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  • Writer's pictureBilly V

Health Shock For Our Family This Past Weekend

For those of you that have been following my health for the past few years; it was one step back but two steps backward this weekend.  Not in my health, but mentally we received news that was a shock for our family.

Our family doctor passed away from Colon Cancer last week.

I had actually picked Irene Yamamoto to be our doctor on a purely language basis.  I wanted a woman and she needed to speak Japanese.  My wife’s first language is Japanese and her second is Pidgin English (lol not joking).  When it came to our family health, we both needed our doctor to express what was going on in Japanese and English.  Dr. Irene Yamamoto was awesome.

When we were going down the checklist of stuff she needed me to do prior to my diagnosis, I would often procrastinate.  I would always say that the schedule was busy, I had to do this thing and that thing…finally one day she looked at me and told me that my schedule will not take care of me, I’ve got to do it.  It was that advice and her recommendations that got me my first appointment with Dr. Marutani.  That was the beginning to discovering I had diverticulitis and colon cancer.  Basically she saved my life.

So that was why it was shocking to find out that we would lose Dr. Yamamoto to colon cancer…the very thing that she helped me with took her life as well.  She was not 50 yet.  I don’t know if she did her colonoscopy or not.  “Health Guidelines” recommend a colonoscopy only when you reach 50.  To think we lost her to “guidelines” is unnerving.  I got mine at 47.

I am already telling my son that he should get his even earlier and have that mind set from now (yes he’s only 14; but I figure I’ll tell him now and he’ll remember it later).

To Dr. Yamamoto:  Thank you for caring for my family.  Thank you for caring for me and pointing me in the right direction.  And I’m sure we are just a few that owe you so much.  Mahalo and much love to your family.

It’s so strange to also write this blog post at this point in the year; my first surgery to remove my cancer was done two days after the Merrie Monarch Festival 2014.

Dr. Irene Yamamoto was an internist in Honolulu, Hawaii and was affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Kuakini Medical Center and Queen’s Medical Center. She received her medical degree from University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine and had been in practice for more than 20 years. She was one of 72 doctors at Kuakini Medical Center and one of 260 at Queen’s Medical Center who specialize in Internal Medicine.

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