It’s Done, But It’s Not Over

I had a much dreaded colonoscopy yesterday.

As everyone had warned me, the prep for it was way worse than the test itself.  And by prep, I mean drinking The Vile Shit-Cleanser ahead of time.  The nonstop, pooping isn't as bad as choking down the gag-producing concoction you're forced to drink.  (At least, for me it wasn't.  Not that nonstop shitting is fun ….)  

Yesterday afternoon, I arrived on time, but the OR rooms were extremely backed up and I had a long wait ahead of me.

I met Dr. Important while I waited.

He is VERY nice.  In spite of the embarrassment factor of meeting him for the first time and discussing a possible future dinner out (yes, we really did), and then having him put  a 300 mile long tube up my ass ….  I'm happy Briefcase got me in to see him.  

Dr. Important is, indeed, a very important doc in his field of medicine.  He's also a really, really, nice guy.  

As far as the actual procedure, I remember being wheeled back to the room and the nurses getting things set up.

The next thing I remember was semi-waking up at one point during the colonoscopy and saying, "Ow!" because I felt cramping in my abdomen.  I saw Dr. Important look up, nod to the nurse and I was instantly out again.

Those are some very magical drugs they use.

Awhile later, I was waking up in the recovery room.  In front of me was a somber Dr. Important.  I instantly knew, the test didn't go as perfectly as I had imagined it would.

I have no family history of colon cancer, but Dr. Important explained to me it is currently the third highest killer of both men and women in our country.

In case you're wondering, for women the leading killer cancers are:

1.  Breast

2.  Lung

3.  Colon

For men the leading killer cancers are:

1.  Prostate

2.  Lung

3.  Colon

Dr. Important showed me photos, and a video, of what he found during my test.

As it turns out, he removed four polyps.

They weren't "normal" polyps either.

They were weird, bad types, of polyps.

Very unusual polyps doing funky things polyps aren't supposed to do.

He told me it was not at all what he would expect to find in someone of my (very young!) age.

(I might have added the "very young" to that dialog, but can you blame me?) 

A couple of the polyps were also very difficult to recognize as polyps and a less experienced doctor could have easily missed them.

I will find out if any, or all of, the polyps are cancerous in a week or two.

In the meantime, I'm sticking my head in the sand and convincing myself I do not have colon cancer.  

I do not have colon cancer, I do not have colon cancer, I do not have colon cancer.

Damn, I sure hope I don't have colon cancer.

(I will, of course, update you once I get the pathology reports back.)

In the meantime, I'm not allowed to exercise or eat any spicy foods for the next week while my colon heals from having the polyps removed.  (Either/or could cause bleeding and if there's bleeding, I have to get right back into the hospital.)

There was also more not-so-good news.

Even if the polyps are NOT cancerous, he wants to have me come back in six months and go through the procedure again under full anesthesia.  (This time I was under "conscious sedation" which is why I sorta woke up at one point.)

He explained my colon is more difficult than some to scope (of course, it is!) and so he wants to knock me completely out so he can do an extra thorough exam.  Also, since my body is producing these weird, unusual, straight-from-outer-space polyps – he will have to watch me closely even if these initial polyps come back benign.

In other words, I have a lot of colonoscopies in my future.

Just a day ago I told Briefcase I would never, ever, drink that prep stuff again.

I was wrong.

I'll be drinking it again soon, and many times in my future.

And you know what?

Dr. Important said, "Thank goodness you came in when you did."

No kidding.

Colon cancer usually first shows itself in a polyp.

I am SO glad I had the test done.

I'm also SO glad I had such a great doctor do it.

(If you're in The OC and need a referral, feel free to email me and I will happily give you Dr. Important's real name.)

P.S.  If you have any symptoms, even MINOR symptoms, please get over your colonoscopy fears and go get checked regardless of what age you are.

P.P.S.  If you're 50 years old, or older, and haven't had a colonoscopy yet you need to pull your head out of your ass the sand and book one NOW.

No excuses people!

It's important.

© Twenty Four At Heart 

36 Responses to “It’s Done, But It’s Not Over”

  1. Pam

    Bummer! No really, that wasn’t what we all wanted to hear.
    Think positive (you’re good at that) and we will too. It’s going to be all right. Polyps! Pft.

