People make a lot of jokes about having a colonoscopy. I mean seriously, having someone look up your behind provides a wide-open range for stupid and crude humor. But anyway, regardless, it is a very important procedure to have done! So, I am going to re-run an article that I wrote nearly thirteen years ago! But the essential message is still the same… just do it!
I know. I know. The thought of having a colonoscopy is not pleasant. It is not something folks look forward to doing. No grand anticipation of the big day. But honestly, it’s not THAT bad! The prep part is the worst part of all.
I have now experienced four of these in the past couple of years, and the main lesson learned is that it is important, no, it is mandatory, that you are very close to a bathroom (preferably your own with some good reading material,) as soon as you begin the preparation the afternoon prior to your exam.
The first time I began the prep (which BTW has to be some of the foulest tasting stuff in the world,) I was at work, thinking, “Well, I’ll start it now and finish up when I get home.” BIG MISTAKE. Trying to figure out how to dash from the restroom at my office to my home put me in quite a quandary and some perfect timing. It begins to take effect nearly immediately!
Arriving at the gastro’ s office feeling like I must have lost 10 pounds from drinking (and passing) the preparation brew, and feeling cranky from not having my morning coffee, I was ready to get this procedure done and over!
At 9:30 promptly, I was taken into a spacious, clean, and very modern office. The very fresh, clean scent was a pleasant sensation. The lights were dim, soft music playing, I felt quite cozy even though my back-end was flashing in front of three doctors that I know quite well, and now, they know me even better.
The nurse started an IV with such skill that it looked effortless, which I guarantee is no small feat. I was told to turn on my left side, which was a pleasant surprise. I figured I’d be in stirrups like in the GYN’s office! (I am assuming that this is to get a better view of my not very small behind.)
The anesthesiologist leaned over and said, “Good Morning, Pam.” As I started to ask him to tell me when he was going to knock me out, I was! The next thing I knew, I awoke from a wonderful a sleep, such as I may not have enjoyed since in the womb! “No,” I thought, “Please, let me sleep some more!” Looking at my watch, thinking I must have been in a coma for nearly a year, I realized it had only been 20 minutes!
No snickers or giggles from the doctors that I pass in the halls each day. Just pleasant smiles, and “see you tomorrow.” Feeling only a tad woozy, I was driven home by my son only 30 minutes later. Despite my craving for three Big Macs, I had a glorious 4-hour nap. I expected to be sore in a couple of places, but nothing. I swear! According to the NIH (National Institute of Health) in the United States, in 2009 there were 106,100 new cases of colon cancer, 40,870 rectal cancer cases, and 49,920 related deaths (colon and rectal combined.)
Definition of colon cancer: cancer that forms in the tissues of the colon (the longest part of the large intestine.) Most colon cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids.)
Definition of rectal cancer: cancer that forms in the tissues of the rectum (the last several inches of the large intestine closest to the anus.) Age and frequency recommendations vary, but basically, it is advised for people with no risk factors to start testing at the age of 50. People with a family history of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy at the age of 40, or 10 years before the age that the relative was diagnosed. If you would like to schedule a colonoscopy, just send me an email!
Here’s to a joyous week!