Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Turning age 95 with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

95th birthday celebration

Carleton Myers turns 95 this June. He has Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and has had an ostomy since about 1948. He has seen a lot in his years and a lot of changes in the management of this rare disease and ostomies. 

Carleton's mother likely had FAP as she died from colon cancer in 1928 at the age of 28. She was adopted so there is no further family history of his mother available. His father lived to be nearly 105 with no history of colon cancer or FAP. Carleton's only sibling, Elmer, was first diagnosed with colon cancer and FAP and Elmer's first son also had FAP and died in his mid 30s. Carleton and his wife, Sheila, 91, have 5 sons who have all tested positive for FAP. Two of their grandchildren also tested positive for FAP.

This is an interview with Carleton conducted by his son, Kevin.

    What were things like when you were growing up with FAP?

    I managed it very well; it was right before I went into the service. I didn't have too much trouble then; it was after that when trouble started. When I learned we could have an operation to take the large intestine out completely, I did that, and it was successful.

    When did you first find out that the operation could be done?

    It would have been probably around 1948. That's when I knew what had to be done because my brother (Elmer) had it done in the early 1940s. He was out in the South Pacific and they sent him back because of it. He had a lot of trouble and hospitals. He managed to survive it. He died when he was 42. Other problems that this brought on, I guess. He had a lot of trouble before it. I didn't, I was fortunate enough to be younger than him and they were learning more and more about it and what they had to do and that saved me.

    How did you find out about Henry Ford Hospital and Dr. Block?

    I went there when Elmer found out that he had cancer. In two months, I went in and had the whole rectum system out because that's where it started growing in my brother. Because he had his intestine out before me. I didn't know which way, but I had good doctors. Just as soon as we found out that my brother had cancer, I had everything taken out.

    You never expected to live into adulthood when you were a teen, is that right?

    I was hopeful about getting into my 40s. That's what I was shooting for, that I could get that far. I got that far, and I kept going. What they did to me originally was taking all of the polyps that were left after they took out most of my large intestine, they left about 6 inches and the rectum. I had to go in many times to get polyps removed. Once Elmer found out he had cancer, I went immediately and found a doctor and had the rectum taken out - it was about three months after that. All of you (my children) were look at in your teens.

    Do you have any recommendations for anyone now that has FAP?

    I don't know what the doctors are doing now. I was just so glad to be living.

    What was it like knowing about FAP?

    Sheila - Scary. I knew it was going to be a battle.

    Carleton - My brother wrote me a letter right away and I immediately got a doctor to do it. My brother raised me because my mother was dead so didn't have much choice. 

Myers Family
Carleton and Sheila in the middle
Their son, Kent, and his wife at top left
Their son, Keith, below Kent on left
Their son, Kevin and wife next to Keith
Their son Kory on bottom left
Their son Kurt on bottom right

Carlton and Sheila at their 75 Wedding Anniversary
Carleton and Sheila 
75th Wedding Anniversary
Carleton passed away at age 96 on 10/16/2022 after viewing the Autumn leaves changing with his son, Kevin, and daughter in law. By all accounts, he died peacefully.

Carleton had an ileostomy and in recent years had surgery for an urostomy as well. He had Diabetes and some difficulty walking without mobility aids but in general was doing well with only rare intestinal blockages and maintained a well intact memory until Sheila's death in June 2022 - afterwards his health began to decline rapidly, per his son, Kevin. 

Michigan started a Familial Adenomatous Polyposis Awareness Week each year during the week of June 16 to honor him. Find out how to help further honor Carelton's legacy and FAP/AFAP patients where you live with the FAP/AFAP Awareness Week Proclamation


Updated 10/20/2022


  1. This is an amazing family. They have taken FAP in stride and have been a huge help to the hereditary colon cancer community. What resilience and longevity!

  2. How awfully sad about Carleton’s mother and Elmer’s son. For Carleton and Shiela to have 5 children, all of whom tested positive for FAP along with two grandchildren is pretty eye-opening. I’m glad at least for advances in modern medicine and understanding in Carleton’s case, and hopefully for current and future generations. It’s a big move to have the large bowel out (mine was stolen too and I also have a stoma bag) but I’m glad this was the best decision. Beautiful photo of Carleton & Sheila on their wedding anniversary 💜💙💚 What a wonderful interview - thank you for sharing. Wishing Carleton all the very, very best and a very Happy 95th Birthday!

    Caz xx

    1. Thank you for your heartfelt message, I'll be sure for Kevin to share it with Carleton.

    2. This is awesome thanks for sharing my dad died at 45 and I’m 43 doing well surviving, but it’s always on your mind.

    3. So glad to hear you're surviving, I hope you're also thriving though. So sorry to hear about losing your dad at such a young age. It can definitely be hard to keep the thoughts at bay at times.

  3. My brother and I are 5th generation FAP descendants. We are 53 and 54. We were diagnosed at 16 and 17. My nieces are 27 and 23, both negative for FAP, so thankful! I never was able to conceive. So hopefully, the disease will actually die with my brother and I. That will be the best gift to future family❤ I am so amazed at Carlton's beautiful life and family. For everything he went through he was able to live life fully and happily. We need to see all of the goodness in our lives and it looks like he did❤❤

    1. I absolutely agree and I believe you're right that Carleton did just that. That's such great news for your family that your nieces didn't inherit FAP so that it'll end in your family. Hope you and your brother are doing well!