When I turned 40 I realized that I needed a new doctor. I had a female doctor at the time. Not that she wasn’t a good doctor but it’s just that I was at the point in my life that a male doctor was in order. A male doctor with small hands.
According to the American Cancer Society there are five myths about colorectal cancer:
- It’s a man’s disease
- It cannot be prevented
- African Americans are not at risk
- Age doesn’t matter
- It’s better not to get tested because it’s a death sentence anyway
These are all bullshit.
Lets go back a bit. When my Mom was 72 she was diagnosed with a rectal tumor. She had the surgery, went through chemo and radiation and KICKED IT’S ASS! That was 13 years ago.
Because of this my new doctor (the one with the tiny hands) thought I better start getting the prostate exams at 40. It’s always the interesting part of my annual physical. He’s a runner so as we go through the normal parts of the exam…we BS about running and family then we get to the end and he says something like “Well you know what we have to do” so I get ready and then it’s over, he tells me everything is cool, I exhale then I go home.
But in 2009 (when I was 45) he told me that because of my family history he wanted me to get a colonoscopy. Usually you don’t need one until you’re 50. Unless of course you’re having issues down there then by all means get your butts to the doctor!
He gave me instructions on what I needed to do but…I blew it off. Honestly I forgot about it. I had the slip of paper on my work bench then one day it was gone.
So I go back for my 2010 physical and he looks at me and says “I see you blew off the colonoscopy”. I felt like an idiot. I agreed I’d have it done right after the holidays. I promised. So January rolls around and I make the appointment.
Now the colonoscopy itself takes roughly 30 minutes. It’s the prep that sucks. I had to stop eating at 11pm on a Wednesday, not have anything solid to eat, then start drinking the laxative at about 5pm Thursday night. You have an hour to drink 16 ounces of this crap that tastes like thick salty lemonade. It’s the Godzilla of laxatives. Within 30 minutes it’s working it’s magic and I’m hanging on for dear life!
My doctor was probably at home giggling his ass off because just as you’re feeling back to normal you have to repeat the whole process again! Another 16 ounces…more eruptions. I’ve never felt so cleaned out in my life. You could’ve eaten off my colon.
My appointment was at 8:30am on Friday. By this time I just wanted to get it over with because I’M STARVED! I hadn’t eaten for almost 35 hours. They give me a gown tell me to change and go sit in the waiting room.
After awhile the nurse comes and gets me. I walk into the procedure room to see the doctor, his assistant and in the corner two med students with clipboards. “Northwestern is a teaching school as you know Mr. Schober. Do you have any objections to these students sitting in?” I say “No but I bet they’re wishing they didn’t draw the short sticks back at the dorm this morning. I look at them and say “You guys have breakfast yet?” I’m such an asshole when I’m nervous.
So I’m put in twilight and the procedure begins. I can feel some pressure and a bit of discomfort when they need to expand things with a blast of air. Then it’s over and he tells me he found two really small polyps but they look benign. He said they would send them to the lab to make sure. Asked if I wanted to see them. In my twilight faze I say “Sure…why not?” The problem is without my contacts in or glasses on I’m basically blind so he has to hold them 2 inches from my face at which point I tell him to get those things the hell away from me and where can I get a stinking cheeseburger?
He called with the results the following Monday confirming what he said earlier. No need to have the procedure done for another five years.
Early screening is a major key to cancer prevention. Don’t wait to get your screening completed after your doctor tells you it’s time to go. Just go and get it done. It could save your life.
For more information on colon and rectum cancer please see the American Cancer Society link -> here.
I’m glad I got that behind me!