Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Just a Reminder...

Yes, it is STILL Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month! So, just in case you have forgotten, here are the risk factors for colorectal cancer:
  • Age - the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age, although more and more people under the age of 50 are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
  • A family history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer - however only 10-20% of those diagnosed with colorectal cancer have a family history of the disease!
  • Inherited conditions such as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and Lynch Syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or Ulcerative Colitis
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol use
  • Diet high in fat and red meat
Screening for colorectal cancer is so important because by the time symptoms of colorectal cancer appear, the cancer is usually in an advanced stage. So, even though you may feel healthy, don't neglect to get screened!

If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor right away!
  • A change of bowel habits
  • Blood in the stool - either bright red of very dark
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Stools that are narrower than normal
  • Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
Don't wait until it's too late! Get screened!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

For Jaydee

The other day I went back to read some of my old blog posts and the comments I received. Once again, I found myself crying, overwhelmed by the deep love and encouragement that was expressed to me over all the months of my cancer treatment.  I am so grateful to each one who took the time to check on me, to pray for me, and to offer words of hope to me. I know that I would have never survived without you! 

A few months ago I met a new friend through my blog.  Jaydee contacted me after she was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. She is following in my footsteps a few months behind me in her journey. We have become friends, and I am honored to be one who can encourage and support her as she fights this common enemy. Tomorrow morning Jaydee will begin the first of eight IV chemotherapy treatments. She will be receiving all the same drugs that I received, and will most likely experience many of the same side effects that I experienced. It is my prayer that her treatment will have the same results as well - No evidence of disease!! 

Will you please join me in praying Jaydee through these next few months of treatment? Please pray for courage, strength, endurance, and peace. Please pray for minimal side effects. Please pray for no complications from treatment. Please pray for her husband and children as they continue to walk this path alongside her. And, or course, please pray for the complete destruction of any remaining cancer cells in her body. 

If you would like to encourage Jaydee, like you did me, you can visit her CaringBridge site at

Jaydee, today at Community of Faith we sang a new song by Chris Tomlin (written by Louie Giglio, Matt Maher, and Chris Tomlin) from his new album, "And If Our God is For Us".  As I sang, I prayed for you. I hope these lyrics help bring peace and hope to you. 

 by Chris Tomlin

Be still, there is a healer
His love is deeper than the sea
His mercy, it is unfailing
His arms are a fortress for the weak

Let faith arise, Let faith arise
Open my eyes, Open my eyes

I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember
You are faithful, God forever

Be still, there is a river
That flows from Calvary's tree
A fountain for the thirsty
Pure grace that washes over me

So let faith arise, Let faith arise
Open my eyes, Open my eyes

I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember
You are faithful, God 
You are faithful, God, forever

I am praying for you, and I know my sweet friends are praying for you too. Let His grace wash over you. He is faithful!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Truth About Colorectal Cancer

This information comes from the Colorectal Cancer Coalition:

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the United States.

Colorectal cancer affects men and women equally.

Every 3.7 minutes, someone is diagnosed with colorectal cancer and every 10 minutes someone dies from colorectal cancer.

The vast majority of colon cancer deaths can be prevented through proper screening and early detection.

Every 5 seconds someone who should be screened for colorectal cancer is not.

The survival rate of individuals who have colorectal cancer is 91 percent when detected in the early stages. 

Of the 51,370 people expected to die of colorectal cancers in 2011, early detection could save more than half.

Only 39 percent of colorectal cancer patients have their cancers detected at an early stage.

Regular colorectal cancer screening has been ranked as one of the most cost effective screening interventions available, with the potential to save 40,000 lives a year.

If the majority of people in the United States age 50 or older were screened regularly for colorectal cancer, the death rate from this disease could plummet by up to 70 percent.

Greater awareness of this cancer and the means to prevent it could save the lives of tens of thousands of people in the United States each year.

Colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable in most cases.

Get screened!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thank you Governor Perry!

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. Organizations across the country work to raise awareness of the need for prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer, encouraging screening, and advocating for research funds, and legislation related to research and screening.

Having a close personal relationship with colorectal cancer, I have felt a strong desire to help make sure that other people don't have to go through this experience. I want to get the news out there that colorectal cancer is preventable and it's treatable; and that early detection is the key to long-term survival.

With that in mind, I decided to contact our local and state officials and ask them to proclaim March 2011 as Colorectal Cancer Awareness month in the state of Texas and in the city of Houston. I contacted Governor Rick Perry and Mayor Annise Parker, as well as local Harris County officials. I didn't really expect anything to come of it, but I thought I would do my part to try to raise awareness in my community.

Imagine my surprise last week when I checked the mailbox and found a large envelope from the Governor's office! Governor Perry responded to my request and on February 14th he officially proclaimed March 2011 to be Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in the great state of Texas! I was so excited to see the results of my advocacy and proud to know that I had a part in making it happen! 

Then two days later I received a phone call from the office of the Mayor of Houston. Mayor Parker received my request and officially proclaimed March 2011 to be Colorectal Cancer Awareness month in the city of Houston! Wow! Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States and our city officials recognize the importance of raising awareness about prevention and screening for colorectal cancer! 

Thank you, Governor Perry! Thank you, Mayor Parker! 

Please join me in getting the word out! 
Colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable, beatable!
Get screened!