Liviu was a survivor. He had traveled through dangerous places worldwide and somehow always managed to escape harmless. He had developed a peculiar change in his bowel habits. While most of his senior friends complained of endless constipation, he seemed to go all the time. Every time he ate, Liviu had to run and find the bathroom. At 76 years old, he paid little attention to this. He did not like to go the doctor as it meant weakness to him as a male. In the ‘old country’ men would never show weakness. It was almost emasculating and a sign of defeat to ask for help. He would figure out a way to self cure. He ate yogurt, removed fried foods, locked up herbal cures on the internet and tried fresh vegetables. No help.
Blood was seen in an early morning bowel movement. His heart pounded in his chest as a shot of adrenaline seemed to pierce his heart. Should he tell his wife? She got so excited about everything. Whenever he lost at anything in life he called it a bump in the road. He would recover. He would tell her a new plan that would change their home, job and friends in a matter of fact way. She knew no other and followed him wherever he thought they needed to go. After 56 years they didn’t just get along, they were one.
Liviu was getting weaker each day. His bloody stools continued for weeks. His wife Ara noticed and lovinglyasked him to accompany her for her doctor visit. She knew the doctor would see her pale emaciated husband and take action without her saying anything. She being of Mediterranean descent could convey paragraphs of discussion with her eyes. Her doctor asked Liviu to get on the exam table to check his heart. In minutes Liviu was being taken to the hospital where the doctor told her he had colon cancer Liviu wanted to go home. He had other plans. His love for Ara was never expressed in words. She knew.
He did not want to suffer. He made up excuses for leaving the hospital and went home. He sought solace in his home. He looked at Ara at home and after she retired he wrote her a note. He wrote her “I will see you in heaven.”
Most of the cancers of the large intestine are believed to have developed from polyps. Cancer of the colon and rectum can invade and damage adjacent tissues and organs. Unfortunately, colon cancers can be well advanced before they are discovered. The most effective prevention of colon cancer is early detection and removal of precancerous colon polyps before they turn cancerous. Even in cases where cancer has already developed, early detection still significantly improves the chances of a cure by surgically removing the cancer before the disease spreads to other organs.
Liviu went for his colon surgery a few days later. The malignancy was removed and Liviu’s colon was reconnected and he went home within a week. Home was a good place to be. Ara was glad she had insisted he go to her doctor. Liviu would have several more years to enjoy his life.