Down the Lane: What are you afraid of?

This week as I was preparing for a colonoscopy, I was brought back to the night we found out my mother had colon cancer.

All five of her children nervously sat in the hospital room to be briefed by her surgeon as to what the outcome was. He not only told us she had colon cancer but it had progressed to the point she would not have long to live.

He then looked at each one of us, pointed his finger and said, “I want you, you, you, you and you, to get scheduled for a colonoscopy as soon as possible.”

Since then, I thought it was the perfect timing to drive home the message that colonoscopies are important. We all listened and have all had colonoscopies as they came due.

I have learned through having stage four cancer of another kind and doing some genetic testing that colon cancer and breast cancer are the two types of cancer most commonly passed on to your family. I have warned my daughters.

My mother’s side of the family has been stricken with cancer. I lost a brother this summer to lung cancer. I believe blood cancers such as non-Hodgkin, Hodgkin, leukemia and other blood cancers are also genetically related. Three in my family have this type of cancer, which makes me think this is true.

I learned that colon cancer is the easiest one to cure if treated early enough. If you have never had a colonoscopy and are 50 or older, you need to have a colonoscopy every five years unless otherwise specified by your doctor.

While we are all afraid of something, I am so surprised to hear there are some people afraid to find out about their health. A colonoscopy is a simple procedure that does not take long. The day before, you do a prep. You can do this in the convenience of your bathroom. I would suggest having a good book to read because you will be sitting on the toilet for a good part of the evening. Some preps are different than others; which one you use is between you and your doctor.

The day of the procedure you are required to have someone drive you to and from the hospital and to be in the hospital while you are having the procedure. The procedure itself does not take long.

Why not find out now instead of later? Waiting makes no sense to me. It could be because cancer is prevalent in my family. The doctor put the fear in us on that long ago night and told us the importance of early detection that makes us more vigilant. Even if it has taken up residence in your body like my stage four non-Hodgkin had done in me. Cancer treatment has come a long way. I am still writing these columns. Only a few years back, this was not likely to happen.

If you have not had a colonoscopy, do not wait any longer to become brave and call to schedule one. Hopefully, this column will inspire someone will take the next step and have this done.

I am one who would rather know what is going on with my body than not know. It helps me to begin to get my affairs in order and enjoy the times of my life more. Sure, I still have fears like everyone else, but I try not to let them overtake me.

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active at First United Methodist Church and Towne and Country Homemakers.