Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How I lengthened my life in 2 afternoons

Some of you already know that my husband Simo was unexpectedly diagnosed with colorectal cancer 10 years ago at the age of 41. It was a COMPLETE shock at the time. He's always been healthy and had no known family history of cancer. Thanks to our thorough and astute primary care physician, however, what he thought was hemorrhoids (come on, we can talk about this!) turned out to be a 3.5cm tumor that had to be removed immediately followed by 6 weeks of chemotherapy and radiation. Simo had loads of side effects to nearly everything thrown at him and it was a rough year to say the least. He has since completely recovered.

(There's always a silver lining to every dark cloud, right? Simo's experience and ideas during his treatment inspired my "Outside of the Box" series of paintings. You can ready the story here.)

Not long after this entire ordeal I went ahead and had a baseline colonoscopy due to my family history of colon cancer. This baseline lets my doctor know how my colon usually looks so that future screenings can be compared to it. The prep wasn't so bad and the reassurance of knowing I had a healthy colon in exchange for an afternoon spent at the doctor's office was well worth it. If you're not sure what's involved to have screening for colon cancer, there's a short video you can watch from the American Cancer Society.

The other afternoon that lengthens my life is the one where I go for my annual mammogram. Again, its not that bad compared to the alternative of getting cancer. If its been awhile since you checked this off your "to-do" list, refresh your memory about breast cancer screening by clicking here.

Yes, I know I said my blog is about my art and my life as an artist. And it still is:  in the past week I have learned about the deaths of 2 of my collectors - one from breast cancer, and one from colorectal cancer. Both untimely, both young. The news has more than rocked my world and I hope it will rock yours and prompt you to get screened for cancer by the end of 2011.

Cancer is all too common. If you're someone who has a relative with cancer, your risk to develop cancer may be higher than the norm. To learn about the genetics of cancer, please visit:

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