Colon Cancer- A Personal Experience {plus a giveaway}

I hope you’ll stay with me as I do something on this site that I don’t do very often- get personal!  I’d like to share an experience that happened to my family a few years back with the hopes it will help even just one of you who might be reading.

Uncle Chip 2

This is my uncle Chip and his family. Chip is my mom’s younger brother. He is the only boy born into a family of 11 kids! (Can you imagine being the lone boy with TEN sisters!?!?!)  I grew up living right around the corner from my grandparents house, and I have great memories of hanging out with my uncle before he grew up and moved to Seattle. {And I use the term “grew up” loosely.} :) As a young adult, he had a super cool jeep and he would take me and my sisters for rides in muddy fields that would kick up mud everywhere! I also remember laughing with him (much to my mom’s dismay) as he fed my little sister cat food… on more than one occasion!

Chip is the ultimate prankster! I think living in a house full of girls had to present him with some great opportunities to play practical jokes, and all that practice made him a master. Even as an adult, it seemed like me and my cousins were on an eternal quest to play the ultimate prank on him. Often before we could even plot our attack, he would look at us square in the face and say his famous quote, “Revenge times seven”, meaning whatever we did to him, we could expect a return that was seven times as harsh. Needless to say, aside from small annoyances, I don’t think we ever got him. His threat was always enough to scare me off!

uncle chip 3

Chip met and married my aunt Tiffany. Their wedding reception will go down in history as my favorite reception of all time! I was 12 and Tiffany had a lot of cute brothers. And there was dancing. Enough said.

Chip and Tiffany started their family with a beautiful little girl, Audrey. A few years later, their cute son Henry was born. Their small, beautiful family was now complete.

Uncle Chip 1

But you know how life has a way of handing you surprises? Some surprises are wonderful and exciting. Other surprises…not so much.  Just days after his son Henry was born, Chip was diagnosed with stage 4 color cancer and was given only 6 weeks to live.  He was only 38 years old.

Our family members and close friends rallied around him and his young family. We prayed like we had never prayed before- asking our Heavenly Father to extend Chip’s life so his children would have a chance to get to know him. Chip took part in some crazy cancer treatments and he gave a good fight. His strength gave me hope, it strengthened my faith and it filled me with a new admiration and love for him.

He lived his life to the fullest, not wasting a single day to make memories with his family and show them how much he loved them. In May of 2007 they went on a 3 week roadtrip in an RV and visited all of Chip’s siblings. The week he spent with our family in Arizona will never be forgotten. He returned home to Washington on a Thursday and told his wife, “This is the greatest vacation I have ever had; it is the best time of my life.”

Two days later, at the young age of 42, my practical joke-playing uncle Chip passed away in his home, surrounded by his family and friends.

The reason behind me telling you this is two-fold:

First, I still think about him and his family all the time. Writing my thoughts and sharing them publicly is my way of making sure his memory is not ever forgotten.

Second, I can’t help but wonder how differently things would have been had his colon cancer been detected earlier, before it was too late. And so I wanted to take a minute today to tell each of you just how important and LIFE-SAVING early detection is. And also how easy it is to get tested for it!

It’s Colon Cancer month and I’ve partnered with Myriad Genetics to help draw attention to a genetic test that allows people to see if they carry the gene for colon cancer.

The cool thing about the screening is that it’s a simple blood test that identifies if you carry the gene for certain types of colon cancer.  If you do have the gene, you know from a younger age that you should be getting colonoscopies more frequently to prevent anything from happening in the future.  Colon Cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer in the U.S., yet it doesn’t have to be. It’s more than 90% preventable.

To help drum up a little excitement and kick you into gear, I’m co-hosting a fabulous giveaway- take a look!

giveaway

Several bloggers have joined together for this giveaway, but each of us have a flat screen to give away- not one of us, ALL of us!

Here’s the bottom line…we want you to get screened and we wondered how to get that point across. We all spend time in front of so many “screens” (computer, iPad, phone) and we wanted this giveaway to be BIG. So to keep Colon Cancer screening at the forefront of your mind, we’re giving away a flat screen TV!!

We know you’re busy, but Colon Cancer can be prevented! So take some time to find out if you’re at risk. If it turns out you’re at risk, knuckle down and get a colonoscopy!

This giveaway is being run on Facebook- Click HERE to ENTER

Please visit TodaysMama.com for 8 more chances to win!

