I remember Thanksgiving five years ago so clearly. Edward shared with the whole family that he was having a colonoscopy the following Tuesday. How we teased him. He took it well, and even joined in on the jokes. We joked about the prep and the actual exam; we used the turkey carcass as a model; we were actually quite nasty. But, at the end, we were all clear on the fact that it was silly for a 35 year old healthy man to allow someone to stick a camera up his bum.
The following Friday we found out how wrong we were. Edward had cancer; a penny-sized tumor between his rectum and colon. What followed was the most terrifying time of our life. Numerous tests to see how far the cancer had progressed, a colon resection surgery which resulted in Edward losing a foot of his colon, the lengthy recovery, and finally, learning to live with consequences of the surgery.
Five years later, I’m happy to say that Edward remains cancer free. That he’s learned to live with the effects of his surgery. That we eat healthier and live cleaner than we lived before. But, most importantly, that Ed’s still with us. That he’s able to coach Xavier’s soccer team, and help Jalen with his reading, and fall asleep next to me every night.
The truth is this. Edward saved his own life. We didn’t take his symptoms seriously, his doctor didn’t take his symptoms seriously, but Ed insisted on the colonoscopy. He knew something was wrong and he persisted in finding an answer to his symptoms.
Colon cancer often is not diagnosed until it’s too late. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, claiming more than 53,500 lives each year. And, yet, when it’s diagnosed early it’s very treatable. Found in its earliest stages, colon cancer is survived by almost 90 percent of patients. And, the only way to find colorectal cancer is through a colonoscopy.
Get Your Rear in Gear’s mission is to raise awareness about colon cancer screenings and preventative care. In it’s 3rd year, the Get Your Rear in Gear Boston 5k, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist Community Health Centers in Massachusetts end the barriers to early colon cancer screenings. We are organizing the race again this year and hope that you can support this cause that’s so close to our hearts.
The Bum Rushers, Ed’s Team, are running again this year. We run so that other families don’t have to go through the fear and trauma that we did. We run so that patients and doctors feel empowered to trust their symptoms and get tested. We run for the dads and husbands who were not diagnosed in time. And we run for the brave survivors who are there for their loved one every day because of preventative care