February 29th, 2008

A blog I found through Candy’s Corner has touched me deeply. Jen Ballantyne is dealing with an illness that may take her life rather soon, and she has a young son. This alone is enough to make one weep, but her beauty of spirit and caring just blows me away. I know that if you visit The Comfy Place you will want to return time and again.

I wanted to tell her how she inspired me to seek more health care for some issues I am having, so I sent her the following letter:

I found a lump in my breast. Okay. Took care of it. In the hands of the medicals now. I had been having problems with my bottom system of late, and it isn’t clearing up. So I am now in the system to wait for an appointment with a surgeon, who will first order a colonoscopy, then perhaps, if nothing is found, clean up the taggy bits on the outside that are causing me such discomfort. I wouldn’t have pursued it but for you. So, thank you. I might want to freak out a little at the procedures, but not until I have to. At least the wheels are in motion. I will blog about this soon, and would like to link to you as my inspiration. There is an organization here in Canada that helps women look better to feel better. I hope you have something like this too. You are in my heart.

She wrote me back this morning. I was humbled because she is in the midst of chemo treatments, making time to be with her beloved son, Jack, and updating her blog to keep her readers apprised of her situation. I was a little bit horrified, thinking “No, no, don’t waste all your energy and words on me, take care of yourself”. I want to share what she wrote back to me, and then I hope you will visit her blog, fall in love with her, and offer her the kind of support that she so freely gives others.

Hi there my friend, I have only just read your email and I am so proud of you for getting things that may seem rather uncomfortable or even embarrassing done. Go You!!! If I help women to face their fears and get what could possibly be early symptoms checked then I have done something valuable with my time whilst on this planet.

A colonoscopy should, in my opinion, be part of our general check ups, you have your pap smear done, your mammograms done, I truly believe you should be offered a colonoscopy during this time and while you are still ‘young’. I mean I was only 34 when I got diagnosed, by the size and damage of the tumor I obviously had it for quite a while before it was found so early 30’s is possible to get bowel cancer. It just is, I am living proof of that. Also, in my humble opinion, it is getting younger, people younger and younger are being diagnosed as having early stages of bowel cancer. Even in the time I have been a patient with my Oncologist, which started 5 years ago roughly, I have seen changes. Whilst it was a shock to most in the profession to see me there being treated for bowel cancer, nowadays, someone of the age I was then is not such a shock, my Oncologist tells me when someone young has been in or coming in, just says to me 21, or 28 or whatever, but the whatever is young.

Anyway my dear, good on you and I think it’s brilliant that you are going to write about it, honestly the more exposure (pardon the pun) we can give this the better. A colonoscopy, is not much of an ordeal, it really isn’t, I mean they put you out for it, so the only thing you know about is waking up to sandwiches and a cup of tea. You may have a bit of wind, or someone else beside you may have, lol, but you all just have to laugh because that is just natural, the nurses don’t even bat any eyelid they are so very used to it. So usually there isn’t any pain, it’s very quick and the beauty of it is, if there is anything there that looks suspicious, we have the technology to fix it. You don’t have to die, you can be treated or have it scraped or whatever, but you can actually live by having one of these things done early enough. So congratulations to you, I think it’s a wonderful, positive message you will be sending out to folks. I also want to wish you all the best for your procedure and if they do find anything at all please feel free to email me and talk if you need to. The beauty of this is though that the chances of them finding it early enough are so much better than had you waited because you felt a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing. Then if they don’t find anything you will feel wonderful because you are healthy. As you said too, get all the bits and pieces that are causing you discomfort fixed up, I assume you’re talking about haemorrhoids or something similar which most women get, especially if they’ve ever had a child and they are irritating, no not life threatening, but nevertheless very uncomfortable and can be terribly painful. Anyway good luck to you, may it all go well and may you be as healthy as it is possible to be. Take good care and thank you for writing to me. Take Care Hugs Jen Ballantyne.

And yes, I am mighty uncomfortable having a device inserted into my backside while it is feeling so delicate, especially since I won’t have the bonus of seeing my farts. I guess I will just have to add my own tune to the wind section of the symphony without the visuals.


