In 2014, my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. Although he had turned 50 the year before and had already survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he had put off his colonoscopy. My mother convinced him to get his test one year later, even though he really didn’t want to.
His routine colonoscopy resulted in doctors discovering a blockage and he had to have a colon resectioning. It was after his surgery that we learned he had colon cancer. Over the next three years, he had aggressive chemo treatments, radiation, seed therapy, and many more surgeries. Despite having excellent medical care, he passed away in 2017. He was 54.
Although my dad didn’t survive cancer, he was able to live three more years after his diagnosis. I believe if he hadn’t had his colonoscopy and discovered his cancer when he did, he would not have lived as long as he did.
Colon cancer is now the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third most common cause of cancer deaths. More than 142,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer each year, and while 90% of them are 50 or older, colon cancer is on the rise for people in their thirties and forties. Typically, a person doesn’t get their first colonoscopy until they are fifty, unless they have a family history.
There are three things that automatically increase your risk of colon cancer- having a family history, being a carrier of the Lynch syndrome gene, or having an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s Disease. The following lifestyle changes can drastically reduce most people’s risk of colon cancer: maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet and limiting your sugar and red meats, and getting a yearly physical and blood work. If you are fifty or older, you should get a colonoscopy yearly, but if you carry a high risk of developing colon cancer, you will need to get your first one before age 50.
If you are unsure about what age you need to get your first one, consult your doctor. Consult the infographic below for more information.
Colon cancer is a difficult and often deadly disease, but if caught early, it’s treatable. Making smart lifestyle choices and getting your yearly health screenings can make a huge difference.
I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I intended to take the week of Thanksgiving off, but I did not intend to take three weeks off. Several things led to my taking three weeks off of blogging- some of them were planned, and some of them were not.
Without revealing too many details, my family has been struggling lately. Some of the struggle is due to missing my dad and grandfather and trying to navigate through grief and the holiday season. Many of you can likely relate to this. In addition, we are dealing with something else in our home. We covet your prayers, and perhaps I’ll talk about this at a later date, but for now I need to keep quiet for my family’s sake.
In the midst of all of those things, I was also diagnosed with bronchitis and pneumonia. Needless to say, I simply haven’t had the energy to blog. I apologize for my abrupt absence. I will be resuming my four-times-a-week posting schedule this week.
If most of us are honest, we will admit that we don’t have it all together. In today’s Pinterest-perfect society, we are expected to be perfectly dressed with perfect makeup, not a hair out of place, with perfectly clean, magazine worthy homes. We are expected to have a home-cooked dinner on the table every night, with perfectly dressed and perfectly behaved children.
I don’t have that; at least, not all the time. And never all at once. So, who holds us to this impossibly high standard? We do. We hold ourselves to these impossibly high standards we can never meet, but luckily, God does not.
God chose us, even though we are a long way from perfect. We don’t have it all together and God chose us anyway.
Ephesians 1:4 says “For he chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before Him.” We don’t need to be perfect; we just need Jesus. There are no perfect humans, and there don’t need to be. Jesus already fulfilled the role of the perfect human.
It’s tempting to spend all of our time trying to be perfect and live up to those impossible standards, but instead, let’s put that energy into trying to be like Jesus. He already knows we aren’t perfect and he loves us anyway.
So, today, we celebrated a “first” in our house. It’s a first that comes around once a year…or twice, if you consider the fact that my daughter doesn’t attend school in the district where I teach. Yep, you guessed it. Today was my oldest daughter’s first day of school.
If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably already seen our newly minted second grader with her “back to school” sign and toothless grin.
Most of us already take a “first day” photo of our kids, and some of us even create a sign or use a prop…
…and some of us even take a picture at the school, or in front of the school sign.
But what do you do when your school child’s almost three year old little sibling feels left out? Make them a sign, too, of course!
Little Miss was tickled pink to be a part of the photo-festivities…and we got some super cute shots to use in her yearbook someday. Her sign reads, “I’ll be here in three years!” Due to her late fall birthday, she’ll start school the fall AFTER she turns five, meaning she’ll turn six during her kindergarten year.
We even sneaked back over to the school once the traffic died down a bit to take these cute pics in front of the school buses.
It’s rare that I get a photo of the two of them where Aubrey is cooperating. Even though these two engage in a whole lot of sisterly spats, it’s clear from these pics that they really do love one another.
And that makes my heart smile.
I hope you all have a wonderful school year, even those of you who (like me) haven’t started back to school yet.
Have a wonderful week, and join us tomorrow for some more “back to school” goodness.