Mission Statement: Get Checked – End Colorectal Cancer!
A colon cancer survivor since 2006, I set out to alleviate the fear of life saving screenings with humor and a simple message – “Get Your Butt Checked!” Since then my pre-cancer and cancer awareness education and activities have encouraged hundreds of men and women to get screened for colorectal cancer. I set out to join hands across the country with other colon cancer survivors, families with colon cancer history, cancer organizations, celebrities and community leaders, to campaign for this message and to promote access to resources to further my goal of helping end colorectal cancer. This journey led me to Tucson to be near the work of some of the top disease and cancer prevention specialists and educators in our country.
In May of 2006, I had visited my doctor who asked why I hadn’t had my colonoscopy yet. Dr. Aikin had given me a referral months earlier. I had a symptom all this time. My father had colon cancer and my grandmother passed from it.
My physician wasn’t happy with me to say the least and told me to get in immediately. Of course, this time I got my bottom right in for my colonoscopy. When colon cancer runs in your family you don’t wait for the magic “50” to get one.
I knew nothing about colon cancer and deep down didn’t want to know. I was nervous. “What if I had it?” I asked my best friend Mo Lukens. She said simply, “Then you’ll deal with it.”
I had a cancerous polyp. After the initial shock, I did what my girlfriend said. I dealt with it. Dr. Aikin set me up with surgeon Dr. Mozia and told me I was in good hands. After surgery, Dr. Mozia visited me in my room at Lutheran Medical Center. “You’re home free”, he said. Those were the sweetest words I will ever hear!
During the follow-up, my surgeon asked if I had heard Katie Couric was coming to town. I’m going to have to meet her, I thought to myself. Her husband had died of colon cancer at 42. She was seen on The Today Show getting her colonoscopy so others would do the same. I attended the fundraiser lunch for Rocky Mountain Cancer Center and filled out an “ask Katie a question” card: “Why are so many men and women under the age of 50 getting colorectal cancer and what can we do about it?” I asked.
Get the word out about early detection, she said. Bingo. That’s exactly the response I was looking for. And with your help, that’s what I’m going to do.
So get your “butt checked” and pass it on! If you get nervous, call me. I’ll even drive you there!