Nashville is known as the home of country music, Southern hospitality and warm weather. The morning of Saturday, March 26 dawned – and as luck would have it – it was windy and cold. But that didn’t stop the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Super Colon exhibit at Nashville’s Farmers’ Market.
What started out as a slow morning quickly began to change about the time “Elvis” was in the market. Folks loaded down with their fresh fruits and vegetables started strolling over to see why Elvis was hanging out with a large, 8 ft tall, 20 foot long, inflatable colon – and exactly what it was. Initially, there was a look of shock on some faces and a few skeptical comments ranging from, “Oh man, it’s really a colon,” followed quickly by, “I’m not going in there.” But one by one they filed through – and learned about colon cancer facts, risk factors and early detection. One young couple and their daughter traveled 30 miles to see the Super Colon, asked a few questions, and shared some concerns.
As I am with all Super Colon stops, I’m overwhelmed by the personal stories shared with me. One story in particular touched my heart. A woman of 57 came over with her 15 year-old son and told me how she had lost both of her parents to colon cancer in the last two years. Sadly, her father lost his fight after battling lung cancer previously. Before the family could heal from the loss, her mother became ill and the doctors, without testing, attributed it to anxiety over losing her husband. After 6 months, tests were finally performed and her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. She lost her fight within months. As the woman told the story and walked through the exhibit, she cried; the loss so evident in her every word and every step.
After talking more with the woman, I found she had yet to get a colonoscopy herself! Both she and her brother had planned to after their dad was diagnosed, but never got around to it. Then they talked about it again after their mother was diagnosed. Still, neither one had had a colonoscopy. I wanted to slap her and scream, “Wake up!” Instead I asked if she wanted her son to feel the same pain she was feeling right now? She looked at her son and, of course, the answer was no.
She left with my card and a promise to contact me as soon as she made her appointment, and again after the colonoscopy, to let me know how it went. Her son promised to nag her until she had scheduled an appointment and had the procedure. I hope I get an email from her soon.
I want to thank our partners that made the Nashville Super Colon stop possible; the Tennessee Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Both organizations did an outstanding job getting local media interested in the exhibit and getting the word out to the community. Also, our sincere gratitude to sanofi-aventis for sponsoring the event. Interested in learning more about colorectal cancer (CRC), want to ask a question or share your personal story? Visit ScreeningSaves.org .
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