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Carmen Macdonald

A passion for fishing and hunting grew into a career that's included Alaskan guide, media sales, writer and the politics of outdoor recreation. My company, Vaunt Marketing, represents industry-leading brands in the US and Canadian markets.

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June 11, 2014

Life, Death and Colonoscopies

by Carmen Macdonald

I'll apologize in advance for this blog. But being I've got "at large" status, I'm taking the liberty to dive into some of the more uncomfortable spaces in our lives. Because before we can debate the next management issue, we need to be sure that all our voices, opinions, feelings and dreams remain accounted for.

My eldest sister passed away this morning. She was 56 years old.

Victoria Macdonald, July 29, 1957- June 11, 2014.

Being 13 years younger than Vicki, my early memories of her as a caregiver are equal to those as a sister. She read me thousands of books as a child, paid me a few bucks here and there to wash her car as I grew older. I remember busting through her door in the era of "Fame" to catch her putting on her best dance to the movie's theme song. Really shy in comparison to the rest of the family, she wasn't pleased with my entry.

My sister had a heart of gold. She lived simply, never married, never forced her presence on a room. She came to help after my wife gave birth to our second child. She called the kids religiously on holidays and their birthdays, always engaging them with amazing enthusiasm that made them feel like the king or queen of the occasion.

She cared for others more than herself.

Vicki missed some of the signposts on the road to aging. She skipped the colonoscopy. By the time she made the hospital last Friday, the cancer had reached stage IVb. It's five days later and she's gone.

I tend to be averse to doctor visits. It's easy to overlook the routine stuff. I'm too busy or it's just too much of a hassle. I'm sure you know the type, and probably a person or two that fit the description. Many of these people might say, "When your number is up, it's up." We all have examples of so-and-so that died in their sleep with no forewarning, got hit by the proverbial Mack Truck.

Thing about those stories is that for every one of them there are the other thousands that skip the little things, and little things become big things. My sister's death was most likely preventable. Not yesterday, not last week, but 3, 5, 7 or more years ago. While some fight for every day, others take life for granted, right until it's taken away from them.

I'll miss my sister deeply.

As a family, we're not the type to leave things unsaid. We have faith in God. There's no regret, only sorrow. My hope for solace is that in some way Vicki's story might help someone else.

If you can use this story with someone you care about, please do.

I love you Vick.

Comments (10)

NEUTRON wrote 3 years ago

Carmen - Thanks for sharing. Best to you and your family. RIP.

FentonFly wrote 3 years ago

Heartfelt sorrow to you and your family.

Chilly one wrote 3 years ago


Soo sad to hear of your family's loss, gosh life is so short.

Good luck to you and your family in a special way.

Chilly One

BillH wrote 3 years ago

It does indeed hurt to lose a loved one. I just had my second colonoscopy a month or so ago and I want people who have not, to understand how painless this procedure is. It is totally painless -- it's just the having to drink way more than you'd like of possibly stuff you would prefer not to for the day before. Just get it done! Carmens sister may have robbed herself of 30 years by not.

Bill Hedlund

BillH wrote 3 years ago

Hook-up wrote 3 years ago

Carmen I am so sorry to hear about your sister. God Bless you and your family.

Rawsk wrote 3 years ago

Do it - so easy to stop the cancer when found out in time or before it even starts. The inconvenience of the scope is so trivial compared to the disease. I lost my mother to colon cancer when she was 53.
I am now older than her when it took her. You should not assume that you are only 50 that colon cancer is only a problem for older people. I got my first one when 45 because of the family history.

G'villedrifter wrote 3 years ago

This blog caught my eye. I start drinking the stuff tonight. I am almost 65 never done this one before.

Grizzly2u wrote 3 years ago

Beautiful tribute to your sister!

Lundman wrote 3 years ago

Sorry to here of your loss. Down here in Utah a local Outdoors TV Celeb lost his life for the same reason. It has become ( because of his loss) an major information push throughout Utah.
Maybe you can leverage some of the media attention to help spread the word.
Here's a link to his story: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700194975/How-to-save-a-life-Doug-Millers-cautionary-tale-shows-value-of-colonoscopies.html?pg=all

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