The Dreaded Day. The one I have been fearing for over 20 years.
But first, here’s a (very) brief history of Ivor Ross.
This is my dad, on my wedding day, probably one of the best days of his life as well as ours.
I’m an only child so you won’t be surprised to learn that I was the sunshine in my dad’s life. He thought the world of me, and I of him.
My dad was born in 1928, the 6th of 9 children. Just too young to serve in WW2, he saw all his older brothers go off to fight and luckily all come back alive and physically unhurt, mentally – well – who knows. He did his national service and saw active service as part of that overseas. A sort of jack-of-all-trades and master of none he held various jobs and kept a pretty mean garden, growing plenty of fruit and veg for eating at home. There’s nothing quite like peas grown by your dad! A keen sportsman, good at football, bowls and billards and woe betide anyone who tried to take him on at whist. (Unless you were his brother or sister as they had all been brought up round a card table by their mother, my grandmother). Oh and he told tales – tall ones!
He married my mum in 1974, at her suggestion…. and I came along in 1976.
That’s my dad in a nutshell
So why am I telling you all this and what has it got to do with the Dreaded Day?
Sadly dad died less than two years after this photo was taken. Bowel cancer didn’t kill him in the end but while he was ill they discovered he had it. It wasn’t really suprising. His father, my grandfather, had died from it and 3 of his brothers and sisters had already died from it too.
I was 24. Not particularly young but not that old either.
Clearly there was a higher than average incidence of bowel cancer in the family, they said. I should speak to a genetic specialist, they said.
They got samples, tested them, looked for genetic markers but found none. At least none that they know indicate a genetic link. But the indicators are still there. There’s a high likelihood I too might develop bowel cancer.
But it’s OK cos I was only 24. All the occurrences within my family were older, way older so I didn’t need to worry about it – just yet.
At least not until I was 45.
I was advised to start getting regular colonoscopies every 3 years from the age of 45. Bowel Cancer is one of the most treatable cancers provided you catch it early. My limited understanding is that it takes time for the polyps to develop into cancerous lumps so catch the polyps early and you can even avoid the cancer altogether.
At 24 I had hoped that they would develop a less intrusive scanning method by the time I turned 45.
I’m 45 tomorrow.
So I’d like to use my 45th birthday to raise a little awareness of bowel cancer, remind us that it needn’t be a death sentence and raise some money for Macmillan Cancer Support who help so many people affected by cancer.
How you can help
If you’d like to make a donation then the easiest way is to buy a quiz! If you like a tea-time puzzle, my mum has been printing quizzes with the help of a couple of puzzling friends and the latest one is available to buy and download here. Just £1 and the full £1 goes to Black Isle Committee of Macmillan Cancer Support. My mum has been on their committee for over 20 years and has raised over £14000 with the quizzes alone.
If you’d like to make a larger donation to Macmillan Cancer Support then simply buy more quizzes (it’s up to you if you download it or not!). E.g. if you want to donate £10, buy 10 quizzes, the full £10 will go to Macmillan as I will cover any payment processing fee myself.
I’ll also be donating 10% of all my sales from both my Cards and Gift Wrap shop to the Black Isle Committee of Macmillan Cancer Support over the next week.