Monday, January 23, 2017

Some Good in the Bad and Ugly by Margo Hoornstra



Last Wednesday morning I received a diagnosis of colon cancer.

I won’t lie to you I’m still processing the news and desperately looking for an up-side. Caught Early, that’s good, mine’s highly curable they say. Ninety-two percent from what I’ve read.
This whole saga started ten years ago with my first colonoscopy. (Those of you who are more – ahem – mature, know what I’m talking about.) After the twenty minute procedure, I had a ‘come back in ten years’ result. Yay! I’ll take it! Especially since my husband is one of those, he calls himself a polyp farm, who gets to do this every couple of years or so.
I was luckier than that.
Fast forward a decade. During my annual physical the end of June last year, the doctor ordered a certain test for me to do at home. Those results were negative all across the board as it were. I’m home free!
She ordered a colonoscopy anyway. Whatever.
Silly me, I put off scheduling the thing.  I had reasons. I was busy. There was a month long work commitment I’d previously agreed to. In and around that, I had a book to write. After that, summer was winding down and my husband and I wanted to get some use out of our new fifth wheel. Then fellow Rose Diane Burton invited me to join her at a week end writer’s conference. Another long term, if temporary, employment opportunity came my way I couldn’t turn down. As I said busy.
In October, I finally did call the physician group I’d been referred to four months before only to learn they were closing one office and would open another one in January. (Was the universe trying to tell me something?) Should I wait until the first of the year or see about referral to another group? When I posed that question to the receptionist at my doctor’s office, I got a very polite – well duh – it’s not a good idea to wait response and a new referral.
Soon, I had an appointment for the dreaded screening procedure. Would you believe the very next day they called to push the appointment out another couple of weeks to the middle of November. Something about double booking.
At long last the day of my appointment arrived and I had the thing completed, where they discovered a rather large polyp, but could only take out part of it. For some reason, immediately after this doctor strongly suggested surgery. “Then you’re done with it and it’s gone.” That was the route I took, even after the subsequent lab results on the nasty specimen came back non-cancerous with the recommendation to simply have a repeat colonoscopy in another year.
Though I really didn’t want to, I stayed with the surgery option, at this point scheduling out another month until the holidays were over. After all, who wants to be in the hospital at Christmas? With the upcoming surgery on my mind the whole time, we got through November and December.
All along, both doctors stressed they believed this was nothing more than a benign growth with the potential to become a problem. On the off chance there was something there, I was told, the surgical technique was the same as if it were a known cancer. All of the growth would be removed along with some of my digestive tract and a number of connecting lymph nodes. This was done and all 22 of mine came back negative, that’s good! Mine was a surgical cure. No further treatment needed. Here’s hoping. Doesn’t make it any less scary. Though I regret my cavalier attitude in putting the test off initially, I am so glad, for whatever reason, I was steered to the surgery.
A writer friend had the same thing seven years ago and she’s just fine. Even though a blood test and CT scan and visit with an oncologist are in my near future, I have to believe I will be equally fine as well.
Which is good, because as I said before, I’m busy.
On the Surface, Book One in my Brothers in Blue series with The Wild Rose Press is in production and I have edits to return. On the Force, Book Two is in rewrites and due in October.
Plus, a former editor of mine asked me to be part of an upcoming box set of stories that take place in and around a casino. It just turns out I have a half finished project the will fit that bill just fine. I think I’ll call it Give Us A Chance.
Then there are two more Brothers in Blue books, yet to be written, On the Make and On the Move due in 2018 and 2019.

Again. Busy. Even so, positive thoughts and prayers are welcome and encouraged.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and my stories, please visit my WEBSITE

27 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Oh, Margo...how frightening. I'm so glad you opted for the surgical route. How many of us have put off appointments for the exact same reasons you did, rolling the dice that all will be well when we (eventually) make it to those appointments. Thank you for the reminder. (I'm writing a note to myself to make one of those appointments today.) I'll pray for your continued good results!

Sandra Stone said...

Margo, Prayers for complete healing. You will never know how your courage to discuss your medical situation will help people. Yes, it's scary, but I'm one of those every 6 months gals and last summer I was told now every 10 years-aging out. But I should have gone to emergency this weekend, but I have an elderly mom, etc. I know the symptoms. Thanks for the kick in the pants. And keep writting. You bring fun and a joyful escape to your readers.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Leah. It's so true. I'm always the one nagging my family members to - do the right thing. Glad I finally took my own advice. Good to know I'm not alone in this journey.

Sandra. Thanks for the prayers. Hopefully as I heal, I am helping others. Best of luck to you and, you're welcome for the kick in the pants.

Brenda Whiteside said...

It's on my calendar to make a couple of appointments at the Indian Medical Center. I've had them on the calendar for weeks and keep sliding them forward, too busy to call. I won't miss it today. Thanks, Margo. And lots of positive vibes and prayer your way!

