I was already tethered to an IV. The Dr. had been in and said the results would be immediate. In fact, my stretcher was already outside the “Procedure Room” because I was next. That’s when it hit: within 45 minutes I would know whether or not I had cancer and I just. about. drowned. in. fear.
This was one of the very standard tests that privileged people with insurance who are also over 50, get to have, even if they are symptom free. There’s the indignity; I was too embarrassed to tell anyone except a pair of nurse friends ahead of time. The prep is miserable. To this day, having an IV inserted makes me break out in a cold sweat–too many bad memories from infancy. Just that made me procrastinate, literally for years. I walked into a waiting room at the crack of dawn today and there were easily 50 people already there. So many reasons why I have avoided doing this!
The news was stellar and I don’t need to be back for another five years. It was only in that moment of fear, bordering on panic, that I understood just how huge it is to decide not to allow ourselves to give in to all the excuses for why not. I even had time, before it was my turn, to say a prayer for Linda who lost her life way too soon. And I decided I would write this post to say: if you are 50 or older and haven’t, do it. Have a colonoscopy. Life is precious and worth holding on to. There. I said it…
Keep drinking the “kool-aid” every 5 years or so; it’s definitely worth the enormously disgusting beverage. After than, the procedure is a “piece of cake” Good for you for taking care of yourself!!
Some of us are lucky enough to be on a 10 yr schedule, but yes, absolutely. Such an easy alternative.
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And I had Mr Knows Everybody with me so I felt like a bug under the microscope
Lets sort out the different realities here. Yes, the prep is no fun. You drink some stuff that doesn’t taste very good (try chasing it with 7 up…it’s tolerable). It makes you shit yourself silly. (Sorry if that’s too blunt.). So you’re uncomfortable and grossed out for 24 hours. You go into the place where they do the procedure and they knock you out. You get the good drugs. And you don’t know or care what’s happening next. You wake up hours later and your spouse / friend / significant other tells you how silly you acted under the anesthesia. But you don’t remember a damn thing!
And best of all, you get screened for colon cancer. Most of us will get a good report – something like “we found nothing” or “we found some polyps, and got rid of them”. Either way, it’s great news.
I lost my cousin to colon cancer this week. He had been ill for over a year. He left behind a wife and two high school age kids. I don’t know if he had colonoscopies. I just know that our family has lost a good man and father to a disease that can be caught early and dealt with.
So what’s really worse…being uncomfortable for a day or leaving your family without their husband / wife / father / mother / brother / sister / cousin / nephew / son / daughter?
Man up. Suck it up. God damn it. Do it!
Thank you to all of you for your responses. It is tempting to categorize this in the TMI column but if just one person gets checked because I pushed beyond my discomfort to talk about this (and you can ask the Mallowman how I had made him swear he would tell NO ONE that I was doing this), I am glad.