I went in for my first colonoscopy on April 1, 2021. The only preventative test I never wanted to have in my lifetime. I went in two years before the suggested “guidelines” because I couldn’t ignore the signs my body was making clear to me. On April 2, 2021, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. On June 7, 2021, I had my rectum and sigmoid colon removed. Burpa, the name I gave my stoma, and an ileostomy bag would be with me for the next eight months while what was left of my colon was reattached and left to heal. I had physical complications in early September and more complications in December. I was finally able to have the ileostomy reversed on December 28. I am now healing and cancer free.
Like many other things for people and especially for women; bathroom conversations are taboo and they shouldn’t be. There should be no embarrassment talking to anyone, especially those in the medical field. When I asked about how my surgery affects women like me, menstruating women, unfortunately the medical team said they had no clinical knowledge. I wish , LARS (lower anterior resection syndrome) was medically acknowledged and discussed before surgery so that all may know it is highly likely to occur and how to manage it as a new lifestyle and that insurance will also approve/pay for the items that can be used in the home to manage that lifestyle.
I’m still learning so much, starting with how I treat, feed, and move my body. Everything regarding taking care of your body needs to be an intentional decision daily, many times a day. I wish I would have known sooner. I’m totally a SME, subject matter expert, to all my family and friends now! Starting is the hardest part but if you “get your rear in gear” you will feel better for it.