I finally did something I’ve been putting off for a long time. It’s not the kind of thing you will usually find me discussing, but it is very important. This morning I had a colonoscopy. And you know what? The worst part was the ninety minutes in the waiting room before they called me back.
When I was just a baby, my grandmother died of colon cancer. The only stories I know about her are snippets given to me by my other grandparents. She was young. Probably not much older than fifty years old.
My doctor has suggested being tested for a few years now. I put it off. You can imagine why. But the reality of colon cancer knocked me to my knees this last year. You see, my step-mother died last January of this disease. My children have been left without their grandmother and my dad without his wife and myself without the mother figure I’d had for most of my life.
One of the sad facts is that colon cancer is one of the cancers that can be prevented, but due to embarrassment many people put off their screenings. If you have a family history of colon cancer or you are fifty-years old or older, please, talk to your doctor about a colonoscopy. Polyps can be discovered and removed before they turn into cancer.
I’m including a copy of my step-mom’s obituary. I hope it will encourage you to take your health seriously.
A woman of strength with a heart full of love, Joanne Marie Van Geest passed away after fighting a battle with cancer. Her last days where spent in the loving care of her husband, Terry and with her daughter by her side.
Joanne grew up in Blodgett surrounded by her two sisters and three brothers. She developed a love for the outdoors that she never outgrew. As an adult, she spent many hours tending her garden and walking in the woods with a beagle companion.
In 1970, she became the mother of a treasured little girl, Jennifer. A few years later Matthew, another great joy, was born. Joanne dedicated her life to caring for her family and for Matt’s special medical needs. In 1985, Mathew passed away as a result of Gaucher’s disease.
Joanne rejoined the workforce and found satisfaction and new friends in the Geosciences department of OSU. She and Terry enjoyed meeting friends for happy hour and football games. In recent years, Joanne and Terry began yearly trips to Hawaii and traveled as far as Costa Rica.
Joanne took great joy in her grandchildren and was thrilled to hear that a new baby was on its way. She fought hard to live until her new granddaughter arrived. Two weeks ago, little Parker was born and Joanne received her final wish.
Joanne is preceded in death by her son Matthew. She is survived by her husband; Terry Van Geest, her daughter; Jennifer Hayes, stepdaughter; Christina Nelson and grandchildren; Parker Ayers and Ryan, Joshua, Aleasha, and Emma Nelson, her parents; Cyrus and Ruby Davis, her siblings; Rich Davis, John Davis, Bill Davis, Sandy Davis and Linda Brown.