Monday, June 27, 2011

Colonoscopy - check!

Today I completed my first colonoscopy, in fact two, but I'll explain that later. While I'm still younger than 50, the recommended age for a colonoscopy, some of my siblings have had polyps found during their own proceedure, which would speak to getting it done sooner than later. Additionally, I have a dear friend from Salt Lake City, Mary DeLaMare Schaefer who admonished her friends and associates at the city to get it done. I've included her story, which is a good reminder to not put it off. In consulting with my primary care doctor, looking at family history, including history of cancer, we decided having it done five years early did make some sense. I've sort of debated on whether to even write about it, but if by chance, someone I know has put it off, or is afraid of it, than I should care enough about them to encourage them to get it done.

Going into it, I was warned that the preparation for the procedure was worse than the procedure, and they were right. It could have been worse, but Sunday's clear fluid diet of broth, jello and fluids was a reminder that I should be grateful for the fact, that the alteration to my diet was only short lived. I also realize that next time, the 64 oz of Gatorade I choose to mix with Miralx, should be a flavor I don't like. It may be a while before I get back to my favorite of Orange. I am grateful however for a supportive family, incredible spouse and good insurance that took some of the worry out of it for me.

As the day moved forward, really the most painful part of the day was the process of trying to find a vein for the IV. Unfortunately, I seem to have inherited my mother's veins which always seemed to keep it challenging for medical personnel. When I woke up from my first procedure, everything seemed to be fine, but then was informed that when you're tall, your clothing size isn't the only thing that's big! How about your colon - go figure. The machine they had at the University Redwood Clinic wasn't long enough to get to the top! They had found however one polyp in this phase and then "tattooed" a mark to know how far they had reached. It was my first tattoo! I even have a picture which I would show, but Cathy would never speak to me again.

Well, since I was already prepped, had an IV stint in my hand, we decided to put me in a car and go up to University Hospital, where they had a longer scope. Dr. Fang also followed us up and completed the procedure. Things looked good, but they also found another couple of polyps and so they got removed as well. The doctor seemed optimistic they will be benign, but getting them removed early, may have been one of the few smart things I could have done. I think the whole medical team liked me so much, they wanted me to come back in three years! I very rarely get invited back to anything, so I do feel special.

While I'm still a little out of it, I am grateful I didn't put it off and erred on the side of caution. I was grateful for a great doctor and a capable staff who were friendly and very helpful. I truly can't think of any legitimate reason to put off a colonoscopy if you're 50 and never had one. (I'm not saying I want to do it every day...). Just get it done, check!

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