December 7, 1941 was labeled by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a "Day of Infamy" after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. For my wife, Anne, and me the date was April 13, 2009 when we heard from our family doctor that Anne had metastatic colon cancer. The most unbelievable thing to us was that she had had no symptoms at all--no bowel changes, no bleeding, pain or weight loss. What she did have was a "bump" in her upper abdomen which felt like a lipoma (small fatty tumor). She noted it when we were away for a weekend with some friends.
On the Monday we returned, she called our family doctor, who thought she may have a gallbladder problem. He ordered an abdominal ultrasound which was done 3 days later. This showed that she had several masses in her liver. Since she was so asymptomatic, and they were so big, it was hard to imagine they were "bad" but an abdominal CT scan performed the next day (and reported to him on April 13th) showed our worst fears: colon cancer that involved lymph nodes and had metastasized to the liver.
Our family doc, who is a friend and also goes to our church, immediately scheduled a colonoscopy, and a metastatic workup which included a CT scan of her lungs, brain, and a bone scan. He also called an oncologist here in Saginaw, another friend (I'm an orthopaedic surgeon, so I know most of the doctors in town), who insisted we go to the Mayo Clinic without doing anything here other than the scans. Of course I knew about the Mayo Clinic, but other than referring the occasional patient here over the years, had never been to it.