Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another cautionary tale......

yesterday i found out that one of my good friends, and colleagues,has been diagnosed with colon cancer. she had not had any symptoms, and there is no family history  of colon cancer. she found out about this when she had her screening colonoscopy- one is recommended at age 50.

since there is some family history of colon cancer in my family, i started with my colonoscopies before i turned 50. i have had several colon polyps removed so far- none have been the type that can become or are cancerous. there is a link, and this is pretty well established, between colon polyps and thyroid cancer- especially papillary thyroid cancer. so please, everyone have a screening colonoscopy!! i know that if you are dealing with thyroid cancer, or other thyroid disorders, you do not relish the idea of more testing. but colon cancer can be treated if caught early. i am not a doctor, of course, and i do not know all the particulars about my friends case, but i do believe from what she has told me, that she has a good prognosis. she is in the third round of her chemotherapy,however, so she is going through some tough times right now.

some people are afraid or hesitant to have a colonoscopy done. well, before my first one, i was very anxious. i want everyone to know that there is nothing to be afraid of. the "prep" that you have to do the day or two before is a little challenging, i will be have to go on a liquid diet and drink either a large volume type laxative, or there are tablets you can take- but you have to take about 50 of them. the test itself is not painful at all. i go to an endoscopy center( that is all that they do there) and a gastroenterologist does the test. they use the "conscious sedation" method which i like. i have an iv inserted in my arm, and the medicine i get just relaxes me. if it were to get painful or something they could add more medicine, or even "put me to sleep", but that has never happened. i get to lay there and look at my colon on the big screen as the doctor is doing the procedure( think katie couric here). a good thing about this type of anesthesia is that you can hop up and put your clothes on and head on home in no time( of course you still can not drive and have to have someone with you, for safety). as for the polyp removal, it is not painful. i did not even know when the doctor did it. they tell me that we do not have nerve endings in our intestines, like we have in our fingers for example, so we do not feel pain when they are removed. believe me, i am a weenie, and if it was painful i would tell you!!

so that is my soapbox message for the week. please schedule your colonoscopy, and if you run across a "Mr. Sticky" you might give him a try as well!!

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