Fernando: The topic of colonoscopy is extremely serious

I don't post comments very often on any site, but the topic of colonoscopy is extremely serious and can be a matter of life and death.

Before proceeding with my experience, I want to stress that I'm not posting this to bring attention to myself, but for anyone to use my experience as an awareness for oneself and to share with family and friends. If you are 50 years and above, male or female, and have not scheduled your colonoscopy, please do so. If there is a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer, then it will need to be scheduled sooner than 50.

I had my very first colonoscopy in the middle of February of 2014 at the age of 57, which I kept putting off ever since I turned 50. During the procedure the Doctor found a small cancerous tumor in the area of colon near the appendix. As result, on February 26, 2014, I underwent surgery to have the entire right segment of my colon with the tumor removed along with 18 lymph nodes. I was out of work for about a month recovering from the surgery. Thank God for my Surgeon Dr. John Lyons of Our Lady of the Lake for his expertise in being able to perform the surgery laparoscopically, otherwise it would have been a much more difficult and longer recovery time.

The cancerous tumor was removed from my body, however; one of the lymph nodes was affected. Because one lymph node out of the 18 was found to contain cancer cells, I had to undergo chemotherapy for a 6 month period which ended on September 2014. It turned out I had stage 3 cancer.

Despite what I have experienced, I feel very blessed that my cancer was caught just in time before it invaded my organs and the rest of my body. My follow up CT scan at the end of my chemo treatment in September was clear. I just had another colonoscopy in February 2015 and everything was clear. So I am cancer free for 1 year now.

I did kick myself in the beginning for not getting my colonoscopy done much sooner and could have avoided this ordeal. However, I thought I would redirect that energy into being an advocate for getting the word out to people about getting their colonoscopies done. I posted my experience on Facebook last year and I take any opportunity to spread the word about the importance of having a colonoscopy done. I am happy to report that many people I know who had put off getting their colonoscopy did get it done because of what I went through.

Thanks for taking the time to read my words and please share with your love ones and friends. Please don't delay in scheduling your colonoscopy when it's time. In closing, first I thank God for getting me through a tough period in my life and I thank my daughters for constantly being by my side and for all of their support. Also, I appreciate my other family members and friends who kept checking in on me.

Thanks WAFB for this platform to get the message out there.