Colon health can be a hard subject to talk about, especially when we feel embarrassed about our symptoms. But seeking help at the first signs of a health issue can save lives.
For months, psychologist Kay Gorsuch had been dealing with what she assumed were hemorrhoids when she made an appointment with her primary care doctor at Kaiser Permanente.
The doctor listened to Kay’s concerns. Though Kay was only 40 years old and had no family history of colon health issues, her doctor sent her to a specialist for a colorectal screening, a test regularly recommended for adults beginning at age 50.
The procedure revealed late-stage colon cancer. After running more tests, doctors discovered that the cancer had also spread to her lymph nodes.
“The predominant emotion I had during the whole course, and even now, is anxiety,” Kay said
Dr. Johnson helped ease her anxiety. “Dr. Johnson approaches the patient as the whole human in terms of the emotional piece, the physical piece, and the spirituality piece,” Kay said. “When you’re facing a life threatening illness, these are the questions that come up in a doctor’s office.”
Kay fought the colon cancer, and completed her treatment. She returned to work. Five years later, Kay remains cancer-free.
“The concern about embarrassment or tough conversations is nothing compared to the potential of losing your life,” Kay said. “I really do feel Kaiser Permanente saved my life.”