The ONE Simple Test That Could Have Saved My Father’s Life

This is for you, who ever is reading this:  A message from the heart.

It is true there are different levels of grief. I see it in myself as I move through the stages distinctly one by one and sometimes a swirl of them all at once. For the last few weeks I have felt such a deep immobilizing sadness for the loss of my father. He passed away peacefully a few weeks ago, taking his final breaths with his head in my arms, and holding my sister's hand. As many of you know who have been following me, he has been fighting metastatic rectal cancer for nearly 2 years. As the cancer made it’s final transition to the pancreas, my father’s descent was faster than I would have ever imagined. All of this could have been averted with one simple test.

He was not only the best father a daughter could wish for, but also my best friend and closest confidant. There were many blessings in the end, but it doesn’t make the sense of loss any less. As they say, there are specific states of grief that one goes through in loss: Sadness, anger, guilt, etc..all in varying order. It has been interesting to watch with my own bird’s eye view on myself. In lieu of the grief that has persisted for a few weeks, a new twist of emotion cropped up and overcame me this morning as I awoke. It was a whirl of deep ANGER.

“How could cancer take my dad from me?”

"How dare you cancer!"

"F^$#^ you cancer!"

Yes, at 5:59 am that was me. I was livid and P’d off at cancer. And then it flipped. I got REALLY angry with his Doctor (and for good reason). You see my father’s doctor never had him get a colonoscopy. That should be considered mal-practice in my view. My father (before cancer) was amazingly strong, healthy and looked about 10 years younger than he really was. At 76 (see photo above) he still had a 4 pack for tummy muscles and was buffed! He jogged, practiced yoga, sailed and swam daily. No pot belly on him, no way. He was so active and just had a pure, enjoyable view on life. He emitted a certain light, that was just him.

The doctors told him his health was that of a 45-year old man, not 76 and he had nothing to worry about and didn’t need to worry about getting a colonoscopy since he had a sigmoidoscopy a few years prior that came out clear. Little did they know that rectal adenocarcinoma was already beginning to brew in his rectum silently on the inside while he looked so healthy on the outside.

To be honest, this message is not only about my dad today, it is about you and your loved ones. A colonoscopy can literally avert colon and rectal cancer. Typically cancer in the colon/rectum begins as a precancerous polyp. This is removable and can eliminate the problem altogether by eliminating the pre-cancerous polyp that contains problematic cells that are on their way to developing cancer.

My father's surgeon even admitted that had the polyp (that would become a tumor) been identified in a colonoscopy the 2 years prior to his diagnosis and thus removed, the rectal cancer would have been averted. It’s a hard one to swallow in the inquiry of “what if”?

So, take it from a huge lesson in my life: Have you and your loved ones had their routine colonoscopy? If not, just do it. It could save your life and a loved one's life too. Literally.

May you and your loved one's always be well & thrive,

 

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