I’ll be damned. I have long maintained that a “catchy” headline; a clever title; perhaps even a humorous one that is a bit sophomoric, will entice readers to click on a link and see what the article is all about.
And here you are. Apparently it works.
Oh well, you’ve invested this much. Might as well see it through and find out how it all turns out.
I wrote a number of weeks ago about “Fighting my Colonoscopy“, and the trepidation related to the various functions of an upcoming annual physical. Several of you left or sent the message, “tell us how it all turns out”. For better or worse, that is the subject of today's missive. You have no one to blame but yourselves.
After all, this is the year of Wellness and Health.
According to my doctors, you are going to have to deal with me for some time to come. In fact, my primary care physician seemed surprised and ecstatic that my lab results were so good. Apparently I am much healthier than I look. Cholesterol and blood sugars were very good, kidneys are functioning well. PSA was extremely low. Even my blood pressure, which is normally in the borderline range, clocked in with a very acceptable 126/84 on the day of the exam.
The results of my first ever prostate exam (a ridiculous exercise where the doctor fumbles around as if he were looking for his car keys while saying, “Really? First one? This is your first ever?”), were fine. He told me that my prostate felt “small”, although my colonoscopy a few weeks later would countermand that slightly.
And speaking of the dreaded colonoscopy, it really is much ado about nothing.
Everyone had warned me that the worst part of a colonoscopy was the prep. Good prep is the key to any successful colonoscopy. You have to move everything out so that the doctor can see what he is doing. He apparently does not cope well with a crappy view. Literally and figuratively. Poor prep is like having your carpet cleaned but not allowing them to move any furniture. Bad stuff is going to get missed. Unfortunately, well coordinated prep can have the effect of, to paraphrase Sheldon Cooper, “A blitzkrieg on the digestive system with your lower intestines playing the part of Czechoslovakia”.
Still, I have to say even the prep was not as bad as I anticipated. There was one primary reason for this; my doctor opted for a relatively new pill based method for prep, instead of the customary 57 gallons of lime flavored salt water swill. I took 20 pills the evening prior, and 12 more starting at 4:30AM the day of the procedure. As for the results, let us just say the pills were effective. Nonetheless, I was able to get a relatively uninterrupted sleep that night – if you know what I mean…..
One bright spot from the prep should be noted: I only lost 1 1/2 pounds that evening, proving once and for all I am not full of that specific material many believe me to be mostly comprised of. So there.
The procedure itself was fairly simple, at least for me. I actually had two procedures, a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. My doctor wanted to also check me from the top “as long as they had me there”. He based the need for this on my experiencing occasional episodes of heartburn combined with my age, weight and race. Also he has children of college age, and needs the money. He was concerned the heartburn could be symptomatic of a physical issue, where I believe it is more the result of trying to make payroll every couple weeks. I consented to both tests as long as the doctor agreed to wash that thing off after the colonoscopy. Apparently the benefit levels of my HMO did allow for it to be run under lukewarm water.
And this is how it went. They prepped me, rolled me into the procedure room, hooked me up to a bazillion monitors, and told me I was about to go to sleep. Two seconds later I was awake in another room, with the nurse telling me “I did really good”. She was immediately followed by my doctor, who told me everything looked good, and I did “great prep, great prep”! That of course meant I had followed the prep instructions properly and he was actually able to see whatever it was he is supposed to see.
Yes, it turns out I am master of my own colonoscopy.
After the doctor left, the nurse reviewed the results with my wife and me. The procedure had revealed my prostate was a little larger than normal, despite what my primary care physician had found. It’s my own fault. That is what I get for choosing a doctor solely on the basis of his tiny fingers.
They also found a bit of esophageal burning from mild reflux, and put me on a short term regimen of Prilosec to address it. And there was one other thing.
The doctor told me that they did find a couple polyps, which were removed and are currently undergoing biopsy. While it was not unusual or of great concern, he did get my attention when he said, “Good thing we did this. We saved you from getting cancer”.
That is the real story here; hence the long description and ridiculously personal detail. I had let my own apprehension delay what is really a simple and acceptable procedure. It was a delay that for some people could easily mean the difference between life and death. It is a needless delay over nothing. Trust me. I’ve just been there.
If you are over 50, and have never had this done, it’s time. I have 5 years before I have to go through it again, but next time should be a breeze. It really is no big deal, and the potential benefits are too numerous to mention. This is the year of Wellness and Health. Get your colonoscopy, for yourself and those who love and depend on you.
It is worth pulling double doody for this – a phrase that has more literal meaning than you might think.