Get Uncomfortable

No one wants to talk about things that are uncomfortable. The longer I’ve lived with diabetes, the less uncomfortable I’ve gotten with needles, blood and super “personal” questions. (Just to be clear, I’m still not comfortable with needles… I doubt I will ever be.) I blog about living with diabetes a lot, but I don’t blog about my colon very much ever. Which is surprising because I’ve been living with the knowledge that I’m at risk for colon cancer longer than I’ve been living with diabetes. To some extent everyone is, but my father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at age 46.

Dad was considered being an average-risk individual, so his first colonoscopy wasn’t recommended until he turned 50. As you might know, 50 was the last birthday he celebrated with us. A routine health screening at his second job set off a series of events that lead to his diagnosis and ensuring fight with cancer. Stage 4 is advanced and the estimated timeline from the doctors put his cancer as undiagnosed for potentially as long as a decade.

I have an annual physical with my newish doctor scheduled for the same week that I turn 25 (this week, if you’re keeping track) and I already have a list of things to talk with him about, topping the list happens to be the uncomfortable topic of my colon and how my dad’s health affects my timeline for preventative screenings.

March happens to be Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Good timing?

We often put off things that make us uncomfortable. Let’s face it, being uncomfortable adds up to no fun. But I’d rather have the uncomfortable conversations and the uncomfortable tests… I’d rather the people I love do too and than catch a serious problem too late.

The Cleveland Clinic has a page on colon cancer here.

While we’re talking medical stuff, I had a student contact me and ask for me to share her survey regarding diabetes and future pregnancy. So if you’re a lady with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, who has never been pregnant, could you take a few minutes and help her out? Here’s a link to her survey.

The Bow Tie

For nearly as long as I can remember, my dad would comment on how cool it would be to have a REAL bow tie. He once said that he thought being able to tie a bow tie was a skill that classy men had and seemed to be a dying art.

My dad didn’t own a bow tie when I was a kid. As my dad’s 50th birthday approached (January 28, 2011) I was in full-scale wedding planning mode and decided that I wanted to give my dad that opportunity to be the man in the tuxedo, tying a real bow tie.

I searched a few stores and ended up in the men’s department at Macy’s. They had a wide selection of bow ties, including the classic, black satin bow tie. The cashier asked me while ringing up the bow tie, “does he know how to tie this?” He didn’t know who it was for, what it meant or any of the back story but I answered, “He will.”

Dad’s surprise party 50th birthday party had to be changed from a surprise party in Ohio to a planned party at my parent’s home in Pennsylvania because my dad’s cancer treatments were taking a toll on him, making travel tough. For his birthday, I gave my dad his bow tie and a link to a how to video on YouTube.

I’ll never forget that smile when he opened his bowtie

A week or so after his birthday, I received an email from my dad with several in-progress photos of him tying the bow tie. Continue reading

My dad

Father’s Day was a little rough. My father has been in the hospital for two weeks now. I thought about him all day, but we didn’t go visit. When I called, he didn’t feel much like talking.

My dad is quite a man and he’s been through a lot. When my dad was 16, he lost his own father. Even though he never really talked about losing his dad, I know that in many ways, it affected how he related to all three of his children.

When I first learned how to drive, he decided that I should at least know how to drive a stick shift vehicle. He took me for a drive in my brother’s little 5-speed car. We left our neighborhood and kind of went exploring on back roads where I could practice shifting gears, stopping, starting, etc. He didn’t have a clue where we were, and neither did I, when all of a sudden we came around a curve and were headed down a steep, curvy road that made me panic. He took a hold of the gearshift and said, “clutch when I tell you to.” So I clutched and he shifted from the passenger seat until we were back on normal roads.

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