Why I’m So Glad I Begged My Doctor For A Colonoscopy
So yeah, I had a colonoscopy last month. I'm only 45, which isn't even close to 50 (I mean, not very close) when they officially start recommending them, but my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer six years ago and because I'm angry with hypochondriacs, I've had mine ever since Doctor asked for one every year. (By the way, my mother is fine). Here is my colonoscopy story. Sit down, have a coffee and enjoy yourself.
For six years since my mother was diagnosed, my doctor has told me that my mother was old enough when she was diagnosed that this would not be considered hereditary. Therefore, early screening was not required for me. But you'd be surprised how adamant a middle-aged woman can be with a healthy case of generalized anxiety disorder. During my physical exertion this year, my doctor finally looked at me and said, “Fuck OKAY. You can have a colonoscopy if you promise to shut up. "
He didn't say that. But he agreed.
So I planned it. First and foremost was a mandatory COVID-19 test. I think COVID can fly out of your anus and into the doctor's face so they want to make sure you don't have COVID before a colonoscopy. The more you know
My COVID-19 test fell randomly on the first day they decided to trick patients into wiping their own nostrils. Let me tell you what doesn't work: wipe your own nostrils. I just glued it up there and the nurse giggled and just said, "Yeahhhh, that's nowhere near enough." And then I started sneezing like a dick and had to start over. I've finally made it far enough and she says, "That's good, now turn it around." So I hit her.
I haven't had a COVID and now it's time to prepare for the colonoscopy. I'm not sure you heard about it, but it's by far the worst. First of all, you need to stop eating 24 hours before the procedure. 24 hours. My doctor tells me this and I scream, “Are you kidding me?!? 24 hours!? I COULD DIE! "And he's all," Smidge dramatic, no? "He didn't say that. Anyway, then you have to drink a 16-ounce mixture of this liquid / gel / death relish the night before and it is awful. I choked with every sip. They tried to flavor it with strawberries, which feels like trying to cover the smell of a corpse with an anthropology candle. Doesn't work. And somehow makes it worse.
I get it down and then poop uncontrollably for the foreseeable future. Not only that, I also felt kind of shitty. So I empty my bowels completely and go to bed early because I am starving to death despite feeling food poisoned. Because I am me
I don't even have to jump out of bed overnight to poop! So this is a success. But guess what? I have to drink this shit again this morning. I repeat last night's gag party and continue to poop, but at this point everything is air. Pooping air is an interesting sensation, FYI.
I go to the colonoscopy site - my mother drives me because I can no longer operate a vehicle afterwards, but thanks to COVID she is not allowed with me. (Funny how I wanted my mom with me at my age. Such a baby.) Anyway, I take off my clothes, put on a dress, all that good stuff, and then I get an IV and we're almost there ready to go for it.
They roll me into the small operating room and the anesthesiologist explains that I'm not under general anesthesia, but she would give me propofol. I'm not afraid - I just ask you to watch my breathing carefully, which is what upsets me now: the hypochondriac reminds the doctor to do their job. She tells me it works super fast and wears out super fast. In my eyes, from the moment she starts it to the moment I wake up, it will feel instantaneous.
That's exactly what happens. I remember her saying she was starting the propofol and literally the next moment I was woken up in the recovery room: "Jennifer! Jennifer, wake up. Do you want some animal crackers?" Now they got my attention. Yes, please.
But I'm totally on Planet Q. I don't know what the hell is really going on since I'm half asleep shoveling animal crackers into my mouth. The doctor walks in and starts firing information that I really can't understand and that I don't end up remembering. I have memories of him saying, “Huge polyp. HUGE. "And" I'm so glad you came in "and" It took a lot longer than normal "and" I'm not done yet "and" Precancer "and" You need another colonoscopy in three months. "Mine Mind spinning and I'm scared and very confused. Do I have colon cancer? What's a giant polyp? I have to go through this shit all over again in three months? Aren't colonoscopes recommended every ten years? What the fuck? Oh and also, I'm dying ?
They tell me my mom is here to get me which doesn't seem right as I am trying to understand what I was just told and I am still very busy eating animal crackers. And should I really get up now? That doesn't feel safe. So not me. I just keep eating.
After all, they're all, "About Jennifer? You can get dressed and go anytime now." Well, I'm done with my crackers anyway and they don't seem to offer me anything anymore. I cry all the way home and all night. I'm scared and think I have cancer. I hug my kids tight that night and cry some more. I don't want to be sick.
The next morning I feel much better. Physically, I just feel a little bloated and tired. Emotionally, I'm much more optimistic. Why did I think I was going to die last night? The propofol wore off quickly, but I felt super weird for hours and wasn't prepared for the overly emotional side effect. I was so tearful and barely remember the whole afternoon / evening. I leave voicemail for the doctor to call me and see what the hell he told me as I really don't remember the details.
He'll call me back and here's the deal. Colon polyps (small masses) are very common, usually small, and can be easily removed during a colonoscopy. You can turn into cancer. This is why you will need to do colonoscopies to remove them before this happens. Small polyps are smaller than 5 mm and larger ones are 5-10 mm. Mine was fucking 25mm. Did you hear that? 25mm. I mean ... that's basically a dead mouse in my colon. I don't even know how poop got through, to be honest. How wide is my colon
He says he doesn't think it's cancer yet, but we'll have to wait until the pathology results are certain. But it was definitely precancerous. Brilliant.
A painful three weeks later, I get the results that it's precancer, but so damn close to cancer. So close. He said to me if I had waited a few more months for this colonoscopy: "We would have a completely different conversation now." That's scary to hear.
The three months' repeat colonoscopy is supposed to make sure he got everything out - it was HUGE, you know, and he had to take it out in pieces. He said he tattooed the spot on my colon where it was so he would know where to look when he gets back. I asked if he had tattooed something that was fun, like a heart with my dog's name or skull. He didn't seem to understand the joke.
He went into that little detail too - because my polyp was "huge" and difficult to remove, I was under sedation for too long and they had to stop the rest of the procedure so he couldn't even finish the rest of my colon. Good sir.
Overall, I feel incredibly happy and relieved. I'm not happy to be doing this shit again in three months, but I'm thankful I went in when I did this. And apparently I am at high risk now having had this large polyp so I need to watch this more closely than most people.
Here is my request: COVID is all anyone talks about, but if I ignored my inner psycho about my colon for another year, I would have colon cancer. Take care of yourself, don't forget your regular check-ups and be an advocate for your own health! To be honest, what my doctor has been saying over the past few years was correct - it shouldn't be hereditary since my mom was 67 when she was diagnosed, so I'm not actually blaming her for not having one five years ago Was allowed to perform a colonoscopy. But I'm really glad I stuck with it.
** Update: I had a follow-up exam three months later and everything was clear. I pooped my bed the night before.
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