Monday, May 19, 2014

Warning:You May be Tripped Up by Unexpected Emotions! You're Not Alone.

(You can listen to me read this post by clicking on the arrow above)

I don't normally tell anyone when I'm going for a check-up at the doctor.  

It's almost like posting a picture of what I ate for dinner, on Facebook….. Not very interesting.

But on returning home from this particular visit, my emotions are choking me.

I feel tears welling and I'm shocked that my body is responding this way to a routine appointment.

But here's the thing…….. 

I went to the gastrointerologist to schedule my colonoscopy. This is my second in 5 years. I was 43 when I had my first. 


Because at 59, my dad died from colon cancer after battling it for a year…... And my internist and gastro are not taking any chances. 

So really, I should just feel relieved that I'm in such caring and capable hands.


as anyone who has lost someone that they loved, knows……
it's the unexpected moments that trigger memories and trip you up.

Not that anniversaries are easy, but you are often more prepared for particular days and recognize these situations can evoke strong emotions.

I have to say, this doctor's visit wasn't on my "Be prepared for an  emotional response." list.

As we went over my family history, the gentle doc asked me again about my dad: when he was diagnosed  and so on. The doc is probably the age my dad was, when he had his first symptoms. He looked at me sadly and knowingly.

It was then, with that small nod of his head, and few moments of silence that he signaled how sorry he was.

It was at that minute, that so much came to the forefront of my mind.

That my father was in the prime of his life.

That if he'd had the kind of care that I have now, he would be alive today.

That I was in this doctor's office at an age when most people haven't had their first colonoscopy, because my father was young but diagnosed too late.

That this doctor's sensitivity and kindness echoed for me the same gentle personality my father had. And in some way it felt as though my father was making sure I was getting the caring I needed, along with the expertise.

This doctor was interested in me, in my children, in what I do. He was glad to hear that Jonny's trigeminal neuralgia is under such good control since I last saw him. 

And he was interested in my journey from educator to blogger in response to my husband's illness and that my main  goal is to bring people comfort.

My Dad would have taken the same interest and care in me.

It's been 15 1/2 years since I spoke to him last.

And that is why my tears are falling.

I miss him terribly.

Have you ever been tripped up by an unexpected emotion - e.g...sadness, fear, rage, delight? 

Please share you story below, so others know they are not alone. 

Tell me what happened, how you felt and how you coped. 

What brought you the most comfort at that time?What brings you comfort now?

Sending love to you all.


P.S. If it's time for your colonoscopy, please don't put it off. When detected early, colon cancer is one of the most curable.

P.P.S. You can always email me at or contact me via 
Twitter @bringingcomfort

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  1. Wow - I can sort of relate since my husband's mother died of colon cancer at the age of 50, shortly after my husband and I got married. She too was in the prime of her life (and my husband is now the age at which she died). She lived to see her son married and her daughter engaged, but never saw any grandchildren.

    1. It's been interesting to me to see how my view of my father's dying has developed as I have grown closer in age to that of my parents friends at that time. I was aware that his friends were terribly upset and shocked but didn't really grasp that although he died far too young, it was far too young for them as well and for many of them it was one of the first of their very dear friends. I'm so sorry that your mother-in-law died from colon cancer at such a young age. We can't make up for what they have missed, but we can do our best to keep their memories alive and take care of our own health. Gillyx

  2. {{{Hugs}}} Your PS is right on. My hubby was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 38!!! They almost ignored the symptoms only because of his young age. He would not be here now if they had. He was stage 3A (it didn't look good when they found the tumor) and now is cancer-free. A colonoscopy is not to be skipped! My daughter needs to start getting her colonoscopies by age 28 (because of her father). I know he is proud of you for getting your check-ups. Sadly, not everyone does that. I'm sorry for your loss - and yours Tesyaa. {{Hugs}} and blessings,

    1. Thank goodness they didn't ignore your husband's symptoms completely.I'm so glad to hear he is cancer free. That must have been a scary time for you all.

