Giving Thanks

Tis the season. Thanksgiving marks the start of the holidays. The Lovely Marianne and I spent a wonderful day with family.

Before you are concerned this photo is from 2019 NOT 2020. Inexplicably, we took no pictures this year. Most of the people pictured were not present.

In keeping with the Thanksgiving spirit, last week I and TLM and millions of others expressed out thanks on social media for seven days. But today, I add to that list because of something near and dear to my…well not my heart or my head but to quite a different area of my body. Today I’m thankful for

Yep, Colonoscopies

I had my latest one this week. I’m certain that’s more than you ever wanted to know, but I have a particular reason for being grateful for this particular procedure. The colonoscopy was first developed and performed in the fall of 1969. But in the first years colonoscopies met with significant resistance with many doctors of the opinion that they were unnecessary and unduly dangerous. So it was that by 1975 colonoscopies were not widely used as a tool to screen for colon cancer when my dad was diagnosed.

That’s my dad on the right. I’m the handsome one in the center leaning into mom (and yes, smart alecks, that is hair). The young girl who looks like she wants you dead is my sister Lorna. My brother Lyle is on the left. I think this is 1973 and I was 17.

I was in Italy at the time (see my previous blog post). Dad died in 1976 a year after the cancer was discovered. He was 57.

Fast forward twenty years. The procedure that was thought dangerous and unnecessary in 1975 was considered safe and essential in 1996 when I turned forty. Because of the history of colon cancer in my family, my doctor told me I needed to have the procedure done starting at age forty. So, I dutifully downed the prep endured a day of intestinal distress and reported to the hospital. Afterward, I was told they found several polyps and later the pathologist identified them as pre-cancerous. Which means that but for the invention and widespread use of colonoscopies I wouldn’t be typing this blog entry. I may not have made it as long as my dad did.

So, yes, I am thankful for colonoscopies. I just wish progress had run a few years faster.

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