can tell you, that "five pounds of undigested red meat" the vegans go on about is simply nonexistent. The docs looked. It ain't there. So, red meat, look out. here I come.
As it was, my first check wasn't perfect, but it could have been worse. I had some polyps which were removed and tested negative. Same thing this time, as far as my colon was concerned. But my endoscopy turned up some abnormalities which required biopsies to be taken.
So yes, I was out like a light (propofol is my friend). AND, before they knocked me out, I did look to see they had two scopes set up, one for each end. Call me weird, but you know, I like to make sure, 'cause that would be... yeah.
Did I enjoy the experience? Not really. I lost two days of work, and I still have to go back and get another endoscope to follow up on the esophageal ulcers. But I'd rather suffer a little misery for a day or two than to suffer through months or years of torment while tumors eat me alive like they did my father, my sister, and my great-grandmother.
So now, let me say this: You are a fool if you don't take care of yourself. If you're over fifty years, get checked. And if you're high risk, get checked. This is one area over which you can take control. Don't let it get out of control before you decide to do something about it.
This week, I will be thankful for the blessings we've experienced this year, and watchful for that which would steal what is mine, including my health. You would do well to stay on watch as well.