July 23, 2016
One of my greatest fears when I was drinking was that I was screwing up my body. Especially my colon. I was convinced that my drinking gave me colon cancer.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 41 years old. 2 different kinds of invasive breast cancer, one in each breast. I had 2 surgeries, 8 rounds of chemo, and 6 weeks of radiation. I took tamoxifen for 5 years, had a 2 year drug free holiday, and now have taken arimidex for 4 years. My chemo put me in full blown menopause at the age of 42. My body made cancer. At the time of my diagnosis, I was a normal drinker....so I thought. I remember having a glass or two of wine in the middle of my two weeks between chemo treatments...who does that? In looking back, I realize that that was probably the start of my drinking problems! I couldn't even abstain during chemo! Most people are sick..but no, not me...I made sure that I had my wine (all cleared with oncologist of course, but she probably didn't know how much I "really" had!).
Since I was considered a young women at diagnosis, that was pre menopausal, especially whose body made 2 different kinds of invasive cancers at the same time in two different breasts, I was considered an anomaly. Therefore, they did a lot of extra testing. They made me switch my gyn to the cancer center. At my 5 year cancer free mark, the gyn required me to have a colonoscopy. All was clear.
Anyway, fast forward 5 years. I constantly found myself worrying about my drinking causing me colon cancer. After all, my body made cancer. I drank more than the recommended weekly amount for women....almost every day!!! It was a part of my body that I couldn't see. Sometimes I had lower left stomach pains. Sometimes my stool wasn't right (I know, TMI). I really needed /wanted another colonoscopy to make sure that my drinking wasn't hurting my innards. I asked my gyn at the cancer center for another one. The new protocol is 10 years for your next colonoscopy if the previous one was clear. There was no way I could wait 5 more years...no way! I needed this for my mental being. Yet, I couldn't tell the gyn why. I was too embarrassed. So, I made up a problem. (I know, very bad! Who in their right mind wants a colonoscopy? The prep is awful!) Well, yesterday I had that colonoscopy! and guess what? ALL WAS CLEAR! I stopped drinking in time! I was so worried that there would be something wrong related to my years of drinking! I feel like a HUGE weight was lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I can really see the sober path in front of me. I don't have that nagging thought in my head every day that I gave myself colon cancer.
Now, I wouldn't recommend asking for a colonoscopy if you don't need one. I was really positive that because my body had already made cancer, and then I beat it up with wine, that I really had colon cancer. I know it's a psycho thing...but I had these thoughts while I was drinking and because I convinced myself of it, they remained when I quit.
Now, I am so utterly happy. I know things can still happen. But, I know that I stopped drinking in time so that I did not give myself colon cancer.
Sober at 53