Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Colonoscopy - Early Detection
The time has come for me to check on my colon. Although I am not 50 years old, I have to be cautious and diligent as my father had colon cancer.
Colon cancer is cancer that is found in the large intestine which is in the lower section of the digestive system. When you hear the term colorectal cancer, it refers to the last few inches of the colon known as the rectal area. Colon cancer on it's own is mainly found in the upper area of the large intestine.
I was prompted to have a colonoscopy after moving my bowels and seeing some blood in the toilet. It was a shocking and scary moment. I had never seen anything like that in my bowel life. Needless to say, I had to make some calls. Thank God for cell phones, I took pictures and shared them with my Internist and of course my King. The concern here was that by the time one experiences symptoms of colon cancer, it may present a huge problem.
In preparing for the procedure, I took my prescription of Golytely to the pharmacy. In addition, I purchased a 10 oz. bottle of Magnesium Citrate (Lemon Flavor) and a box of Dulcolax. The instructions to prepare for the procedure begins as early as seven days in advance. No arthritic pain medications, Advil, Motrin and Coumadin, Plavix and other blood thinners should be discussed with your personal doctor to see if you can stop
taking them in preparing for the colonoscopy. The food you should avoid five days prior to the procedure are celery, corn, peas and tomatoes. The day before, you should not eat milk, ice cream, nuts, seeds or raw vegetables.
The Day Before
I enjoyed a light breakfast and a light lunch. I filled the powder mix of the Golytely bottle with water to the 4 liter mark and shook it like a martini mix. At 4:00PM, I took 4 Dulcolax tablets with water and then at 6:00PM it was time to drink up. This was the point of no return, you could only drink clear liquids and nothing at all after midnight except for the Golytely mix as directed. The rest of the evening was not for the faint at heart, it was a thorough cleansing of the digestive system.
The Day is Here
Up early, raring and ready to get it done. I arrived ahead of time and before you know it, I was in and out. My King and I went out for lunch and then home. At times all was normal, we laughed and talked but my mind would wander off into the questions of the results. After a colonoscopy, it is advised that one should take it easy in resuming their meals.
Off to the doctors two days later for my physical. I was anxious to hear the results of my colonoscopy. Needless to say, I was bracing myself - whatever the results, I will accept it and then I will move accordingly. Here it goes: "The good news is that you were a great read (referring to the colonoscopy), we were able to see everything clearly which is very important. At this statement, I felt myself shifting in the chair, crossing my legs and holding on firmly to the arms of the chair and for some reason, a smile was on my face. I knew there was more to come, seeing that the good news had already been shared. He continued: "We found a polyp, we took it out and sent it to the lab for testing. The results shows that it tested positive for cancer, it was very small and we caught it early." As it would just happen, I remained calm, my smile still placed on my face as though I felt that all was well. I was alone hearing that I had tested positive for cancer. The smile was my way of soothing myself. My King, my children were all at work. After a thorough review of my results and my health regimen, the physical began. I could not wait to call my King. Should I wait until he gets home? I just couldn't keep it to myself, I called. I shared the news as calmly and as positive as possible. After all, it was caught early. The King was just as calm and encouraging as expected. Shortly after our conversation, I received an email, it was my King expressing how the news of my results was like a punch. I knew that my children would not be able to handle the news very well but it was important for them to know - family health history is extremely important. This was a NEED to KNOW. My children cried, it's just unnerving hearing the results. They understood and were relieved to know that it was caught early and now they too have to be on the alert for their own health. Next up calling my siblings.
In many cases there are small polyps that are often benign/noncancerous. In some cases, the polyps develop into colon cancer. There is little to no symptoms. Fortunately for me, the source of the bleeding was from an internal hemorrhoid. If I could give it a hug and a kiss I would, that hemorrhoid was responsible for the early catch of cancer. On the other hand, I am still processing the fact that it was positively identified as cancer. Now when I speak on the importance of early detection, I speak from experience.
If you notice any of the following, you may need to call your doctor:
When you notice a change in your bowel habits such as an incomplete bowel movement, constipation, diarrhea or a change in the consistency of your stool
Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
Tired or weak
Weight loss without trying