Colon Cancer Sucks Ass

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"What's Up Your Butt?"

One of the greatest challenges faced by colorectal cancer advocacy groups is getting people to talk about their poop tube and the somewhat embarrassing symptoms that can be associated with a tumor growing “in there.” Not to mention trying to get people to believe that they not only need a colonoscopy, but that that they actually want to initiate the whole process of bowel “cleansing” and getting scoped via their “back door“ (so many euphemisms, so little time *sigh*). Let’s face it -- this is a dark place where people dread to tread, yet alone talk about. So, advocacy groups have to get creative…

Humor is a great way to break the ice in almost any uncomfortable situation. If delivered effectively, it can lead to laughter…and laughter just makes everything better and more bearable (at least it does in my world). Here are a few great examples of this tactic:

1) Public service video by Rose Hausmann (an amazing survivor), "It's Easy" @

2) Ms. Butt Meddler's hilarious video, "Lookin' Up My Back Door" @

3) The attention-grabbing "Cover Your Butt" T-shirts that Fight Colorectal Cancer advocates wore around D.C. for 2010's Call On Congress:

Many of you have probably heard about’s recent add campaign that has had mixed reviews, and whose billboards have actually been banned in some cities. The controversial ads feature an individual wearing a cross between a pained and quizzical expression next to the phrase: “What’s up your butt?”

Party poopers say it is in “poor taste.” Me? I think it is awesomely clever. It at once makes me giggle and wonder what the ad is referring to…it makes me want to go home and google it to find out what they think might be up my butt exactly.

As a hospital nurse with a warped sense of humor, my immediate thoughts upon seeing the images of the billboards went to strange objects that patients have swallowed or placed up their own butts (my favorite was one of those super tiny library pencils -- don’t ask me why). Then I thought maybe it could be an ad for some new laxative that is proven to effectively treat constipation or, perhaps, anal-retentive natures. My love of the “X-Files” led my wandering mind down the path of alien abductions and those uncomfortable probes they use…

The colorectal cancer advocate in me, however, knew exactly what the billboard was asking, and thought it was brilliant. Maybe there could be a subtler or “classier” way to discuss colorectal cancer, but cancer is never respectful in its introductions to our bodies, so why do we have to be? Besides, any discussion on this topic is good; any publicity about colon cancer and its prevention is wonderful. Am I right?!

What are your thoughts? What ideas do you have to creatively educate the public about colorectal cancer? What would be a better way to grab people’s attention without them feeling the need to instinctively clench their butt cheeks and run the other way? How do we open the door to the "back door"?


Sunday, June 05, 2011


I have struggled this past year with posting on Christy's blog. On one hand I want to keep it "alive," but on the other hand I feel like my words don't quite live up to those of Christine. The following is a common conversation I've had with myself for a while now:

Mandy: Of course your words and thoughts don't live up to Christy's, Mandy! Nobody can replace the original person that you love and miss so much -- duh.

Me: But I do want to honor my best friend's memory.

Mandy: Well then write for cripes sake!

Me: But it's not my story to tell.

Mandy: Maybe not, but her story has definitiely become a big part of your story -- her friendship and loss have had a major impact on your life, after all.

Me: You have a point. My life is better for having known her...but reliving the loss is so hard.

Mandy: Maybe that is what is really keeping you from telling Christy's story -- grief?

Me: Probably. I still miss her every day. When something bad happens, I want to call her and tell her about it. When something good happens, I wish she were there to share it with me. Damn it! Why did she have to leave us?!

Mandy: It is not fair -- it never is.

Me: And Christy was so right: Cancer does suck ass!

Mandy: As I see it, you have two choices: 1)Continue sharing her story; or 2)Hold your memories inside, and keep them private and close to your heart. The second option may not help anyone else, but it may bring comfort to you.

Me: You make option 2 sound so selfish when you put it that way...

Mandy: Maybe because it kind of is, but nobody would blame you for grieving in your own way.

Me: I can't help but wonder what Christy would want me to do. Maybe I should make a bracelet with "WWCD?" inscribed on it -- ha!

Mandy: Now, we both know Christy would love that! :-)

Me: Look at that! We made me laugh!

Mandy: Laughter is always good. In fact, Christy always said it was the one single thing that made her feel "normal."

Me: Out of respect, I will leave the obvious response to that last comment alone ;-) Maybe I could tell some of her funnier stories? To make others laugh?

Mandy: You could give it a try -- never hurts to try. Although, it does hurt to laugh sometimes :-)

Me: You do realize that not only am I talking to myself, but I am also basically texting myself. Mortifying.

Mandy: Yes it is.

Me: Gee, thanks, Mandy.

Mandy: No problemo. That's what I'm here for, girlfriend! *SNAP*

Me: Christy? Is that you?....

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Christy,

Thirty four years.......I remember the first time I saw you. You looked just like I had dreamed. You were such a happy baby. You first smiled when you were just a few days old. My sister told me that it was gas but I new it was actually a smile because when you smiled, your whole face would smile. When you were old enough to stand in your crib, I would come in your room in the morning and you would bounce up and down and just laugh. One of your favorite things to do was sit under the kitchen table. I'm not sure why but it always made you laugh. We went on a camping trip for your first birthday. You were still learning to walk on your own. So your dad and I spent two days bent over holding your hands so you could walk. On that trip, you were up and ready to go at 4 AM because it was so light outside. You brought so much joy into our lives.

We are staying at the lake right now and we had some interesting things happen early this morning around 3 AM. First your dad's phone played music twice, so he got up to check his phone and there weren't any call or messages. Shortly after that my phone played music three times so I got up to check my phone. Same thing, no calls or messages. Then this morning when I got up there were M&M's laying on the table. When your dad got back from golfing, I asked him if he had put the M&M's on the table and he said no. Now I'm not saying you did this but you have to admit that this is very strange and something you would get a great kick out of doing. I can almost hear you laughing. If you did do this, thank you. It has made today much easier.

I miss you so much.