The Importance of Having a Colonoscopy
Without exaggeration, reading this and acting on it, could save your life! Just like with any form of cancer, the key to survival is early detection. Every October we talk about Breast Cancer Awareness, November is Movember and a chance to raise awareness for testicular and prostate cancer. March is colorectal cancer awareness month. We don't turn the website blue, but maybe that's something we should do going forward!
This morning, I had a colonoscopy. My father had colorectal cancer, and was diagnosed in his mid-50's. My father-in-law died from colorectal cancer. As a child of someone with colon cancer, I've had colonoscopies since I was 50, so today was my 3rd one, as I'm scheduled to have one every 5 years. The last time I had it done, there were no polyps. Today was much different. They removed 7 polyps and are sending them off to the lab for analysis. I hadn't had any colorectal cancer signals, so I'm not particularly worried. If any are cancerous, I'm certain they caught them early and will follow whatever my doctor tells me to do. I'm pretty sure that I'll be moved from a 5 year recheck to something more frequent.
The worst part of the colonoscopy is the prep, but in the big picture, you have done much worse in your life. You can't eat anything solid for 24 hours prior to the procedure, and you have to drink liquid that will clean out your intestines and colon. Yep, you're going to have diarrhea. It's not pleasant. But you will survive, and the liquid is gross.
I didn't remember a thing from the procedure. I can't drive or make any legal decisions for 24 hours. I was talking to everyone in the procedure room and we were joking about broadcasting it live on the radio. Katie Couric who used to be on the Today Show actually had her colonoscopy aired live, as her husband died of colon cancer, and wanted to raise awareness. The nurse held my hand while I "fell asleep". I was in and out of the hospital from beginning to end (no pun attended) in less than 3 1/2 hours.
If you are advised by your doctor to get a colonoscopy DON'T put it off! If you are over 50 be proactive and talk to your doctor and see when and if they recommend having one.