Welcome Back

Last year I learned that blogging (and running) are huge stress relievers for me. For those of you new here, I spent about six months blogging regularly and honestly about struggles in 2012, and things I was learning. It’s been reassuring to read books about motivation and goals, and have chapters describe the things I had come to realize by myself and blogged about.

By the end of last year, I had grown personally to a place where I didn’t need to blog to be able to digest events in my life. Welcome to 2013.

While I will still do some evaluating here, I plan on mostly using this to communicate to my family and friends on news over the next couple months. Let’s catch up.

I’ve had ulcerative colitis for more than ten years now, and it is strongly recommended that I get checked up at least every other year to look for cancer. I went In for routine colonoscopy at the end of March.

Some of the samples that were pulled from my colon were “concerning” and sent to Jon Hopkins for very close examination. After three experts reviewed it, they determined that some of the cells contained very early signs of cancers.

My gastroenterologist said his preference in this situation is to remove my entire colon as quickly as possible to avoid further development and spread of these cells. This process involves two stages that would span several months including recovery time. I would be out of work for nearly six weeks. However, after I’m recovered the chance of my colon developing cancer is non-existent, because I won’t have one. He’s given me four weeks to decide.

With any surgery, there are a lot of positives and negatives I’m weighing.

I had a CT scan Thursday morning, and the results were good: the cells have not gotten to the outside of my colon wall, meaning my other organs have not been compromised. 10,000 foot view: chemotherapy isn’t necessary at this stage. I have a meeting Tuesday with the surgeon I would probably use to get more information.

Right now, I’m just trying to evaluate the situation from every position. It basically boils down to two options.

I can remove the entire thing. I would have no more colonoscopies, no more monthly prescriptions, no more worry about this coming back. The next six months will probably be some of the worst in my life to this point. But, should I make a full recovery, I will pretty much be fine, sans an organ.

Or, I can try to fight it. Whether or not I have the current cells removed and hope there are no others, herbal remedies, very strict diets, and holistic approaches have proven wonders. Do I make drastic changes now and leave it in God’s hands? Or, as my doctor put it, play Russian Roulette with cancer?

It has been “dumb luck” (another quote from my doctor) that this was caught so early. I’m hoping this gives me more time to either make necessary changes and reverse the progression, or at a minimum do enough research to make a confident decision.

Any suggestions or ideas are appreciated!


Author: Clarissa A.

The older I get, the less I know.

9 thoughts on “Welcome Back”

  1. Claire, I talked to my friend that had the full colonectmy, etc in college. I guess she loved her surgeon. Her name was dr blatchford out of Omaha if you’re still looking for a second opinion. You’re in our prayers girlie!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Katy. My mom was actually referred to Dr. Blatchford from a friend, and the surgeon I was referred to studied under her. Good to know someone else had a good experience with her, I’ll keep that in mind!

  2. Claire,

    So sorry to hear about your health issues. How scary and unfair that this is happening to such a wonderful person. We love you hon.

    Dewey and I were talking and he said that a person he went to high school with had his colon removed in his mid 20’s and he is still around at our advanced age! I really don’t know what is involved and what side effects and things you have to live with with any of the options but will be doing some research,

    Just want you to know we are here for you and anything we can do anything and everything – we can do we would love to be able to do.

    Thanks for including us in your blog. We will be watching closely.

    1. Thank you, Jane & Dewey! I know you two work wonders with online research! I’m particularly interested in alternate treatments than surgically removing the entire thing. I would be interested in any reputable information you find!

  3. Wow. I am so glad that you caught this early on. It sounds like some scary stuff for someone our age. Even though we have known each other for around a year or so, you have been someone I have truly enjoyed talking with and getting to know, whether it was something random, current events, or just ridiculous tweets. If you ever just need an open ear, you know how to find me.

    I will be praying that you are given the clarity needed to make the best decision you can possibly make.


  4. Oh Claire, my heart really goes out to you!!! THAT is such a tough decision!! I really admire your openness about your experience and emotional process, and i feel so honored that you would share it with me! I’m right with you, offering all the support i can! I am sooo proud of you! You are so intelligent, full of wise perspective AND super gorgeous in addition! Love you much, sweetheart, and i’m rootin” for ya BIGTIME!!!

  5. Dear Claire,
    this is so tough. I can’t imagine…. If you would like to come over and talk, I would welcome the time together. I love you and know you can do this, whatever you decide.

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