Saturday, April 02, 2011

Weak Week

It's been a week to remember, to forget.

*Note * Biological, medical junk you may not want to hear.

On March 31st, I was scheduled to go to the hospital for a routine screening colonoscopy. Ugh, yes. However, it is something I have to do every three years, because I am a "high risk" person for colon cancer -- my dad died of it, and my mother damn near died of it. Colon cancer also killed one of my uncles. Statistically, I have a one in four chance of contracting colon cancer.

"However," my doctor told me, "this is the one cancer that is completely avoidable. We can actually prevent it by regular colonoscopies."

Frankly, it's a creepy procedure, having some random doctorate wander through your ass and into your innards with a spotlight, looking for stalactites and stalagmites and speed bumps and things. Thank God my doctors have thoroughly bought into the general anesthetic thing, and don't expect people to just "tough it out" as my parents experienced it.

Fact is, I had the procedure done on Thursday, and I get another three-year "all clear." I'm glad of that. I don't want to die like Dad did, in excruciating pain strapped into a hospital bed while medicos tried to eke another couple weeks of life out of him.

And I learned some things this time around. My first experience of colonoscopy was that it was scary, but not so awful as I thought it would be. The preparation was the worst, having to swallow down a laxative that makes you shit your innards inside out. The second time a new doctor had taken over the practice, and he is one who believes that double the "shit your innards inside out" is better than one "shit your innards inside out." That time was a nightmare of stomach upset and shitting the innards inside out ALL NIGHT LONG (do not play in your head the Lionel Richie song "All Night Long") because he wanted the attached garage scrubbed clean enough to perform a white glove inspection. That time, three years ago, was so hideously exhausting that I felt truly sick by the time I arrived at the hospital for the procedure, not having slept in more than 24 hours. (They were surprised that my blood pressure was high, WTF, I was feeling deathly ill from dehydration and exhaustion!)

This time, the prep was modified, as in the interim, someone had noticed that double the cleansing action was damn near killing people. That was the good news. The bad news was that my viscera didn't get the memo. As the day approached, my body went into flight-or-fight mode, and unable to flee, erupted in a painful and disgusting display of fear: atopic eczema, in the form of blistering, itching lesions. GROSS!

The actual preparation this time was a cake walk (though I believe the timing was off according to the doctor's schedule), and of course by the time they put me on an intravenous drip of versed I didn't give half a shit (so to speak) about what they were going to do to me.

Nevertheless, I am left with the remnants of the ordeal in the form of the dozens of slowly-healing lesions. I hope that in a few days, I'll be able to get back to normal activity uninhibited by big-ass blisters and put this experience behind me as a cluster of lessons well-learned.

And at least, for the next three to six years, I'm not going to contract colon cancer.

Oh, and at the top of the page, that's one of my 2011 portraits of our cherry tree blossoms. I may be a coward feeb, but Spring is strong.


Cheryl said...

Colon cancer got my dad, too, and I agree that it is no way to go. I glad you had a better experience this time. Also, Yay Versed!

Aser said...

I just need a continuous Versed drip four or five days prior to the procedure. Why haven't they perfected a Versed pill?

Alexandra said...

Another exam behind you. (So to speak.) Yay Versed, yay clean bills of health!

Lydia Manx said...

They probably are keeping it for the doctors after they do the cavity searches. I hope you feel better soon.