In the eyes of many, David had it all . . . a beautiful wife, two great kids, a job that he loved, stature in the community–nice house, nice cars, nice life.
At the age of 32, he was healthy, fit, active in his kid’s schools, involved in community service, coach of his son’s Basketball team, chauffeur to his daughter’s gymnastics team, and partner in all things with the love of his life.
It all came crashing down on March 12, 2004 when he learned that he had advanced Colorectal Cancer.
It is a terribly sad story. It happens every day to people who don’t deserve it. It is happening right now to tens of thousands of men all over the world. This very minute, some David, somewhere, is getting the news.
David’s story is an amalgam of hundreds of thousands of cancer stories, affecting millions of families, friends, children, and neighbors. It is a story that is being retold in communities and nations throughout the world.
Colorectal Cancer is the third most common type of Cancer today, and it doesn’t respect, age, race, ethnicity, income level, or whether or not the sufferer is the greatest guy in town.
It wasn’t supposed to happen to David. It shouldn’t happen to anyone. Colon Cancer is largely preventable, very treatable, and it still might make your wife a widow if you lack the information to save your own life.
David was a bright guy . . . well-informed, up on men’s health issues, the kind of patient that make Doctors smile. He didn’t drink excessively (just that occasional glass of wine that’s supposed to be good for the heart); he never smoked; he laid off the junk food; went to the gym regularly, had annual his check-ups like clockwork . . . yet the monster came to his door.
It started with a bellyache.
He woke up one morning, not feeling real great. His stomach was bothering him and he wished he’d gone to bed a little earlier because he was dragging. He thought nothing of it. Later that day, He felt really crummy. He was nauseous; his stomachache had gotten worse, he threw up, and he had diarrhea.
“It’s nothing,” he said to his wife. “Probably something I ate.”
The next day, David felt better (the fiendish demon doing its work.) He went about his business and in short order, completely forgot about the incident.
Over the next few weeks, David was fine. Except for some persistent constipation, he was his usual self. He did seem to be more tired than usual, but it was winter and that happens. A few weeks after that, he was wrapping up his son’s basketball practice when he got this sharp pain in his abdomen. It felt like a spear, piercing him from front to back.
‘God! I’ve got to slow down,’ he thought. ‘These wind-sprints are gonna kill me.’
The following week, still having these intermittent abdominal pains, David and his wife went on vacation. They had been saving for years to go on a cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean, a tour of Cairo, the Pyramids, a mini-cruise up the Nile, back to their luxury cruise ship, through the Suez Canal, and into to the Arabian Sea. That’s the kind of trip you don’t cancel, unless your life depends upon it. For David, it did.
It is clear that Colorectal Cancer is an equal opportunity offender. The Demon doesn’t care if you are good looking, smart, rich, or a future recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. It will snatch your life from under you.
Unfortunately David’s story, personal details aside, is the story of way too many men. They are all over the Web–men and women are sharing their experience and hope with one another. These people form kinships, console one another, and try to mitigate the suffering of their families and friends. Just spend five minutes at one of their blogs and you will see what these tortured souls have in common. You might even come to realize that this could just as easily be the story of YOU.
And, the worst part is that this didn’t have to happen to David, or to so many others who simply lacked the information they needed.
During his cruise, David started bleeding from his rectum, he was constantly fatigued, and the stabbing pains through his abdomen became more frequent.
Upon his return from the “vacation of a lifetime,” David made an appointment with his doctor to discuss his symptoms. His doctor said it could be a lot of things, and that they should do some tests.
“Let me check my Day-Planer,” he said to the office lady who handles appointments.
By the time David went through preliminary tests three weeks later due to ‘prior commitments and pressing business,’ his symptoms had become quite severe. He decided it was time to take care of this. He had some more tests and a number of consultations and nobody seemed to think his condition was anything serious. By then, the monster had built a retirement village in his small intestine.
Then, on October 2, 2004, David got the news. It sounded completely unreal. David had stage III Colon Cancer and the prognosis was not good.
“How is this possible?” he shouted to his wife. “This can’t be happening!” Anger and denial are common reactions among those who have just been told the unimaginable.
Oh, it is so very sad. The demon snuck up on David and sucker-punched him when he wasn’t looking.
While David had almost none of the risk factors for Colorectal Cancer, he did have one. Unfortunately, none of the other risk factors come even close to having a family history of this disease.
Had David known that his Father’s younger brother who had died in his thirties, died of Colon Cancer, it may or may not have made a difference. But had he been aware that two cousins on his Mother’s side, and his paternal grandfather had all died of Colon Cancer, it probably would have gotten his attention.
Had he not waited almost seven moths to consult his doctor about his condition, there is a good chance he would not have gone to bed on the night of October 2nd crying in his wife’s arms.
God, David! If only you and your medical caregivers had demanded a more aggressive and immediate response to your condition, your son wouldn’t have put down his basketball, never to play again.
David died on Christmas Day 2004. His funeral drew a gigantic crowd of friends, relatives, community your story! leaders, and aspiring gymnasts.
Don’t let this be your story.