On poop emoji, and drinking prep out of a martini glass

poop emojiBy Candi Graves, volunteer

Why do smiling poop emoji’s exist? 

Comedian Dane Cook said it’s a favorite of women everywhere: “Coffee cup coffee cup equals poop poop!”

But really, I think it exists solely for my sister who one day each year gets the opportunity to channel her junior high self and giggle as she fills my cell with line after line of them.  Colonoscopy prep day.

I never knew my grandfather Malcolm.  He died almost three decades before I was born.  Colon cancer took his life at the age of 35, leaving my grandmother widowed with four children.  My uncle Rick was the first of my grandfather’s children to be diagnosed with colon cancer, also in his thirties.  My cousin Marty was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer at the age of 32, and while he was undergoing chemotherapy, we discovered that his mother and my father both also had colon cancer.  While they lived, Marty lost his battle.

Fast forward a decade or so, and today the last standing sibling is still gaining strength back from the surgeries she underwent a couple months ago to remove the cancer in her colon.

Were you keeping track?  Did I lose you?  That’s six people in my family that have had colon cancer, two of which lost their lives in their thirties.  I like to think that God always has a plan, right?  Sometimes I wonder if that plan for Marty’s sickness was to be the catalyst that saved so many other members of our family.  Maybe even my own one day.

Candi Graves volunteer blogLynch Syndrome is an inherited condition that increases your risk of colon cancer to around 80%.  Simply, it’s a genetic mutation that leads to the body’s inability to repair minor mistakes in damaged DNA.  It is estimated that 3% of all colon cancers are Lynch Syndrome.  As if that wasn’t awesome enough, people with Lynch Syndrome usually develop colon cancer before their 50’s.

I have Lynch Syndrome.  Because I’m a woman, it also puts me at up to a 60% chance of endometrial cancer.  Sometimes I feel like I won a kind of lottery that you don’t really want to win.  That’s exactly what I’m thinking as I walk up to the pharmacy counter yesterday.

“You’re going to have a fun day,” the young pharmacist said as he slid my poop cocktail (poo-cka-tail) of sorbitol and magnesium citrate across the counter to me.  I just shrug my shoulders and tell him I belong to an exclusive member’s only club and walk away as he ponders what the hell that means.

As I sit here sipping my “poo-ckatail” out of a martini glass (because I’m a lady, that’s why!), I am thinking about all of you.

So here it is.  The ask.  The lesson in it all.

Do you have family history of colon cancer?  Can you name more than one who has had colon cancer?  Are you under 50 and think you’re not at risk?

Everyone is at risk for colon cancer. If you answered yes to the first two questions, you are at a greater risk.  Get screened!  It’s not that big of a deal, and it could be the difference that will save your life.  Plus, it’s an amazing excuse for you to use the smiling poop emoji!