It doesn’t seem real to think you’ve been gone for twenty years, Pingon. It’s never easy at the end of September as I let this day loom over me. It’s been twenty years but I still cried a few times today. Rich bought me some Cherry Garcia, and I finished the new final chapter of the novel I’m writing. You’re in it, you know? It’s a small part but I smile when I write her – that Lori – who also loves hairspray and hooker boots.
It’s really not the amount of time that has passed that gets to me when I think about you not being here. It’s about the amount of moments we didn’t get. The guys, the marriages(I’m one and done), the kids(Alex is 25 now!), the jobs, the hobbies, the heartbreaks, the adventures, the setbacks. All the things I’ve tackled in life that you didn’t get to be there with me for. I’ve made it a long way from that last shopping trip we went on together before you passed away. I hope you would be proud of me.
I wonder sometimes what you would think of what we’ve all been up to. What you would think about the things I’ve done – would you like Rich? Would you read my multiple drafts of my novel and give me unlimited feedback? Would you visit us in Washington? Where would you be if you were still here? Who would you be? Losing all of those moments is what hurts the most after twenty years. I think it always will. Love you, Lor.
“If you’d waited another two years we’d be dealing with cancer.” That was one of the first things I heard after my first colonoscopy one year ago today. Personal? Sure. TMI? Maybe to some. But that was a moment that triggered me. Motivated me? Woke me up if nothing else to making sure my life is what I want it to be. I’d been dealing with “health issues” since the beginning of 2020 that were new. My doctor was looking into a few things, test were done, meds were tried, and then it was time for the specialist. I was in her office for less than 15 minutes start to finish, and in that time she’d started with “we’ll do some tests and decide if we need to schedule a colonoscopy.” and switched to “I think we need to just do the colonoscopy. We’re going to need to check for cancer.” She said a few other things after that but my brain was stuck on her use of the word cancer.
I went home from that appointment a little rattled. I mean, I didn’t like having anyone use the C word regarding my health, but then I decided we were both probably overreacting. Two days after that appointment Chadwick Boseman, a man my age, died. When they said he died from colon cancer I spent the rest of my evening running down the rabbit hole. Attached to one article was a questionaire – 9 Signs You Might be Dealing With Colon Cancer. I took the test and scored 7 out of 9.
The next two weeks were fun for my husband! I flipped back and forth from I absolutely was dealing with colon cancer, and I absolutley was a hypochondriac and was probably wasting everyone’s time. That was the mindset I went into the actual procedure with two weeks later – I’m going to have to apologize for wasting everyone’s time.
When the results came back I was relieved. But I was also well aware that I’d gotten lucky. I had a great NP who was going to get to the bottom of things. And I had a great RN cousin who was willing to answer a few embarassing questions and gave me the recommendation to the specialist that I trusted right away. If you’re 45+ talk to your doctor now, and make sure you’re getting scheduled for your colonoscopy.
They’ve reduced the suggested age to 45 because the number of younger people – people like Chadwick Boseman – are a fast growing number of colon cancer patients. There’s no need to wait for 50 anymore. My symptoms were the types of symptoms that we sometimes ignore. Please don’t ignore them. Please have enough faith in yourself to trust when you think something might be wrong, even if it’s embarasing to talk about. That embarassing conversation could absolutely save your life.
Why I can’t do 3am writing sessions anymore:
- you stay up all late, drag ass the entire next day then go to bed at 8:45.
- Wake up to pee, worry about husband who hasn’t come to bed, check phone to realize it’s 11:20, so he’s fine.
- Go back to bed.
- Wake up at 2:45, when the dog falls off the bed. Comfort dog until 3:30 when she decides she needs to go out.
- Put pants on, take dog out, get dog water, get dog a little snack, wake up sleeping husband, get back in bed.
- Lay in bed at 3:54, feeling rested, wondering if it’s too early for breakfast.
I’ve been writing. A lot. I write. I write. I doubt myself. I write some more. So, if you haven’t heard from me, this is what I’m doing. I’m almost done for real. I know a lot of you have heard that before but it’s true this time. Looking forward to some time with some yarn and some needles and hooks, but for now I’m writing.