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Colonoscopies are our friends! And, the Weekly Link Up for March 10 – 16, 2014

March is colon cancer awareness month
I knew what I wanted to write about to kick off this week’s Link Up post but then, as I browsed a new site called Bon Bon Break last night, I came across this poignant, informative, and touching post by Ellie, from Musing Momma, about her sister’s colon cancer diagnosis at just 36. It hit home with force and I knew I had to change topics for today.

March is colon cancer awareness month and this year I’m celebrating 16 years as a survivor of that disease. How strange (and fortunate), right? We tend to think of colon cancer as an older person’s disease. But, as Ellie mentioned in her post,

Colorectal cancers are on the rise in people under 50, but are often slow to be diagnosed in young people because they just aren’t expected – and later diagnosis means poorer prognosis.

I was 26 when I went to my family doctor after seeing blood in my stool. She conducted an exam and sent me on my way with a diagnosis of hemorrhoids. I’m sure she didn’t pursue additional tests because I was so young. But the bleeding continued and my (awesome, amazing, intuitive) mom urged me to get a second opinion.

This time my new doctor told me, “I’m sure it’s nothing but I’d like to send you to a gastroenterologist, just to be safe.” The gastroenterologist said basically the same thing and, even after finding a polyp during my colonoscopy and sending it off for a biopsy, he told me he didn’t think I should worry, that everything was probably fine.

Everything wasn’t fine (including my next doctor, a surgeon with a serious lack of bedside manner). But I was lucky. Because my cancer was so low in the colon (it was actually in the rectum), I was able to spot the bright red blood and seek medical help. My cancer was caught early enough to be treated. Some colon cancers found higher up in the colon sometimes pass blood but by the time it exits the body, the color has changed and it’s tougher to spot as a symptom. That’s why paying attention to other signs and signals your bodies gives you is vitally important (read Ellie’s post with suggestions on what symptoms to look for).

I had two surgeries, two months apart, to remove the section of my colon where the polyp was found and to repair the remaining colon. Because my cancer was caught in an early stage and it was contained, I didn’t need chemo or radiation. I’ve continued to have tons of colonoscopies over the years (I lost count around 12 or 13 but I must be getting close to 20) and ever since then, my mom, dad, and sister get regular colonoscopies too (You’re welcome, y’all!).

Sometimes people tell me they dread (and even avoid) colonoscopies because of the prep involved. OK. On my list of favorite pastimes, cleansing my colon is almost last, just before listening to a Justin Bieber album. But it’s really not that big of a deal. For me, the worst part is not being able to eat for an extended period of time (I tend to get a little hangry.). But these days the prep is gentler on the body than it used to be (Take it from a certified colonoscopy aficionado who’s sampled a variety of preps over the last 16 years.). A colonoscopy is a relatively easy, reliable test that can detect early colon cancers and even help us prevent colon cancer.

Repeat after me: Colonoscopies are our friends!

This March I’d love for you to learn more about colon cancer. Please consider your colon (I’m not gonna lie – that phrase makes me smile!) and remind your loved ones to do the same. Colon cancer is highly preventable and treatable when we listen to our bodies, get symptoms checked, and kick our fear of colonoscopies to the curb.

And, this month, let’s think of Ellie’s sister and send loving vibes and prayers her way for health and healing.

Now, on to the Weekly Link Up! What are you writing about this week? Something lovelier than a colonoscopy? I’d love to read it and share it out.

San Antonio Mom Blogs' Weekly Link Up


  1. This is a wonderful post. My grandfather died too young from colon cancer. I had my first colonoscopy when I was in high school (FUN!), and I know I’ll need to continue to be vigilant in the future.

  2. Wow. Amazing story and AMAZING mom! Thank you for sharing your story, Colleen.

  3. Colonoscopies are our friends!

    I promise I will get one done when it’s time!

  4. Congrats to you and thanks for sharing your story! As a pathologist colon cancer is part of my everyday practice but with colonoscopies and patient education, so many cases may be prevented — so thanks for doing your part to raise awareness! Both of my grandfathers have been affected, as well.

  5. When do “they” recommend a first colonoscopy? And then how often after that? Obviously your schedule will be different, with your history (and thank god it was caught early and you’re doing well!), but for someone without risk factors, do you happen to know?

    And thanks again for always supporting your fellow San Antonio moms!

  6. Thank you for sharing! After having my own cancer scare, it’s so important to be vigilant about your health. The idea if I don’t think about it or see a doctor mentality can be deadly…

    • You’re right, Marla. Being aware of what’s going on in our bodies and seeking help for strange or persistent symptoms can save lives. I’m so glad you’re OK!

  7. There’s nothing lovelier than a post about your beautiful, cancer-free self and the test that saves lives.

  8. I lost a dear friend almost five years ago to colon cancer. Had she not pushed her doctors for a colonoscopy, we might have lost her much sooner. Trust your body, friends!

    Thank you for sharing!

  9. You’re a survivor! Go Colleen! *Hugs*

  10. Yay colonoscopies!

  11. Colleen, I just happened to come across your post via Twitter – by total chance – and was so surprised to see my post mentioned. Your request for prayers for my sister touched me so deeply. I’m writing this through tears in my eyes. Thank you.

  12. Hi Collen,
    That’s true that most of the people get scared from colonoscopies but they It can easily find colon cancer and also prevents from colon. Thanks for sharing your story with us and your mom is so great:)

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