“If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.” – Mik Everett
Eric was a beloved husband, father, son, brother and veteran. He lost his vibrant, beautiful life on September 29th, 2016 to metastatic Colon Cancer at the age of 47, leaving behind our 21 plus year relationship and 2 young adult daughters. He was never screened for Colon Cancer because he was “too young” for a colonoscopy. 10% of people diagnosed with Colon Cancer are under the age of 50, the medically approved screening age. When it is diagnosed in people under 50, it is usually found in advanced stages because it does not present symptoms until it has metastasized. Currently, 10% of the Colon Cancer population is collateral damage in this broken system and this cancer is consistently on the rise in younger people in recent years.
Stage III Colon Cancer has a 70% survival rate past 5 years with treatment. Stage IV Colon Cancer has a 5% survival rate past 5 years. In other words, Stage IV Colon Cancer is a terminal diagnosis – or more accurately put – a death sentence. The difference in survival rates between these two stages is staggering. Stage I and Stage II are completely curable. Something needs to be done about the protocols of screening people under 50. The American Cancer Society has recently lowered the recommended screening age to 45. This is 3 years too late for Eric, but it is progress. Pay attention to your body, talk to your family members about their histories of colon related issues, and request to be screened early.
Because of what happened to my husband, I requested to be screened early. Two precancerous polyps were removed from my colon. Who knows what my fate would have been had I waited until I turned 50. Eric did not have to die.
Read my Eulogy from my husband’s Memorial Service. It is published through my author blog.
To learn more about my husband’s life, a life of impeccable integrity, read his Memorial Article in the West Point AOG’s 2017 Edition of TAPS Magazine.
In loving memory of Eric John DeJong