As a woman, you probably can relate to the dreaded annual tests we all should undergo , that of a mammogram, ultrasound for those of us with dense breasts, perhaps, a PSA, if you are a man of a certain age, and even, my favorite, the colonoscopy. All joking aside, this was a very tough week for me because I had experienced symptoms associated with colon cancer. Thank you internet, thank you Web MD, and thank you to my father who helped make me a hypochondriac.
When you know your body well (as you should) you notice subtle changes, patterns, variations from the norm. From the research I did online, I thought my body was telling me something. GO SEE A GASTROENTEROLOGIST!
With this in my head, I became fixated on the disease and became convinced I had something seriously wrong with me!
Though the prospect of a diagnosis is very scary, it is something you must do if you suspect something is going on in your body. Early detection is key. According to WHO (The World Health Organization) each year 8.8 million people die from cancer, many of them are in low income and middle income countries without access to adequate testing. In the United States, we have no excuse and owe it to ourselves and our families to take advantage of diagnostics.
So after preparing with a delicious cocktail of laxative and Gatorade, 32 oz bottles no less, twice (how can anyone consume this much liquid and not barf?!!) As anyone who has ever undergone a colonoscopy, (thank God, they changed the thinking to every 10 years now!) you know being near a toilet the day before is critical!
The day of the test came and I soldiered on. With butterflies in my stomach and negative thoughts of doom and gloom, I drove myself with my husband at my side an hour away to make sure my colon (now extremely clean!) was healthy.
I didn’t even get a solid sleep during this procedure since no anesthesia was used. I guess this hospital has a shortage of this specialty! It’s Albany, not New York or Chicago! A sedation of some sort, but I still felt the scope being turned around inside of me and talking between the 2 nurses. Before I knew it, the procedure was over, routine I’m sure for any gastro doctor. Diagnosis- all clear! No polyps, no growths, phew! I was soo relieved to hear and knew that I could put my worries to bed, at least until some other symptoms crop up pointing to another disease. I am, after all, my father’s daughter.
Know your own body. Don’t ever dismiss anything that seems out of your normal pattern. That goes for pooping too!
You have one life to live and it’s precious. Take your annual diagnostic tests every year without fail. Remember, early detection can make all the difference.
Enjoy the ride.
xox Barclay and Joy