Stephanie
Wife, mom of 5, and creator of Somewhat Simple, Stephanie has a passion to create and inspire. She is an Orange County transplant who is now enjoying life in Phoenix, AZ. She enjoys traveling, shopping, organizing, cooking and creating simple projects for her home and family.
Stephanie
Just a couple more days to enter- HURRY!!!! http://t.co/vIGlkk6ixt http://t.co/yZDJf4qjqH - 4 hours ago
Stephanie
Stephanie

Latest posts by Stephanie (see all)

Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this. My nephew died at 25 from colon cancer. His mother died at 48 from colon cancer, but she was first diagnosed at 28. My brother had it when he was 30….and those are only a few stories from my family. We have Lynch Syndrome (I am free and clear) and it continues to take precious people away from us. It is all about testing and prevention. I hope at least ONE person will take heed from your post and get themselves tested.

    Hope

    • Thanks for your comment Hope. I’m sorry to hear about your losses. I feel like I hear of more and more YOUNG people diagnosed with this disease- so very sad!

      • Shawn Clark says:

        thanks for this article, i have also faced lots of cases of colon cancer so only way to get rid out of it to just prevention

  2. Did your Uncle have any symptoms before he was given this terrible diagnosis? Wow so young! Terrible.

    • He did, which is why he went to the Dr. in the first place. But unfortunately with Colon Cancer, and pain or irritation you may start to feel usually means it is too late. Which is why early detection is SO important! Don’t wait!

  3. Thank you for sharing the story of your Uncle Chip, My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer a little over 2 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank my Heavenly Father for allowing us to still have time with her. She is now in remission and doing well. She sees the doctor every two weeks for preventive measures to keep the cancer away. The doctors told us she wouldn’t survive. She has amazed all of her doctors as well as all of us. I’m not sure how long she will continue to be with us but I know everyday is a gift. Thank you for reminding all of us to get screened for colon cancer. I think had my mother gone in at age 50 to be screened, cancer may not have been a factor but then again we will never know. I turn 40 in a few short years and have to get tested then because of my mother’s diagnosis. Not something I look forward to but if it allows me the chance to prevent cancer, remain cancer free and continue to make memories with my beautiful little girl and amazing husband then it’s worth the trip to the doctor.

  4. My Dad has always been a healthy man, routine check-ups, a must.He went to a yearly physical and they set him up for his colonoscopy. That one looked good so the doc said, “come back in 3 years”. Thankfully, my Dad didn’t follow doctors orders, on that one. He had forgotten they said 3 years and went back the next year. He was diagnosed with stage 3C colon cancer. His team was awesome! My Dad, healthy as a horse, went into the hospital for his first surgery ever. Within 6 Weeks…chemo. I’d never seen him so weak and so strong. He is 5 years in remission. I’m so thankful my Dad wasn’t afraid of a simple test that he got to sleep through. I’m still working on my in laws. They don’t see my dads experience as a warning. I try. Hopefully, they’ll listen to my kids…

    • WOW! What a blessing your dad went in when he did- that is truly amazing! Congrats on his remission- I hope he stays that way forever!!! :) Thanks for stopping by and sharing this comment, I appreciate it!

  5. This made me tear up for two reasons. The first is for your Uncle Chips family. I have an 18 month old daughter and a 4 month old son and the thought of knowing I couldn’t be around to watch them grow up devastates me. Stories like these really puts life in perspective. The second is the first death that impacted my life was my Grandpa who passed from colon cancer when he was 62 on Feb 2, 2009. There have been a few generations in my family who passed from this cancer and fortunately my family has been more proactive on getting checked for it sooner. I am so sorry to hear about your family’s loss.

  6. Alicia Chafin says:

    My daddy died from colon cancer 2 months after my daughter (his first grandchild) was born. He was only 56. It has now been 10years, but I still miss him like crazy. With early detection he might still be here with us. Thank you for bringing attention to this!

  7. My dad passed away March 10 from this terrible disease. He was 54. He was diagnosed August 09 with colon cancer stage 4 after going in for what we thought was gallbladder problems. He was not proactive about getting checked yearly for physicals and labs, much less a colonsocopy. He fought this terrible disease for three years before it spread to his bones and finally his kidneys. For anyone reading this please please explain to your loved ones the importance of this. I am 32 and I have a 22 year old sister. We both accept what has happened and believe there is a reason for everything. I have a 16 year old brother who has been torn apart by this. He will never know our father completely. My childrend will never know their PawPaw. Please talk to your loved ones, please!

