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Get checked, prevent FAP

Dear Editor,

Last September, our daughter, Valerie was diagnosed with familial adenomatous polyposis, (FAP), an inherited condition in which numerous polyps form mainly in the large intestine. I inherited this from my mother, who inherited it from her father. Over the span of five generations, this disease has affected the lives of 22 people on my side of the family.

Never, would I had thought that Valerie was sick. She didn’t exhibit any of the classic symptoms that are associated with FAP. Whether by divine intervention, coincidence, or fate, a situation occurred to alert us that she was, in fact, sick. I like to think it was divine intervention arranging a coincidence to fulfill a fate.

I’ll never forget the look in our daughter’s eyes, and the pain in her cries, after hearing Dr. Hugh Nabors in Decatur telling us the results of the colonoscopy, and the only option for this disease, which is colon removal. Albeit out of my control, I’ll never forget the feelings I felt, knowing that I passed this disease to a very beautiful young lady.

It’s been eight months now since this ordeal began. Lab results of the removed colon was Stage II colon cancer. She’s had four surgeries altogether, one in Decatur, three at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville. Two were routine, and two were very unexpected. Each time, she recuperated quickly. She is one tough, strong-willed, determined young lady.

I want to reiterate a previously published letter of thanks that I submitted to this paper. The kind words of support, prayers, flowers, gifts, phone calls, and cards that we received was overwhelming, and deeply appreciated. All of these little things assured us that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and as Mrs. Edith Bennich loves to say, “God is in control,” and He will not forsake us. When one door seemed to close in front of us, another door miraculously opened.

From what we have seen recently, FAP knows no age, gender, or ethnic background. You can be the 10th person in the family diagnosed with it, or the first. Get checked! Early detection and treatment significantly raises the survival rate. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Mike Dowdy