I would like to start off by debunking a popular myth; a myth that states the following, “colorectal cancer is an old man’s disease.” On September 4th, 1996, I was diagnosed with stage III colorectal cancer, just three months following my high school graduation, I was hardly an “old man.” By proving the falsity of the aforementioned “myth,” I am hoping to bring attention to the importance of getting screened for colorectal cancer, and doing so before the suggested age of fifty.
While I understand the difficulty behind, (no pun intended) discussing colorectal cancer, I can assure you learning of, and discussing the preventive measures one must take to assure his or her health, is a lot easier than finding out your health is in jeopardy. As I alluded to, the preventive measures for colorectal cancer are far from fun. No one volunteers for colonoscopies, or drinks barium as a means to quench their thirst.
With that being said, I believe its important to go in with a “game plan.” My “game plan” has consisted of three things; laughter, loved ones and beards. Someone once said that, “laughter is the best medicine,” and I couldn’t agree more, as I have countless memories of well timed jokes helping me forget my ills. Secondly, and maybe the most important, surrounding yourself with loved ones. As of today, I am almost twenty years out from a cancer diagnosis where I was given only a forty percent chance to live, and I whole heartedly believe that I wouldn’t be able to refer to myself as a “survivor,” without the love and support of my family and friends.
Last, but certainly not least, my beard. When I first decided to grow my beard I did so without much thought. As my beard grew, I noticed that I was spending a lot of time running my fingers through it and combing it with my hands. I went from having whiskers which served no purpose, to a built in stress reliever on my face, this was great! From there I started maintaining my beard by trimming and sculpting it, I wouldn’t leave the house with out my beard looking “awesome.” My beard then became a conversation piece, as I would get questions, as well as compliments on it when I went out. This is where I began to think to myself that my beard can serve a greater purpose than just a stress reliever and attention grabber, my beard can spread awareness. With all the different campaigns having catchy slogans which bring attention to a specific disease, why isn’t there one for colorectal cancer? Then it hit me, “Beards for Butts.” From goatees, to chinstraps, to mutton chops and soul patches, or my personal favorite, “The Abraham Lincoln.” Is there a better way to bring awareness than growing a fabulous beard? Not only is a beard “awesome,” it’s a great segue into the reason for growing your beard in the first place, colorectal cancer awareness.
Lets say it loud, and say it proud, “Beards for Butts!”
Follow Kristofer on instagram @kristoferadam96