I had breakfast with U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher earlier this week and the former East Bay congresswoman shared the compelling and inspiring story of her remarkable triumph over esophageal cancer.
I didn’t have space in the piece but I shared with Ellen that morning about how her experience had already helped me in a very personal way.
Last March, the Washington Post wrote a lovely story about her recovery and as I read through the text, I keyed in on Ellen’s description of the early symptoms: Trouble swallowing bulky foods, a sensation of something blocking her esophagus.
My husband had been experiencing the very same symptoms for months. He had recently suffered a painful episode while eating a salad at a restaurant.
I showed him the news story and he made an appointment.
The initial examination revealed a potential problem and his doctor scheduled an endoscopy. Fortunately, the scope found a highly treatable inflammation and not cancer.
But for all we knew at the time, the symptoms could have been associated with a far more serious health problem. And early detection is a good thing when it comes to the successful treatment of cancer.
So, take Ellen’s advice: Even if you think all you need is another roll of Tums, go see your doctor. Do it for the people who love you.