“I’ve had 20 more years of life”
Nearly two decades ago, Mary Lou Decker of Pittsfield probably saved her own life when she had a colonoscopy, even though she felt great and wasn’t particularly eager to undergo the test. Yet, the screening procedure revealed she had colon cancer.
She scheduled the screening after taking a fecal occult blood test ordered by her primary care physician during her annual physical. FOBT finds hidden blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of cancer. Mary Lou’s test was positive.
Nonetheless, for a variety of reasons, she put off the colonoscopy for another year. “I didn’t pursue it,” she said. “I felt so well. But I ended up taking a chance with my life.”
After surgery and chemotherapy, Mary Lou has been in remission ever since, and has continued having a colonoscopy every 10 years to make sure she remained healthy. “I’ve had 20 more years with my husband, children, and grandchildren,” she said. In fact, her third great-grandchild is on the way. “I’ve had 20 more years of life! I’m so thankful.”