The 11th Commandment? No More Excuses

March 22, 2019

Margaret's cancer was found after she followed the direction of her higher power and got that second colonoscopy

It had been 14 years since Margaret Hodge's last colonoscopy … but she’d been busy.

When the doctor’s office called with appointment reminders, she was watching her granddaughter, couldn’t find a ride home from the procedure, or her schedule was too full. Her excuses were many and familiar to us all. Plus, who likes the taste of that liquid you have to drink in advance of a colonoscopy?

But just before Thanksgiving of 2016, Margaret began experiencing some troubling symptoms. Every time she would eat, it required a quick trip to the bathroom. She downed Pepto to get through the holidays.

In January 2017, she says, God let her know it was time to be seen. “It was a God slap,” says Margaret. No more excuses.

Thanks to a colonoscopy, Margaret’s medical team at Baptist Health La Grange caught her cancer before it had spread. A CT scan revealed the cancer was contained to her colon, and surgery with Dr. Thomas Hart was scheduled for the following week. “Dr. Hart has just been a wonderful man,” says Margaret. “Baptist has been so good to me. I just love the people there.”

Five days later — with half of her colon removed — Margaret was on the road to recovery.

But it wasn’t easy. She lost her appetite and 17 pounds along with it. Her friend blended protein shakes and served her ice cream. “I had to go through a lot for the first year,” says Margaret. “It takes a while for your system to get used to [having half a colon]. I was very fortunate the cancer did not get outside my colon. That would be a whole new ballgame. I didn’t have to have chemo or radiation.”

Margaret’s experience has inspired her to remind others how important it is to get a colonoscopy. “Once I got it done, now I’m preaching,” she says. “If you’re over 50, get a colonoscopy.” She started her evangelism with her seven siblings and her friends — but her passion for the saving power of the procedure doesn’t end with her family. “If you don’t have someone to take you to get a colonoscopy, I’ll take you,” Margaret says in all seriousness.

Because Margaret heeded her heavenly warning, she’s continuing the life she loves: staying active, independent, caring for her grandchildren, Stella and Lucas, and working the snack bar at the Oldham County Country Club. “I won’t make excuses with my health anymore,” she says. “I’ve got grandchildren. I want to be around for my grandkids, my children and my family.”