To add to the waaaay too much information department, the taggy bits are not exactly haemorrhoids, I don’t know how to describe them except they hurt and bleed. They seem to have erupted along the scar of my episiotomy from long ago, when I gave birth.

When I noticed a low grade feeling of nausea, but not stomach nausea, further down, I decided I would see if these two items were linked. I have been doing self-healing techniques, and have noticed an improvement in my symptoms, but still will carry through on all of the medical protocol.

So I guess this blog can serve as a countdown on how long it takes Canada’s health care system to service a medical concern. I still do not have my appointment for mammography, although I can’t even feel my lump anymore.

Let the healing begin!

This entry was posted on Friday, February 29th, 2008 at 10:24 am and is filed under bloggy things, the mundane. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

19 Responses to “Inspired to take my butt to the doctor”

Marie Says:

Colon and bladder cancer run in both sides of Brad’s family. Both of his mom’s parents died of bladder cancer, and now his dad is fighting it. His sister, who is younger than he is, has to have pre-cancerous polyps removed from her colon every year. Brad gets 100% free medical care through the VA. And yet I cannot get him to have a colonoscopy.

Marie’s last blog post..Life in Da ‘Hood, Yo

Ree Says:

Good for you. Colon cancer in both sides of my family (paternal grandfather, maternal grandmother).

I cry for Jen everytime I read her site.

Ree’s last blog post..Hot Pic(ture)s

lceel Says:

I had my first colonoscopy a couple of 3.5 years ago. My doctor says the nurses are still laughing about whatever the hell it was I was talking about while in that ‘twilight’ state they put you into. Which, of course, I don’t remember and no one will tell me anything about. Except that they’re still laughing. This is the same group of people that did the job when the stent was put in my heart 2.25 years ago. Apparently, I took up right where I left off with the colon thing. Because they put you into the same kind of state for an angiogram as they do for the colonoscopy – and when I’M in that state, I guess I don’t stop talking. Which THEY think is very funny. HUMPH!!

lceel’s last blog post..Strange day

Candy Says:

Jen’s story is almost too painful to read. And my own struggles with my bowel hit me in the face every time I read her blog. (I should probably change the syntax of that sentence, but ah well.)

Anyway, a colonoscopy is nothing. The prep ahead of time sucks big time, but you can get through it.

Good luck, I hope everything turns out ok. Keep us posted.

Candy’s last blog post..Look! It’s Heidi!

Old Knudsen award whining commenter Says:

Sincerity and health issues aside (as is my usual) you should really have a Knudsen warning for extreme blogger TMI.
I have some health issues I am unable to resolve, to see how others conduct themselves with strength and grace with much worse problems than mine is an inspiration I wish Jen the best and hope that you are helped with yer Uranus.

Old Knudsen award whining commenter’s last blog post..Prince Harry Fights The Taliban

Loralee Says:

I just closed a musical and one of my castmates was diagnosed with colon cancer at 23 years old. She has a year old son.

She is doing well now, but geeze. It’s so scary.

Loralee’s last blog post..Sideblog:About ?Lost? this week?.

witchypoo Says:

Marie: While he has his head up his arse, tell him to take a look and see if there is anything that needs tending.
Ree: Again. My policy is no sense worrying unless you are sure you have something to worry about. That includes the procedure. I’ll worry about it when I’m told I must. Until then, being proactive makes the most sense. Jen’s spirit inspires me, even though her situation is very sad.
Iceel: Next time you are in such an altered state, smuggle a tiny digital recorder in. Then you will know what they are laughing about. Or if they are just pulling your pissah.
Candy: The prep ahead? Please don’t say enema.
And? I think it was your site I read about Jen. I will edit accordingly.
Knudsey: Warning posted. Do you have a button for that?
Loralee: Wow, Jen so wasn’t fooling when she said they are getting younger all the time. The good news is that caught in time, there are many more options available.

RaeJane Says:

Could it be fissures?
Have you done research on them?

TMI warning – they are gawd awful and I have had serious issues even before having kids.

RaeJane’s last blog post..eye luv ewe

Jenny Says:

Okay, I hopped on over and read a little Jen. Cried my face off all the way over to see Dr Voodoo today (today was my turn to get stabbed full of holes). That breaks my heart to think of her, thinking of her son and how he’ll react.

