Blessedly for you and for me, I promise you this may be one of my shortest blog posts of all time. But it may be one of the more important ones.
If you recognize that beautifully shot still life photo at the top of today's post, you'll know where we're headed. If not, listen up, because this one could literally be a matter of life and death.
While you're reading this, I'm undergoing a routine colonoscopy (whatever “routine” means). There is colon cancer on several branches of my family tree, so I've been undergoing these tests every five years for the last few decades.
Until this year. My “anniversary” rolled around last summer but I was too busy to schedule a colonoscopy. And then COVID happened, and I started rationalizing why I didn't want to bother with another of these tests right now. And so I've stalled, delayed, postponed, procrastinated – you name it, I've come up with novel delays and clever excuses.
And then in late July, The Ticket's morning host, Jamie Samuelsen, surprised his listeners with the sad news that he had been battling colon cancer for more than a year. A couple days later, he was gone.
Jamie was just 48, married with three young kids. I had the pleasure of working with him, first at WRIF and then WCSX a few years back. We had not met before socially, so this was my opportunity to get to know him.
And what a class act. Not only was he warm, sane, and smart, Jamie was a team player. His role changed more than once in a short period of time while we worked together. But his focus was always on what was good for the stations, the cluster.
Jamie and his partner at the time, Bob Wojnowski (Wojo) also made a cameo appearance at our second DASH Conference here in Detroit. By then, he was becoming a fixture on The Ticket, where he would later move to mornings, co-anchoring with veteran Mike Stone.
When Jamie finally talked about his medical condition, his message to his listeners was a simple one:
“For years, the whole joke has been, ‘you turn 50, you get that colonoscopy.' I'm trying to advise men and women of our age to get it sooner rather than later. I've had three very close friends already who told me that they got a colonoscopy because I did, and they found polyps early and had them removed. And I'm so grateful for that.”
Count me in. Jamie's admission on the air was all the incentive I needed to make the appointment for my belated colonoscopy. So, yesterday was “prep day” (believe me, I'd rather be preparing for a morning show), and today's the “big dance.”
You've seen the ongoing meme on social media these past few months. It's been all about the continued onslaught of bad news throughout 2020. Just when you think it couldn't possibly get worse, it does.
Chadwick Boseman passing over the weekend of colon cancer was another grim reminder of what Jamie Samuelsen hoped to get across. Boseman was just 43, a brilliant actor full of talent and promise. In their shortened careers, both Boseman and Samuelsen were stars in their communities, influential to many, leaving behind family and friends heartbroken by their passing.
And they should both grab your attention. As you know, I'm not a celebrity by any means. I'm a radio consultant with a blog that a lot of you read.
So, I hope you read today's post, take Jamie's words to heart, and even in this year of COVID where health is the lead story on virtually every newscast, think about your own well-being, as well as your friends, family members, and co-workers – the people who count on you.
The American Cancer Society has moved the recommended age for a colonoscopy down to 45. That's because the incidence rate of colon cancer has gone up among younger people. And even when you hit “the fourth floor” as both Samuelsen and Boseman had, it's not a bad time to have that conversation with your doctor, especially if you have a family history like mine.
Condolences to both Boseman's and Samulsen's friends and loved ones.
Thanks for indulging me with today's post, I'll be back tomorrow with a (hopefully) more pleasant topic.
Meanwhile, time to go. 🙂
Postscript: As usual, the prep is far worse than the procedure. I'm back, I'm fine, and just had a delicious (greasy) breakfast of corned beef hash & eggs. Thanks for your kind thoughts and good wishes. I hope the post resonated. You are appreciated. – FJ
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