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Margo,
After going through the cancer treatment with my husband I'm really happy you are cancer free.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Way to go, Brenda. Keep me posted. Caught all those positive vibes and prayers and I'm holding them close.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Barbara. I appreciate your positivity. Take care.

Jannine Gallant said...

After the giant hassle of getting my insurance company to pay for my husband's colonoscopy, I put mine off for 3 years before I finally did it. Thankfully, everything was fine, and insurance paid with no issues. Putting stuff like this off is never a good choice. I'm just thankful they caught yours early. Stay strong!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I'm proud of you for sharing. Cancer is such a scary word. When I had a cancerous lump in my saliva gland--who knew you could get cancer there?--it was contained within the cyst. Once the cyst was gone, so was the cancer. I still can't feel part of my face or my left ear, but the alternative was so much worse. I wish you speedy and complete healing and many years to tell your story, because you're...busy. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Diane Burton said...

Margo, I applaud you for talking about this. If you help one other person to get the procedure done, you are doing a great job. Like our mutual friend, you will have a positive prognosis. My sister-in-law had colon cancer. She told her doc about some symptoms and the doc said she was too young. Finally, SIL got a 2nd opinion. Thank goodness. She's okay now, but chances are if she'd listened to the 1st doc, the cancer might have been much further along. Hugs and healing thoughts.

Alison Henderson said...

Your post really struck me, Margo. I'm a champion put-er off-er of all things medical. I'm so glad you persisted in spite of all the indications that there was nothing serious going on.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Hmmmmm, Jannine, dear. I do remember haranguing you for putting yours off. I was so glad when you finally came to your senses. And that there was nothing there. I'm working at the staying strong part. Faint hearted as I am, it ain't easy, but I'm working at it.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Vonnie. It's not easy to deal with, is it? I'm counting on the complete healing part. Like you did. And the many years to come.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Diane. Lana has talked me off the edge a few times. Glad your SIL sought a second opinion. I'm also glad I stuck with the surgery option. My late father was director of a physician association for many years. My husband and I were put in a conference room at the surgeon's office to schedule the surgery. There was a picture on the wall, a composite of head shots of the members of that association done in 1981. My dad' was in that composite. Maybe he had something to do with things.. I wonder.

Margo Hoornstra said...

It's not always easy to do, Alison, persist, I mean. Right now my plan is to simply put my head down, do what I'm told, and get through this to the other side.

Andrea Downing said...

Definitely positive thoughts, and lots of prayers for the future. You'll be fine. And as for those wonderful books, looking forward to reading them and seeing many more down the line.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Music to my ears, Andi. All of it! Thank you, I'll take it!

Maris said...

Margo, so sorry you've had to go through this. That nasty C has a way of popping up when we least expect it. Sounds like you're going to be fine. Keep writing those neat books.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Maris. Nasty to be sure, but not insurmountable.

Donna Michaels said...

Adding my thoughts and prayers...and a thank you, Margo. I received my first notice to have a colonoscopy last summer and have yet to make that appointment. I've also received one of those 'kits' in the mail this week, but I'm going to just call and schedule the procedure. Thank you for sharing your story, I'm sorry you had to go through this, but I'm glad they caught it early.

Best of luck on your series!

Rohn Federbush said...

Prayers are sent for continuing good news in your procedures and strength and peace in the Mean time.

Margo Hoornstra said...

So there you go, Donna, glad you're going ahead with things. Believe me, the prep, and the dread are the worst parts. The procedure itself is a snap. Same thing with my surgery. Wasn't really all that bad. Thanks for the good wishes on the series. I'm looking forward to completing it. And being part of the boxed set. Onward!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thank you, Rohn. I so appreciate the kind thoughts and prayers and have lots and lots of people praying for me. It does help. As I've said before. I just have to put my head down and get through this.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Sorry, Margo. My internet was out (rain and wind in CA)...looks like the comment I wrote on my phone didn't make it through. You've got us behind you as you take on this challenge, out of which could come a book! I know you don't/didn't plan to fight cancer. but I'm so glad they caught this early and prognosis is good. Thanks for telling us...I happen to be at the 10 year mark as well. I'll make my appt. today!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Another convert, eh, Rolynn? Great! I appreciate the support and good wishes. Hmmmm. I had thought of a book angle, not sure of the particulars yet. Let me know how your appointment comes out.

Alicia Dean said...

Oh my gosh, Margo. I'm so glad yours was caught early, but I know it still must have been scary. I'm past due for a colonoscopy, too. I suppose I should get mine done...ugh! Looking forward to our next steps with your series. Hugs and best wishes.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Ally. Go get yours done! Two of my preliminary tests came back negative, but something made me go with the original surgery I'd scheduled to, as the original doctor said - "Then it's gone and you're done with it." Series is still coming along.