Life Changes in a Decade

A Decade Later

This picture depicts one of the main things that has changed in the last decade.  10 years ago I was finished with chemo, our girls were 16 and 21 and life was busy with a plethora of activities with rare moments alone with Keith.  Now he is my best friend, my sidekick, my rock.  My family is my my prized possession that keeps me going, but yesterday I was reminded that Keith is my true partner in life. We go through everything together; good, bad, and sometimes the ugly.

Cancer is a Reminder

Being a Colon Cancer survivor is an odd duck.  When someone finds out your a survivor, first question is “What kind?”  Then after the awkward answer, they usually ask, “how did you know?”  This is a little uncomfortable, but I tell them I had blood on my poop.  Then I feel my heart speed up a little and my cheeks flush because I am a little bit shy about it.  Not as many people join in on Colon Cancer Awareness as other diseases, but my doctor reminded me yesterday, it is the #2 killer.  That is crazy and scary. He went on to say that if I didn’t have blood and gone to doctor when I did; I would not be here.  That is always humbling to hear and as a stage 4 survivor a good reminder to be thankful. God knew I’d be here and survive, and now it is my job to stay healthy.

Then and Now

In 2007 when I had been seeing blood and went to doctor, scheduled a colonoscopy; was so different from anticipating a colonoscopy as a survivor 10 years later.  Read (“How it all Began”) blog post for more details on my diagnosis story.  This time I knew what to expect with the prep and went through that worst part of the procedure; the clean out, on Thursday. 😏  I went to bed that night, at least 2 pounds lighter, and drifted off to sleep. At 1:30 I woke up with the most excruciating pain in my stomach. I woke Keith and said “take me to the hospital”. Mind you, we are still living in a hotel while waiting to close on our house. So down the elevator, literally in tears, we headed to the ER. They hooked me up and started an IV and sent in a sonography tech to take a peek at my stomach. I could see the fear in Keith’s eyes as she waved the sonogram wand all over my belly. Keith kept asking, “how does it look?”  Of course she just kept telling him she is not allowed to say. Long story short, the doctor came in and said all was good on the sono and my labs only showed I was dehydrated. He said because the Lidocaine they had me drink calmed my pain, I had acid reflux. I chose lemonade (64 ounces) as my drink to mix with the prep; and the acidic nature threw my esophagus into spasm. He said those spasms are so painful that they mimic a heart attack.  Note to self; no more lemonade with my preps.

Now in Pre-op 

We were released from the hospital at 4 AM and went back to hotel and got an hour and a half of light slumber until the alarm rudely interrupted our dreams and back to the hospital for my scope. Back to bright lights, hospital gown, anesthesia interview, and that fear that creeps in waiting to hear you have a clean bill of health.  They came to get me, Keith kissed me, and off they took me to the procedure room. The nurses were so sweet but there is something about seeing all the equipment they will use on you as soon as they “knock you out” that is a bit unnerving.  The doctor came in to talk to me and while conversing he reminded me how fortunate I am to be cancer free.  Then I got the “magic milk” and next thing I knew I was waking up to Keith by my side.  Today we got good news that all is clear and clean.

Reminder

This little adventure was a reminder of a few things that have changed since I was diagnosed with cancer ten years ago.

Keith and I are empty nesters and are each other’s best friend.  We have been through so much together and don’t realize how much our love has deepened until moments like this.  I saw how scared he was in the ER and sitting with me before my colonoscopy.  We are at that place in life that we don’t know what we would do without each other. ❤️

I was always a healthy eater for the most part before I was diagnosed, but try even more since then.  Yesterday my doctor got on his “soapbox” when he was showing me my colonoscopy pics.  (Lol that it is a beautiful site to see.) 10 years ago the doctor was showing me a gnarly tumor and yesterday he said you are perfectly clean without any polyps or other abnormalities. He went on to say the US has more colon cancer than any other country. That is really sad to hear and perplexing.  He also went on to say in his opinion, it is due to pesticides, preservatives, and hormones in our food.  I 💯% agree and is the reason I choose to eat healthy and do my best to stay at an appropriate weight with diet and my favorite exercise of running; which duals as my stress relief.

Lastly, our two precious daughters are married and have families of their own.  Best of all, we have 5 beautiful granddaughters that are truly our joy.  We cannot wait to move in to our house here in East Texas and get it all ready for their fist visit!

This pic makes me smile!  These girls light up my life.❤️❤️

 

 

 

About The Author

Pamela Mcintosh

I love to run and run to stay healthy. After cancer, I started running more and run a half marathon every year. My philosophy is “It is me vs. me.” I try to avoid getting caught up on how fast my time is, but do wish I was faster. Most importantly, just thankful I am healthy.