‘We are the colonoscopy couple’ | Health Beat

Annie and Steve Hamstra went on a colonoscopy date in July.

“It was romantic – we’re still married,” Annie joked. “The day when all our dreams came true.”

“Look, we did not hold each other’s hand, we did not get it in the same room,” Steve said smiling.

Aside from being overly funny, Hamstras in Zeeland, Michigan, know all too well the importance of timely screening for colon and cancer.

“I lost my dad to colon cancer 15 years ago, so that put me in the high-risk category because it’s something that can be passed down from generation to generation,” Steve said.

He also lost his first wife to skin cancer.

“Cancer in Michigan is not an uncommon thing, I’m afraid,” Steve said. “It touches every family.”

Because of Steve’s family history, he has had a colonoscopy every three years for the past 15 years.

“It’s old school for me, after having had so many, but it was all new to Annie,” Steve said.

“I was just practical”

For Annie, it just made sense to plan the colonoscopies together.

“It was my first,” she said. “When you turn 50, it’s one of the big things that happens – you get your first colonoscopy. It was in the same cycle as Steve – he was going to his next – so we decided to do it together.”

The couple also fasted together.

“My thought was that if we both had to fast, we could fast together, because it’s hard when one can eat and the other can’t,” she said. “I was just practical.”

Jeffrey Serdahely, DO, performed the procedures on July 9 at Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital.

“I went first, but then I had the opportunity to be in her room while she woke up – to be reassuring, but she was fine,” Steve said.

“We want to encourage people to get it, it’s not a bad procedure,” Steve said.

The couple enjoyed a pizza after the procedure with Annie’s parents, who provided transportation for the day.

“Overall, it was a very pleasant experience and of course we love all the nurses in Zeeland,” said Annie.

Annie worked as a health information analyst at Zeeland Community Hospital for 20 years. Steve is a former hospital board member.

“We know the staff and Dr. Serdahely is wonderful,” she added.

Annie retired from the hospital when she and Steve got married in 2017. Steve is a consulting engineer working remotely, so after the wedding, the couple went on an adventure to see the country.

The couple spent time in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Dakotas, Texas, Alabama, Florida and parts of the East Coast.

“We rented our house, sold all our furniture, and lived full-time on the road in a RV for a year and a half,” Steve said.

“But Annie was bored. She said she’s too young to sit by the pool and walk the dog all day,” he said, laughing.

Home is where the heart is

“I missed my grandchildren,” Annie said. “We have 13 between us.”

Both Annie and Steve are natives of Zeeland.

Back home, Annie started her next adventure – opening a bridal shop in a small town.

“I knew I wanted to work, but was looking for more flexibility,” Annie said. “Steve was kind enough to support my crazy idea of ​​opening a bridal shop.”

Annie opened Annie Lane Bridal in the center of Zeeland in September 2019 and opened another store in Allegan in October 2020.

Annie’s mother, Sally Loser, helps with the business as a seamstress. Her daughter, Madison Wright, manages the store’s location in Allegan, and her granddaughter, Bella, 8, helps in both stores.

“I enjoy it,” Annie said. “It’s a very family-oriented business.”

In addition to the hospital board, Steve has served on Zealand’s city council, school board and public works board.

“We are very committed to the community because we feel it is important to give back,” Steve said.

And now they have the notoriety that comes with getting a double colonoscopy in their hometown.

“It’s a conversation starter, honestly,” Steve said. “It’s like ‘Hey, we’re famous, we have colonoscopies together, have you done that?”

“If it asks someone to be tested, great,” Steve said.

“We’re the colonoscopy couple,” Annie said.

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