I was bestowed a free entry to the Lynch Syndrome Family in May 2013, and it was certainly an entry I would gladly have refused, given the choice. Still, I had a feeling I was not going to escape “this family” which had already gotten hold of my two older siblings in 2004 and in 2012 respectively.
In 2013, I was 54 years old and had had three children. The “children” were then 2 lads aged 28 and 26, and a daughter aged 16.
Like my older brother and sister my membership was courtesy of my mother. She had died at the age of 64 with colon cancer in 1988.
In 1994, our sister came into our lives. She had been adopted back in the 1950s, lived in America, and through sheer determination, had traced my brother and I. The search brought both joy and sadness in that she never got to meet her natural mother, who had passed away six years before. We had learned that she had stayed with our mother for the first three years and half years of her life. Our mother was forced in to given her up for adoption. It was a secret she never revealed to anyone, not even us. It was through our “new” sister, that we were learned about the importance of genetics and genetic testing.
I had my first screening in 2007, a follow up in 2010. This was on the back of prompting from my sister and the usually annoying haemorrhoids. The latter was probably what spurred me on to the screening as they were becoming an uncomfortable frequent problem. The possibility of something more serious never really bothered me. After all, I was in an excellent state of fitness and felt good.
My first colonoscopy was clear. My second resulted in a polyp being removed and the 3rd colonoscopy revealed a cancerous growth in my colon and within one week I had a hemicolectomy followed by six months of chemo.
Talk about a wake-up call! All of a sudden I felt like I had gone through a heavy weight bout of twelve rounds. But like the song says “ I get knocked down, but I get up again” it’s that belief that gets you over the line.
I am convinced that this early diagnoses gave me the best possible chance of recovery. I found the experience very manageable. I kept myself busy and occupied throughout. The support I received from family and friends was resolute. They knew when to support and when to back off and give me my space. I am now having yearly colonoscopies, gastroscopy/cytology every year.
My sisters input and knowledge was vital in getting over, through and around this hurdle that cropped up in my life. Without her input, it could have been a whole different ball game.
Three things to keep in mind are…
A sense of humour gets you over a lot of hurdles.
Family and friends support is a must.
Be good to yourself.
During my treatment a fellow patient made the following observation to me…..
“One is born to live, not to prepare for life”.