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Giving the Gift of a Colonoscopy

Posted by Sarah Cohen on Jan 6, 2016 12:44:36 PM


A few months ago, I did something I don’t think I had ever done before.

I threatened one of my parents.

Okay, maybe I’d threatened to run away when I was eight because my mom wouldn’t let me stay up late for a Lifetime movie I shouldn’t have been watching anyway. But I had never really threatened something that I could follow through on — until this fall.

I threatened to not come home for the holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — unless my dad scheduled his first colonoscopy (it was about eight years overdue).

He wasn’t happy about my little scheme, but to be honest, it was the only real bargaining chip I had.

You see, my dad dotes on his four daughters, and there’s pretty much nothing in the world he wouldn’t give to make sure all four of us were under his roof for Christmas. Three out of four Cohen girls just wouldn’t cut it.

Considering that I’d worked in health care marketing for ten years, urging millions of people through the written word to get their colonoscopies, I couldn’t in good conscience let the man I love most in the world off the hook. This was tough love at its finest — and it worked.

Just in time for me to book my Thanksgiving flight to Atlanta and my Christmas flight to Chicago; I got the call saying the colonoscopy had been scheduled for December 16.

My dear friends, Christmas came early for this girl right here! That was the best Christmas present I could ask for.

Fathers Should Know Best

Confusing to me was how my dad did not want to make sure he got his colonoscopy.   

For the past 31 years, he has worked as a salesman of ostomy products. In other words, he sells the tools that help patients with colostomies.

Which are often required for people who are being treated for colorectal cancer.

Which is most preventable with a colonoscopy.

See where I’m going here?

I grew up watching my dad answer phone calls on his vacation so patients could ask questions about their ostomy pouches or run out to the post office to ship products overnight to someone who had run out of what they needed. As a little girl, I tagged along to in-services he gave to nurses at some of the craziest hours. I heard stories of him visiting with colorectal surgeons and cancer patients — how hard that was for him to do.

So in my mind, my dad is on a mission to help people — and he does it exceptionally well. But the best way for him to keep doing that was to help himself — to get a colonoscopy.

The Benefits of a Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy can find potentially cancerous polyps at their earliest stages and in almost all cases actually remove them.

It’s a test most people only need once every ten years. It requires giving up about two days of that whole decade — one for preparation and one for the outpatient exam and recovery.

That’s it. And it’s worth it. Afterwards, you — and your four daughters — can rest easy knowing colorectal cancer isn’t in the cards right now.

If the test does find something, you can be glad you caught it when you did; glad that you did something to make sure you’re there not only for those daughters, but also for the sons and daughters they might have some day.

I’m so proud of my dad for getting his colonoscopy — so proud.

Best. Christmas. Present. Ever. 


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Sarah Cohen
As the publication specialist/editor for Methodist Health System, Sarah Cohen enjoys getting to know our patients and telling their stories. She thrives on AP style and proper comma placement, and has been known to mentally edit the occasional billboard. Outside the office, you’ll find her on the tennis court, singing (pretty much anywhere), pursuing a certification in biblical studies through the University of Dallas, and perusing the photos of her adorable nephew on Facebook.


Topics: Wellness

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