Monday, March 1, 2010

here's the poop... i mean scoop


(God bless you Freddie Mercury for legitimizing all us fat bottom girls.)

Booty, Ass, Butt, Derriere, Arse, Behind, Buns, Buttocks, Hind End, Keister, Posterior, Prat, Fanny, Rear End, Tooshie, Backside, Bottom, Hindquarters, Tush, Rump, Tail Rear, Bum, Can, Heiney... Everyone has their favorite and we have no problems saying any of these... but talk about what it does and people will run out of the room like rats jumping from a sinking ship. 


I've got news for you... everyone poops.  It's a very good thing. And if things in the bathroom aren't going *smoothly*,  that's a very bad thing. As much as we'd like to think otherwise, we all know what happens when we ignore bad things...they get worse.  


March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  A few years ago this wouldn't have meant too much to me.  It probably wouldn't have even registered on the scale of my chaotic life.  I mean... every month is some kinda Awareness Month any more, right?  Well, some of you who visit here know my younger brother died in January.  What you may not know is that he died of colorectal cancer.  My brother was the healthiest dying man I knew.  The only thing wrong with him was the cancer (and the havoc it wreaked on his body).  He was diagnosed with advanced (Stage 4) cancer after his initial visit and colonoscopy during the winter of 2007.  Freaking amazing.  He had just turned 42.


Chances are you know someone who has felt the cold hand of colorectal cancer on their lives.  Colorectal cancer is the second highest cause of cancer-related deaths in the US.  The American Cancer Society's estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the US for 2009 are:

  •  106,100 new cases of colon cancer (52,010 in men, 54,090 in women)
  •  40,870 new cases of rectal cancer (23,580 in men, 17,290 in women)
These are NEW cases.  I find it shocking that only 55% of the public participate in colorectal cancer screening. Really?? 50,000 people die from colorectal cancer every year.  



Most people with early colorectal cancer have no symptoms. Symptoms generally appear with more advanced disease states. This is why screening tests, such as colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy, are so vital.  Through early diagnosis, 90% of those diagnosed with colorectal cancer can be cured.


Because of Phil's diagnosis, my risk of colorectal cancer increased greatly.  I have had two colonoscopies since March 2007 and my next one is scheduled in a couple of weeks.  (I am actually participating in a clinical study regarding different bowel cleansing preparations.)  I don't know how many you have to have before you're considered a "pro", but I'm feeling like I'm getting pretty close.  (Kinda like birthing babies... I've had five, not a large number out of context, but I'm certainly in the "expert" league in this category.)  I can tell you it's not near as bad as people think.  I won't elaborate on the experience here because there is a wealth of information on the web but I'd be happy to answer any questions personally (ctymouse22 at gmail dot com).


Early detection is the key.  I personally know folks who have put it off for one reason or another ("They're not sticking a tube up my arse", "Just how long is that thing?!", "I don't feel comfortable talking about my bowel habits with others", "The prep is so awful", "I don't think I could go without eating for a day and a half",  and on and on...)  President Obama did the nation no favors when he elected to have a virtual colonoscopy (also known as CT colonography) instead of a traditional colonoscopy. The benefits of virtual colonoscopy over traditional are questionable. If something is found, you still have to have the traditional colonoscopy, resulting in a second procedure and a virtual colonoscopy doesn't allow you to dodge the prep bullet (your colon has to be empty for either procedure). Oh, there's also the little issue about insurance coverage... most insurance companies won't pay for it, taking that option off the table for the average American.  (And you can bet your bottom dollar, even fewer will pay after healthcare reform hits the streets.) President Obama had an opportunity to help dispel some of the bad press associated with colonoscopy. Guess, I'll just have to work extra hard to get the word out.


Here are some Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer:      
(If you have any of the following you should see your doctor.)
  • a change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
  • a feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
  • rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool (often, though, the stool will look normal)
  • cramping or abdominal (stomach area) pain
  • weakness and fatigue

Many of these symptoms are caused by other conditions... but the truth is you don't know until you've been evaluated.

Stay-tuned for my latest gastrointestinal escapades (cause you know I'll have something to say about them) and in the meantime, here's a little fun I had with Countrymouse when he had his done last year.



6 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. Thank you for all of the information. It's so important to know.

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  2. I had one at 50 and another at 55. My next will probably be at 60.
    The prep is the worst.
    People do need more reminders. Early detection is very important.

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  3. I'm so sorry about your brother. My grandmother (much older than 42) died of colon cancer, and I've always wondered if she had had a colonoscopy earlier, would she still be alive today?

    Thanks for this important, necessary reminder!

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  4. So sorry about your brother. Thanks for this post. I have been putting my little "exam" off. This was just the kick in the, well, you know, that I needed!

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  5. I love your segueway into really important information. And so sorry about your brother.

    PS: You forgot badonkadonk. lol.

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  6. I started out reading this post with a giggle. "ha ha she said ass" {it's the 7 year old in me}. Ended up in tears though. I lost my Aunt Carrol to CRC 4 years ago. Thank you for linking this on "YOU tell me Tuesday" over at my blog. THIS is the reason I do it. Okay lazy is the real reason, yet look what good can come of it.

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