      A friend sent me an article today that says in the UK that the doctors' guide is to only send people over 60 with one symptom, for a colonoscopy. There is no age at which everyone is screened automatically as there is in the USA. Patients aged 40-60 must have 2 symptoms or more. For under 40's there's an assumption that it must be something else because they are too young to have bowel cancer.

      A 19 yr old in the UK -Stephen Sutton who made huge headlines, died of colon cancer last week. he said his diagnosis was delayed by 6 months from when he first had symptoms.

      If you are young and have symptoms that are abnormal, you really have to advocate for testing and if you hit the 50 mark don't hold back! Thanks so much for your comment and thank you for sharing your story. Gillyx

  3. Have found this to be so true since my own father's death 16 months ago. Feelings really do live in our body and find their way out when they need to. Hugs to you. And so happy you are taking such good care of yourself!

    1. Stephanie- I love your line, "Feelings really do live in your body and find their way out when they need to." That certainly explains why they show themselves at unexpected moments! Thanks for reading and for your lovely message. Gillyx

  4. Sitting in a NYC cafe, waiting for a friend, weeping. Missing you and wishing I could be a better support. This is a beautiful post. I hope you had some chocolate after writing this. I know I will...

    1. Thank you….Yes and my Dad would have approved of chocolate as a balm!Hope you enjoyed your chocolate fix. Gillyx

  5. Thank you. It's good you're having your test on time. I took a friend for a colonoscopy recently and there were many tears as her husband died two years ago with cancer and mine a few years before that. The medical setting touched both of us, as well as the kindness of the doctor and assistants. I'll have my test this summer. I imagine it will move me to be on the table instead of the one holding someone's hand. I expect these "unexpected" emotional moments and unusual triggers. Happiness, loss, a memory, visiting a certain place, or nothing I can name brings a flood of feeling. I don't mind. A wave of love follows the tears. Thanks again, Gilly.

    1. At the time, my younger sister was working as a doctor in the hospital in which my father died. Bravely she goes back there to consult, sometimes. I don't know how she does it, knowing there are so many memories there. But you can't avoid places forever just in case they stir up old wounds.
      Actually being 'tripped up' and feeling the grief was cathartic and for me the tears are because of the love. :-). The tears remind me how lucky I was to have a Dad I loved so much and who loved me, unconditionally. Thank you for sharing a story and your triggers for emotional moments Elaine. It's an honor and pleasure to know you and once more I'm grateful to Twitter for our 'meeting" . Gillyx

  6. Been doing them since college! Just a necessary hassle but well worth it. And the new drugs are soooo much better. I have some funny stories about extraordinary gas passing behind curtains in the hospital or after the procedure in a posh doctor's office. Then there was the time a handsome attendant started asking me casual questions with my bum hanging out. The prep is tedious but well well worth it. Stay away from fried food. Eat roughage. Coffee help clear the system. Quick yoga breath OUT activates the muscle that relieves constipation. Stay regular.

    . Thanks Gilly-I haven't talked about this outside my family in years!

    1. Thanks for the advice and glad to help it all come out!LOL. Gillyx

  7. Absolutely beautiful, Gilly. I wish I had met your dear father.

  8. I'm so sorry about your father, Gilly. It's uncanny how our senses can bring emotions to the forefront. A particular smell, a song or a family member with the same mannerisms as the departed loved one, all can get our emotions to trip us up. I guess the emotions are always there, just waiting for a chance to show up.

    When we first moved to our current home, our neighbor introduced herself. Upon further conversation, she confirmed that she was from Charleston, SC. I knew this already, because when she opened her mouth, it was as if my beloved grandmother was speaking (she passed away in 1994, and had grown up in Charleston). I tried so hard to keep from crying during our entire conversation.

    I am sure all this was doubly hard for you because of the health connection with your dad. Sending you hugs across the miles!

    1. Thank you Marie -Your hugs are greatly appreciated! Yes I think the emotions are always there and actually I find it comforting that they do still show up -it means as Elaine points out above, that my love for my Dad is as strong as ever. It's the unexpectedness that catches us off guard as your story demonstrates. Love to you. Gillyx