Monday, June 9, 2008

My Story - Symptoms

My side is aching today, I'm pretty sure it's my left ovary that has flared up for some reason.

Taking a lot of prescription medicine without drinking much water can cause a mean urinary tract infection.

The way I found out I had cancer was blood in the stool after I went number two - and for many years.

And why do I say all of this?

Because it could save your life, or someone's that you know.

This past week, I've been processing my weekend at Lake George, New York and how to describe what I experienced on this blog. I was honored to fly to upstate New York to meet 12 other young colon cancer survivors and take photos for the 2009 Colondar.

I've debated writing in detail about my feelings that came up such as pride for being a cancer survivor, relief about meeting others who could relate, or anxiety about the looming thought of recurrence that I try to brush off most days.

But what I have chosen to focus on today is the inspiration it gave me to spread the word about colon cancer and my experience. I've been quiet about it for the most part, but I was woken up to how many lives I could help save just by telling my story - both in the physical and spiritual sense.

The reason I underwent such an aggressive treatment when I was diagnosed was because I didn't say anything when I started seeing blood in the stool. I was royally embarrassed which led to me being royally sick. Nobody likes to talk about going poop - or at least what happens when they go. I was in high school when I started noticing a lot of blood, and the least thing I was going to do was bring it up. I thought the blood would just go away.

Nobody likes to discuss when something is going wrong with their bodies - in an embarrassing area. Bowels are off-limits unless joking about farting or telling peeing your pants stories. Girls hate talking about their female problems just as much as guys won't discuss their prostates. But what it comes down to is when there's something wrong - tell a doctor. It's worth it to get it checked out.

Maybe nothing is wrong and things will settle down in a few days. But maybe something is wrong. I was too young for my symptoms to be colon cancer, just as you're too ______ for your symptoms to be _____________.

more of my story to be continued....