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West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

Do What Vince Lombardi Wouldn't Do

Personal, Packers

The other day, I did something that Vince Lombardi wouldn’t do. I had a colonoscopy. That’s right, the legendary coach, known for his inspirational speeches and coaching brilliance refused to have this routine exam. Vince Lombardi died far too young at the age of 57. I recently turned 50, which is why my doctor and I decided I should have a colonoscopy. I have no history of colon cancer in my family, nor have I had any concerns. I just knew it was time.

I have to tell you, I was not looking forward to this. First of all, I had read humor columnist Dave Barry’s account of his own colonoscopy. Although hilarious, it scared me a teeny bit. Anything that involves food deprivation is something I avoid. Nevertheless, I’m all about prevention rather than treatment.

I will also tell you what everyone else told me prior to my own colonoscopy: the prep is the worst part. And it’s true. I promise. Here’s what I remember about my procedure: NOTHING. Seriously, I had the most glorious nap of my life.

Talking to the doctor who did the colonoscopy, he informed me that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the United States, ahead of breast cancer. (Third leading cause in men and women combined.) And here’s the thing: through colorectal screenings (like colonoscopies), it’s 90% preventable. 90%! Why isn’t everyone doing this? I’m guessing fear.

You may remember back in 1998 when Katie Couric’s husband passed away at the very young age of 42 from colon cancer. Katie, suddenly a single mother, became a staunch advocate of colorectal screenings which may have saved her husband. Many other people have joined her in that mission.

This week, while everyone is basking in the glow of the Packers’ Super Bowl win, there was a lot of talk about bringing home the Lombardi Trophy. Wouldn’t it have been great if Vince Lombardi had been around a few more years to share his wit and wisdom?

If you’re my age or older, talk to your doctor about colorectal screenings. You owe it to yourself and your family to do something that Vince Lombardi wouldn’t but should have done.

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