Me and my Dad

Until about a month ago, colorectal cancer awareness was something I talked about with a general knowledge. You turn 50, you go get a colonoscopy. You have a family history, you turn 40, you talk to your doctor, you go for a colonoscopy. You have irregularities, you see your doctor, you probably have to go for a colonoscopy. Like I was saying, that was until about a month ago.

Last month, my father was diagnosed with Stage IIIb colon cancer.

My dad is 65, and he had his FIRST colonoscopy about a month ago. Since then, he’s had his resection surgery, attended a nutrition workshop for newly diagnosed cancer patients (at Community Medical Center in Toms River) and has already met with his oncologist to discuss the ins-and-outs of what the next six months of chemotherapy is going to look like for him.

I have spent a lot of time with my dad over the past few weeks, and I have heard him tell his diagnosis story a ‘few’ times. It goes something like this: “So, I had to get a new PCP, and my insurance sent me to this doctor who is new in my plan. I was going to see her once and then find myself a better doctor. This new doctor spent 50 minutes going over all of my past medical history with me, I was impressed…line by line…and then she comes to the part of the check list about a colonoscopy…she asked me, ‘When was your last colonoscopy?’ to which I replied, ‘Never had one’. Then this doctor starts yelling at me and pulls out her own cell phone and gives me 2 doctors to call to make an appointment! She saved my life, so I brought her a box of candy.”

Now my dad is a big guy: over 6ft, shaped like Santa Claus. This new doctor pointing and pushing my dad around was about 5ft, with a Smurf-like build to her. This is the doctor who may have just have saved my dad’s life. When I asked him why he never went for his colonoscopy at 50 – he told me that he didn’t think he HAD to because no one in his family ever had cancer, let alone colon cancer, and no other doctor told him he had to go.

Until about a month ago, colorectal cancer awareness didn’t have a personal meaning to me. Now, it has a face – my dad’s face. It’s motivating me to save even more dads out there. For more information about colorectal cancers, please go to American Cancer Society’s website Cancer.org.

And please join us at Community Medical Center’s Colorectal Awareness Symposium on Tuesday, March 22nd, where medical experts will share everything you need to know about prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer, and how simple nutritional changes can improve your health. There’s also a free fair (bring your dad – he can have is golf swing analyzed and pick up a colorectal screening kit!). For more information about both of these events, click here for more information: http://www.barnabashealth.org/Press-Center/Community-Medical-Center-News/2016/Community-Medical-Center-Hosts-Colorectal-Cancer.aspx).

And if you haven’t stop reading yet, please take this survey about colorectal cancer https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TKZ7QGQ .

Still reading? Here are other helpful links:
http://healthlibrary.barnabashealth.org/34,BCOLO1
http://healthlibrary.barnabashealth.org/34,16385-1
http://healthlibrary.barnabashealth.org/35,FAQColorectalCancer
http://healthlibrary.barnabashealth.org/42,ColorectalCancerRisk

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