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it is well
I owe you a few life updates.

If you’re reading this, you know that I launched the site redesign two weeks ago. Big stuff! A bit stressful, but ultimately so rewarding and a great move for this little corner of the internet.

But that is not the only thing I have had going on these past couple of weeks.

The day after the new site launched (on Tuesday), my momma had a colonoscopy, during which they found 6 polyps. That Thursday we learned that she has colon cancer.

Boy, cancer is a terrifying word to hear. It brings with it so many questions, so many unknowns. It brings with it the frightening realization that yes, indeed, your loved one is as human as anyone else and, despite your previous beliefs that they must be immortal – because the ones we love always seem to be when we are young – something could certainly happen to them. Our family history does not favor our colon health – my maternal grandfather has battled cancerous polyps for half of his life and Momma’s uncle died from colon cancer.

And yet, in so many ways we are blessed. The cancer is very early stage – the doctors will be performing a resection this Wednesday afternoon, during which they will remove the portion of her large intestine that contains the cancer. The doctors are quite confident that the surgery – which will be performed laparoscopically and will have a relatively short recovery time of 2-4 weeks – will take care of this. Apart from having to have colonoscopies every 6-18 months for the rest of her life, she should not require any additional treatment.

I write to tell you all of this for a number of reasons.

First, I will be heading home this week to be with my parents during and just after the surgery. Things may go a bit silent around here and on social media. Please bear with me as I spend time with my family and make sure Momma Swope is ok. As much as I love you all, that is the most important thing right now.

Second, I ask for your prayers. While the doctors feel certain this is easily managed, I ask for prayers that this would indeed be the case. That the surgery would go brilliantly with no complications and that her recovery would be short. Pray also for my daddy for physical and emotional strength as he cares for her during her recovery (I will only be able to stay for a few days due to work).

And lastly, please do me this favor: take care of yourselves. Colon cancer is so preventable. Are colonoscopies fun? No. (Trust me, I know better than anyone – due to my ulcerative colitis, I had 4 of them before I turned 25.) But truly, they save lives. If you are having any suspicious symptoms, go talk to your doctor immediately. My great-uncle waited for a year after first seeing symptoms to speak to a doctor. By that time the cancer had spread so far that he had no shot against it. Even if you, like my momma, are not having symptoms, go get yourself checked. If everything is hunky-dory, you won’t need to go back annually. The Colon Cancer Alliance has great info available about screenings, who should be screened, and how family history and genetics come into play. Educate yourself and help spread the word.

Thank you all for your love, support and prayers this week and always.

Xoxo,
-S

51 Comments

    1. Thanks, Char. I’ll be ok, but you see about yourself if you haven’t. I’ll be seeing you next summer at our reunion! We have parties to attend and future grandchildren to spoil. No time for this foolishness. I so appreciate your prayers. Love you, xoxo

  1. Thinking and praying for your family, Stephie! Cancer is such a scary thing, but early diagnosis is key. We found out last summer that my dad had lung cancer when he was having a routine test for his heart condition. He, too, had to have surgery and ended up having one lung removed. Thankfully, we found out after his 3rd round of chemo that he was in remission and didn’t have to have his 4th round like they initially planned!

    I hope and pray that your mom has great results with the surgery and a speedy recovery. The Camps will be thinking about you guys!

    Xo,
    Chels

    1. Thank you so much, Chelsea. Your prayers and support mean everything! So glad everything turned out ok for your dad, too. Routine testing sure does save lives! xoxo

  2. Sending lots of love, hugs, and prayers to your Momma and family! Hoping for the best outcome and a speedy recovery!

  3. Oh wow. Thinking of you and your family during this time, Stephie! Thanks for making everyone aware of this because it’s SO important. Just like your great-uncle, my uncle did the same and waited it out and he had no chance. This is so preventable! Prayers for a speedy recovery for your mom and a smooth surgery! xoxoxo

    1. It is so easy to prevent! The only reason we didn’t catch this sooner is because insurance wouldn’t pay for a routine colonoscopy sooner, regardless of family history. Can you believe that?? Thank you so much for the love and prayers. xoxo

  4. Stephie, I am so sorry. Mama Swope I’m thinking about you and best of luck with surgery. Sending positive thoughts to a speedy recovery to remission. Xoxoxo

  5. Sweet Stephie, you know how I feel about this situation. I taught colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention and early detection for 10 years while at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. You may remember my annual gig every March when I portrayed the exuberant Dancing Polyp on Dress in Blue Day the first Friday of March. I also had the pleasure of portraying a Polypette in the unforgettable Cancer Queens number, “And Then She Had a Colonscopy.” Your mother made our polyp costumes which always people always complimented–especially the fringe and sequins.

    People used to ask me how I could be so passionate about CRC. It was (and still is) because it’s a happy thing to tell people how to prevent a cancer or detect it while it’s in the early stages and can be successfully treated. All colon cancers originate as a polyp. Polyps can grow for months and years without a single symptom. This is why screening is so critical. Colonscopies are the gold standard for CRC screening at this time. No matter how people feel about the Affordable Care Act, one of the best benefits is that insurance companies must cover colonoscopies. This wasn’t the case before ACA. I told your mother that her diagnosis is the perfect example of why regular screenings are so important. A colonoscopy literally saved her life.

    Thank you for writing this potentially lifesaving post. Love you to pieces!

    1. I love you. And, I really did think that maybe if I made those costumes, the cancer would allude me. We smushed the Polypette the other day, and I took great joy in that. xoxo <3

  6. Jules, hang in there. You can beat this. I know just how tough you are. Lots of love and prayers going out for you nn

  7. I’m so sorry to hear about Mama Swope! She’s a blessed woman, diagnosed early with a wonderful family and so many people she doesn’t even know who have her back! Hoping for a safe, speedy recovery and that the cancer is irradicated. Thinking of you all with lots f love.

    Andrea

    1. I’m truly blown away by the love and prayers that are going on right now. God has blessed me, and I feel the love surrounding us. Please continue them, especially on Wednesday. Stephie has beautiful blogging friends. Wish I could hug all of you, but please accept my thanks from the bottom of my heart. Love, Momma Swope <3

  8. Love you Julie, Stephie, et.al. Julie is strong and a kindred spirit, and you all are in my thoughts, prayers, and have my sincere love. Keep care my friends. When you’re ready for jokes, I have a ton. They sure do help. LOVE, Claudia

    1. Love you, too and have been praying for your health. You can’t keep old musicians down. I’m sure there’s a joke there somewhere, just don’t know it. 😉 xoxo ~J.

  9. Praying right now!! And continually throughout the week. Julie, you are a strong, generous and beautiful soul and it has been a privilege to get to know you via the blogosphere. I know how horrible the impact of cancer can be upon and individual and family (my own mum had breast cancer a couple of years ago and had to undergo surgery, chemo and radio) but modern medicine is amazing and I am glad that things have been identified early on. My own mum survived in God’s strength and now we have an almighty story to tell about His goodness. When you go into surgery, know that we will be holding you in our prayers!! Stephie, thanks for sharing this with us. Sending you heaps of love, wish I could hug you both for real!! Xxx

    1. I’ll take those virtual hugs!! Thank you for your prayers. That’s what is awesome about prayer–you can be on the other side of the world, and God hears them the same as if you were with us in the hospital. Your prayers (and everyone else’s) are what will carry us through the next few days. Bless you, and thank you. Someday, we will get a real hug. xx <3

  10. I’m so sorry that you and your family have to go through this but it sounds like your mom is so strong and that she will get to the other side of this very quickly. I’ll be thinking of you this week and sending many positive thoughts your way!

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