February 29th, 2008 | 19 Comments »

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.

KNUDSEN WARNING FOR EXTREME BLOGGER TMI:

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!