Today's subject is about the importance of getting a regular colonoscopy once you are over fifty years of age.
I was having a hard time coming up with a subject for today's blog post until I read my friend Dr. Spo's blog today. He will be undergoing his first colonoscopy in a couple of days. I left two comments on his blog on the importance of getting regular colonoscopies.
I was going to write about my upcoming procedure for my prostate cancer. My first appointment is tomorrow at the radiation oncology unit at the Tunnel Cancer Center in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Of course I am dreading this, the precursor to yet another invasive procedure to my body but a necessary one if I am to survive cancer free for a few more years. Tomorrow I won't be poke or jabbed or suffer humiliation, pain and discomfort. Tomorrow is a "get to know you" meeting which will take about two hours. After going through all my options, I have decided to have radioactive seed implants. More about that in another post. This post is about the importance of colonoscopies.
I have had three colonoscopies. The worst part about the colonoscopy procedure is what they innocently call "the prep." That is the night before the procedure in this you have to cleanse your bowel tract of any fecal matter. I won't sugar coat this, it is rough. You have to drink 8 oz glasses of 4 liters of a liquid that taste like a mixture of toilet bowl cleaner and lime juice. Gag? After drinking the first few glasses you can call yourself "Lady Gag.....a". God, it is AWFUL. During my last "prep", I had Bill take a video of me drinking it and I posted it to You Tube. It wasn't funny while I was taking it but I knew it would be funny someday. I sort of see the humor in it now, I didn't then. Dave Barry has a very funny article about his own "prep". Hilarious but so true. To read his colonoscopy article click here.
The actual procedure itself the next day is nothing. In fact, it's sort of fun. You don't even remember going out. My last colonoscopy was in April of 2011. It was a breeze. I remember right before I was administered my "flight" medicine, my physicians' assistant asked me "Are you ready for your trip?" I responded "I am sir". The photos below were taken after my procedure. As you can see I was still a little high and just returning to earth. Now you can see why you need a driver.
Afterwards I was STARVING. Hey, a little chicken broth the day before doesn't do it for me. So what did I do? I had Bill take me straight away to the Rehoboth Diner and I ordered my fav: Eggplant Parmesan with fries! This was 10:30 in the morning. Best eggplant parm I've ever had in my life and I ate ALL OF IT.
Let me emphasize the importance of having a regular colonoscopy after age fifty. My Uncle Sam Tipton and my cousin Jeffrey Tipton never had colonoscopies. Uncle Sam was 67 and cousin Jeffrey was 43. They always refused to have the procedure. They both died of colon cancer. My friend Ron B. never would have a colonoscopy. He died last year of colon cancer. He was my age.
My good friend and former boss Bill P. discovered he had colon cancer five years ago during a routine annual medical exam. He had an operation that lasted eight hours. He was given a one in four chance of survival. He sold his house and moved into a development so his wife wouldn't have to worry about mowing the grass and house maintenance. He survived his operation only to have the colon cancer return six months later. He had another operation which was successful. He has now been a cancer survivor for over five years. His doctor told him that if waited until the symptoms of colon cancer (usually blood in the toilet which is what both my uncle and cousin experienced), then it is usually too late.
I know a colonoscopy is a very invasive procedure. I recently had a prostate biopsy which was also a very invasive (and painful) procedure. There are always risks involved in invasive procedures but when you weigh the odds, they're just not in your favor when you are over fifty and there is a history of colon cancer in your family.
I wish my friend Dr. Spo well during his colonoscopy and also want to emphasize that he is doing exactly the right thing.
|My brother John laughing after I told him about my colonscopy "prep" night when I told him of my travails on iPhone FaceTime - brothers - never any sympathy|