Family.

See, I don’t mention my family or friends much on here because of wanting to respect their privacy and choices. I’ll probably never post pictures of DH either – his choice/preference and I respect that too.

The last few days I’ve been thinking about my dad and this post and life in general. Honestly, I’ve been feeling sorry for myself and focusing on this afternoon and tomorrow and working myself into a funk. There I said it.

My dad died. It’ll be 10 years next year. We expected to loose him, but not this way… I had just finished college when my dad was diagnosed with Early-onset Alzheimer’s. At the time, his neurologist had been practicing for over 15 years and Dad was the youngest patient he had ever seen.

But Dad had always been “forgetful”. Growing up, I can’t tell you how many times he forgot to pick us from some after-school activity or another. It was just him. We just worked around his memory lapses and life went on. His memory continued to worsen until his neurologist found the right drug combo. Dad went from barely remembering what you told him at breakfast to being able to follow multiple conversations (and meaningfully contribute without turning to us for forgotten details).

In Summer 2004, my siblings and I through a BBQ to celebrate our parents’ 30th wedding anniversary party. Their friends and family couldn’t believe the difference. Seeing him, “normal” again is a wonderful memory.

Life went on back home and out here in California.

Thanksgiving came and Dad didn’t eat anything. This was a surprise because my Dad loved holidays. He planned the meals a month or more ahead of time. We have the big meal at noon before my Mom (a nurse) would have to leave for her shift (3 p.m. to 11p.m.). We’d clean up while my Dad started carving up the leftovers for sandwiches and making turkey noodle soup. Not that year.

He was diagnosed with Colon Cancer that had metastasized and spread in mid-December. The day after his diagnosis, he came for hospice care.  He died Dec. 19. He was 60. Until this point, no one in his family was known to have had Colon Cancer. He was planning on setting up his first colonoscopy for early 2005.

Fast forward to 2008.

My older sister was on a business trip when she passed out while leaving the hotel with some co-workers. She was rushed to the hospital and given several transfusions. Back in California, I got a frantic call from Mom explaining the situation and asking me to go to Kansas City to stay with my sister until she was able to travel back home. Mom and younger sister were babysitting older sister’s baby and couldn’t leave their jobs.

I got her home with the KC gastroenterologist saying she probably had Crohn’s disease but he had only done a partial colonoscopy so nothing was for sure until a full one was done and everything else excluded.

You can see where this is go. My sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 tumor in her colon. She was 33. With our Dad’s history, she would have had her first colonoscopy at 35, if she hadn’t gotten sick.

My other siblings and I were all told to get tested immediately. My brother and I were both free of polyps so were cleared for the next 5 years. Our other sister had polyps so is tested every two.

Prepping for a colonoscopy is not fun. Anyone who says it is obviously has issues. I survived it once in 2008. The time has come for my next test. So here I am. Today is prep day. I’m on clear liquids until after the test. This afternoon, I start drinking the solution that will clear me out. It’s horrible, but it’s worth it.

As my appointment day has gotten closer, I’ve been thinking more about my Dad. I know his death affected many people. His friends and older family members who had all been avoiding getting tested signed up. There won’t be any monuments, but, if one person was helped, it’s a comforting thought. 

If you’ve been putting off important health screenings. Please, do it.

Tomorrow is my day and it will suck, but it’ll be over before I know it. Right?

 

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