|Pat's medical adventure, or What I Did on My Three-Day Weekend!
||[Apr. 15th, 2018|12:56 pm]
CN: Lots of medical stuff, with details.
So, a few months ago I went to visit my doctor. Originally, I went in because of my extreme knee pain (whose saga is an entirely different blog entry and ongoing happy story that maybe I'll get around to), but since I was coming in, she suggested a general exam as well. It had been a while since my last one, so I did.
Which I did and it ended with her recommending a colonoscopy - which is one of those horrible things they do to you if you turn 50.
I had never had one before and had no idea what would be involved, and I was curious so I agreed to do so. She gave me the number to call to make an appointment.
Afterward, the doctor who did it told me "Whoever convinced you to have this done just saved your life."
Yeah, that took me back a bit. This is just a routine screening, right?
Right. A routine screening that, in cases like mine, makes a difference between life and death.
It's a weird feeling, that I'm still not sure how to process, to have gone past immanent death without ever knowing I was in danger in the first place.
So, normally, a colonoscopy takes about 20 minutes, sometimes the patient is awake for it, sometimes they are not. I was not, which I was grateful for after the fact. Mine took 90 minutes, and involved a lot of pushing and pulling me around, which I can still feel the after effects of. During that time, they removed 27 polyps from the inside of my colon. "Most" of which seemed to be pre-cancerous. "Seemed to be" only because that's the doctor's best guess. They were all sent to the lab to be analyzed, and I'll have the results by the end of the week. (And don't think I'm not freaking out about that, despite having a pretty good idea already that the results will be negative).
But, yeah, pre-cancerous means that if I had waited another year for the screening, they would most likely have become cancerous. By the time colon cancer develops to the point where there are symptoms, it's usually too late. Which is why they do the screenings. If they catch it early - when the cancer is only in the polyps - it's close to 100% survivable.
Fortunately, I've recently entered this whole "treat my body better, take care of my health, and listen to my doctors" kind of phase of my life and got the recommended screening. So instead of cancer, what I got was a day-long fast and cleanse followed by an uncomfortable 90-minute procedure.
Oh, and also another appointment to do the same within a year. Normally, if they don't find anything the next appointment will be ten years later. But, because of how many they found I'm on the "every year" plan for now on. I hope I still have health insurance!
Also, I finally got a tattoo. On the *inside* of my colon. Beat that for badass, yo!