Part of my approach is a personal commitment to helping others fight cancer too. Here are some ideas and resources that can be useful to anyone who lands in the cancer community like I did.
Regular medical exams can help you avoid this!
Your doctors can head-off this type of cancer during a routine colonoscopy. So if you’ve hit that magic age (50+), make that call for an appointment today and get checked. And, if Jimmy Kimmel can do his on national TV, you can certainly tackle yours in the privacy of your local GI doctor’s office. Do not delay, no excuses. Be like Jimmy, not like me!
Exercise and physical activity can decrease your risk.
My chemo nurses shared many stories about patients who “breezed through chemo” with few or no side effects. The common denominator: physical fitness. 30 minutes a day of exercise is a great target according to the American Cancer Research Institute.
You are what you eat.
In November a dietician ask me ‘what was your diet like before this?’ I said I had the classic business traveler diet which required me to stop for all the major traffic signs like S-T-O-P and B-B-Q. Google ‘cancer diet’ and you’ll see that the bad stuff is all around us and this article ‘Yes, Bacon is Trying to Kill Us’ is worth a read. My new diet is the Mediterranean Diet recommended by the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
It’s good to have your personal house in order.
Get things like your health insurance, advanced medical directive, etc. up to date and in proper order. That way you won’t have to scramble when a serious curveball like this arrives.( (The NorCal fires in October ‘17 had us moving on organizing our important legal docs in advance of my diagnosis. Even so, during the fires when we were told of a possible ‘30 minute evacuation notice’, it still took us 2 weeks to find the deed to our house!) Treatment centers often require you provide a copy of your Advanced Medical Directive.
Cancer treatment is improving dramatically.
Of course, everyone’s situation is different. But cancer treatment today is much more targeted and efficient than in years past. This enabled me to get through chemo with none of the side effects you always hear about. The CONQUER CANCER ASCO Foundation is helping lead the way on treatment advances for all types of cancer. We should all support cancer research. It is needed now, more than ever, for all types of cancer.
You must “be your own advocate” with your healthcare team.
As I mentioned earlier, when you draw the cancer card, things happen very, very fast. In my case, in a matter of just 4 weeks, my ‘healthcare team’ quickly took shape involving 5 primary doctors, 7 treatment facilities, 30+ nurses and technicians, 2 healthcare networks and 2 insurance providers. Despite the fact that I’m in one of the best places in the world for cancer treatment, communication and collaboration tools across doctors, providers and insurance companies are still what is commonly referred to in the IT world as a ‘shit show’. Fax, phone, and pony express couriers (aka you driving film and discs around) still rule the day. So you need to be the quarterback and firmly direct communications and collaboration, keeping key members in the loop and updated on the bigger picture. (Hey friends in my Salesforce Ohana, there is a world of opportunity here for Health Cloud!)
There is a world of great information available for both cancer patients and caregivers at Cancer.net which is funded in part by Conquer Cancer :
The Colon Cancer Coalition
Some Favorite Reference Articles and Videos
- The Amazing Way Bicycles Change You – TED Talk (Video)
- I Have Cancer – What Should I Eat? – Cleveland Clinic
- The Best Cancer Fighting Foods – Medical News Today
- Yes, Bacon is Trying to Kill Us – The Guardian
- Colon Cancer Symptoms Young Men Should Never Ignore – Men’s Health
- For young adults, colorectal cancer is a growing threat. It’s unclear why.
– Washington Post
- Colon Cancer Coalition – information about COLORECTAL CANCER
- CANCER.NET – information about ALL TYPES of Cancer