  8. Jennifer says:

    I lost my mom to colon cancer 5 years ago. I pushed my dr to let me get an warly colonoscopy which was clear and I will continue to get check on a regular basis. If anyone out there is afraid to get one – don’t be. It is painless and everyone is very professional. Thank you for shedding some light on this disease which claims way too many loved ones.

  9. Allison K. says:

    Wow, Chip’s story made me teary-eyed. I can envision him feeding cat food to your sister, that made me giggle so hard! I can hear him saying, “Times Seven!” And then looking at that precious picture of him and his children. Thank you for sharing his story.

    BTW: When I turned 50 last year I had a colonoscopy done even though colon cancer does not run in our family. Breast cancer does, but still, I wanted to be sure. Colon cancer scares me because of stories like Chip’s.

  10. Thank you for sharing Chip’s story. My mother was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 42 in 1991. Unfortunately, while she had been vigilant with colonoscopies sometimes as frequently as every six months, in 1995, they found the colon cancer had metastasized to her brain. She died two years later after a long, hard fight.

    I knew I should be screened starting 10 years before her age of diagnosis, so at 31 I went for my first colonoscopy and I’ve had three total. I want to tell people who are afraid to go have this screening that it’s not bad! I remember my mom telling me about it and I made a comment about how it’s embarrassing (hey, I was 18; everything was embarrassing!) and she said, “Well, in this case, you could actually die of embarrassment if you don’t go!” Seriously, if you’re a woman, you’ve probably gone through worse and/or more embarrassing medical experiences than this! Please get screened!

    At 33, I was diagnosed with endometrial carcinoma. My doctors were particularly interested in the apparent connection between uterine and colon cancer and I recently met with a genetic counselor who recommended testing through Myriad Genetics, so imagine my surprise to see them mentioned here!

  11. My dad was diagnosed at age 44/45. He died Feb 2012 at 49. He had polyps at age 34/35, but never had a colonoscopy for another 10 years. That’s when they discovered he had stage III colorectal cancer. I’ve had a great aunt and great grandmother who have had colon cancer also. It’s so sad that this disease is one of the leading cancers that kills, but is highly preventable if caught early. Most people don’t know they have it until it’s progressed to Stage II or III because symptoms don’t appear until then. I’d love to have the genetic testing done to see if I carry the gene.

  12. I am sorry for your loss. Your uncle sounds like he was an amazing man. I had a co-worker whose father passed away to colon cancer one fall. A couple months later, she was diagnosed with it as well and passed away that April. Thanks for spreading the word about genetic screening. I bet it will save some lives!

  13. First of all I am so sorry about chip, he seems like such a wonderful person. So sorry for your loss. I am shocked to hear about this disease, because I think I may have it. I was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 42, 6 yrs ago, I had a hard time getting a colonoscopy or even being seen because I was brushed off by drs. Who said, “well your too young for colon cancer”. I had all the symptoms including bleeding. Finally I was able to get a colonoscopy, and I felt stupid even then because everyone kept saying they were sure it was nothing. Well I had colon cancer and luckily I had my colonoscopy, I had a cancerous poly that had not spread (but was going to very soon), and they were able to remove it without any further problems. If anyone has symptoms: rectal pressure, bleeding, change in stools please see a doctor and tell them you want a colonoscopy, if you know something is wrong keep at it. Thank you for this site.

  14. This is such a sad story Steph. I am so sorry to read about your uncle’s story. I know Becky Higgins from Project Life also recently lost one of her brothers to colon cancer as well. Cancer is terrible. Sorry for your loss! Angie xo

  15. Firm believer in getting screened. Just a day and price of mind. I’ve lost many friends all could’ve been prevented and had a longer life with there family. This is a great idea to motivate so many to remind all of us to have a colonoscopy. My was just last November and it was not as smooth as when I had my first one at 43. But that Dr. Found a heart defect that truly saved my life. My uncomfortable time was short and it also revealed my left rib was broken, causing my system trouble in my small intestine. Sometimes a colonoscopy can detect other problems and my heart was filled with clots from the atrial regurgitation. Go now, it can truly save your life!

  16. Such a devastating disease cancer is, it strikes with no rhyme or reason, it is so important to get tested! Thank you for sharing about your uncle Chip, if it encourages just one person to get tested, I am sure he would be very happy and proud!