You both inspire me to take care of things NOW rather than letting anything go unchecked. I’ll have hubs do a breast exam tonight!

And I’m unfamiliar with Canadian health care… why the LONG ARSE wait for a mammogram for you??????

Jenny’s last blog post..Dr Voodoo

witchypoo Says:

RaeJane: I read up on the links you sent me, and just about hurled. But it doesn’t sound like what I have.
Jenny: I think there must be a snafu, because the last one the doc scheduled for me was pretty quick. Like the next day. At any rate, I am documenting by posts the speed of Canadian health care. I’m certain it didn’t take terribly long when I needed an MRI about five years ago, but I hear the wait times are much longer now.

teeni Says:

I’m glad you are making appointments and getting yourself checked out. I totally agree with Knudsen – people who are dealing with worse and are so much more graceful about it certainly are an inspiration. But it shouldn’t take that for you to get yourself checked! **makes mental note to listen to her own advice**

teeni’s last blog post..Party Time at the Tea Room!

witchypoo Says:

Teeni: I took my buns to the doc right away when the problem presented. He gave me cream, which eased the pain, but it didn’t heal. This was a repeat visit. Which I inititated.

amanda Says:

good luck with the colonoscopy. It’s fabulous that you are taking care of you health problems ahead of time. My brother and mother have both had colonscopies. The sunny side of this is that they will give you some of the pictures from your insides if you ask them to do so. haha. :)

amanda’s last blog post..I Didn’t Realize Supporting A Cause Was A Faux Pas?

witchypoo Says:

Amanda: Here I was just wondering what image I would use for my next puzzle heh, heh.

Marie in Maine Says:

Yeah my husband had colon cancer last year, as you might remember, Witchy. Thank goodness it had not spread and they got it all. He is due for his check-up colonoscopy soon. Afterward he was all over his relatives and friends to get the test done. They also did a big ad campaign here for it too (they being the state).

My friend had the butt thing similar to what you describe and it was a form of benign polyp, which he had to have surgically removed and now he’s not in pain anymore. Hopefully that is what you have something simple.

I am pretty good about the pap smears.

witchypoo Says:

MarieM: So glad to see you here! Yes, I remember about your husband. I don’t remember what caused him to seek medical advice. Or was it during a regular scope that they found the cancer?

zoe Says:

i love that you warned knudsen. *snort* in all seriousness-i just went through all of the scopes with amonte and i know the prep is ugly but the information is necessary. as always i am thinking of you and praying for both yours and amontes ass to heal

zoe’s last blog post..Heavy Metal Hangover

Marie in Maine Says:

He went for a checkup and the doc said, “oh you should get this test done.” Normally by 50 they say do it but he was 54. So he had a day of milk of magnesia type stuff to drink (something they told him to get at the drugstore, it takes like lemon but it acts like super prune juice) but honestly he couldn’t do the enema so he didn’t LOL.

Then they did the test and it was very quick. He was a bit groggy still and I sat on the SAFE side of the bed. The doc came in and flashed a photo of a tumor at me and said they’d operate within a week. Which they did and he was in the hospital about 5 days until he could pass gas and solids and that was it except for recovery at home. He had no chemo as it hadn’t spread and the oncologist said a colonoscopy every year would suffice.

I admit I was a bit frazzled that the general doc hadn’t advised him to get this test before, at age 50. So it behooves anyone who hasn’t gotten one to push for it!!! I don’t know the rates for younger people but often wonder if it is something lacking in the modern diet or what? I’ve heard lack of Vitamin D contributes to colon cancer so I wonder if more people who live in Northern climes are subject to this disease.

I went to the other blog and that is very sad. I hope she recovers.

FYI too Witchy my mom had breast cancer and a lumpectomy and some radiation and she is fine now too. I think most lumps are benign and watch the caffeine, that’s what my sister’s doc told her was causing hers.

frogpondsrock Says:

I have had two lumps in my breasts both benign.. the first lump was when I was 28..

the spouse has had a colonoscopy before and reckons the procedure was easy. the spouse also has had his haemorroids removed. the only bad part about that was when I teased him about being mulesed..(it is a sheep thing)

have some healing energy from me..

cheers Kim xxx

frogpondsrock’s last blog post..Weekly Winners #14