  2. Kristen

    Holy crap, I’m so glad you went in. Please keep us updated, I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you. Lots of hugs! If you would email me the doctor’s name (if he’s a gastroenterologist) I’d appreciate it. I have been meaning to find one because I can’t drink ANY alcohol without instant stomach pain and vomiting. I’m talking not even one drink – it is so painful, I need to find out wth is wrong. It’s been this way for 5 years.
    Take care, S. I’m glad that you got it done so that they can figure out what the next step is.

  3. karen

    I know a 20 year old girl! who had the same polyp situation recently… and I can tell you it turned out NOT to be colon Cancer.. .just a funky weird polyp that shouldn’t be in someone her age. SO… here’s to that.
    Thank you for being honest about the procedure.. you’ve actually made me feel better about having it done, because I know you pull no punches.

  4. WebSavvyMom

    –>I’m glad you had it done as well but I must admit that you saying the waiting room was backed up, made me giggle.
    ~deb

  5. unmitigated me

    I am stunned that you found someone that’s at the top of his medical filed and NOT a jerk. Difficult to do, that! Sorry that there will me more of these in your future, but I have heard that some people add vodka to the prep to make it all a bit easier to get down. I totally agree that it’s like drinking warm snot. Ergh. A pair of noseclips helped me, like the ones that swimmers use? Because that blocks off 90% of your sense of taste.

  6. Di

    Sooooo glad you had this done and crossing my fingers for you that it’s just polyps and nothing else that you will have to worry about once the reports come in. I won’t bore you or scare you with stories of friends or myself and how colonoscopies went… I think this should be kept just about YOU… wishing for best results for you.
    Di

  7. Jenny in Mn now in AZ

    Wow…not what I wanted to hear that it may be something serious. At least you are addressing the issue instead of letting it wait. My last colonoscopy I was told they couldn’t do it – I was in too much pain and they had given me the maximum dose of meds for the procedure. That instilled a lot of questions in my head!
    Keep us posted and yes, of course we are all hoping and praying you just have weird stuff and not dangerous! Hugs!

  8. Denise

    When I had mine, the doctor prescribed a different prep which was ONLY clear liquids for 2 days and 2 (as I recall) small bottles of something to drink that are definitely fast acting. Much easier. When I had my hysterectomy, I did the gallon jug and almost threw up. So it’s worth asking because I know there are options. Thinking only good thoughts about your results.

  9. Suzanne Y.

    I am going to think positively and assume the the polyps are not cancerous. As to the vile poop inducing liquid you will have to chug – consider yourself lucky that you have an excellent doctor that successfully removed them in the early stages, and insists that you return in 6 months to monitor your colon. I guess the other good news (thinking positively here) is that your children will be super vigilant as they approach middle age. While it sucks that Dr. Important found the polyps, the good news is that this procedure is a screening and it was discovered EARLY.
    You are an amazing woman Suzanne, and will get through this with flying colors. We are all rooting for you!

  10. yvonne nc

    Deep breaths,it’s going to be OK. Hubby and I are both on the “frequent flyers” program. It’s a pain in the ass so to speak, but it’s so much better than the alternative. the worst for me is going off of my meds., 20 days of hell.

  11. Jan

    OMG, just what you DON’T need. I wish I were there to hug you. Instead, I’ll just join you.
    You do NOT have colon cancer. You do NOT have colon cancer. You do NOT have colon cancer.
    I love you to death, girl – I hope you know that.

  12. Linda

    Wow- glad you went Suzanne.I hope they were just funky polyps not bad ones. I am so glad you had the test! Keep us posted on the results please

  13. Karl

    My mom had a pretty big polyp in her recent colonoscopy. Turned out to be benign. Hoping that’s all it is for you, too. I have yet to have a colonoscopy, but nobody I’ve talked to likes the crap that you have to drink in prep for it.

  14. Lisa

    I am so glad you had it checked! I wish the doctor had better news for you. I will be thinking lots of *no cancer* thoughts for you. Big hugs to you…
    A friend who is a frequent flier told me about an easier prep too, not as much yuck to drink anyway, so next time I go I’m asking about that. Maybe your doc can give you that next time. XOXO

  15. Jo Anne

    Hugs and lots of prayers for you as you wait to hear from Dr. Important. I echo the good thoughts and encouragement that has previously been posted. Please do keep us posted, we really do care about you. I must add that I so appreciate your honesty and the peek you give us into your very real life. You are a very special woman to share so much with virtual strangers.

  16. Pam

    Damn! But I’m so glad he found them and is doing a follow up in six months. But still–damn!!! I’m so sorry that you have to drink the crap again. It sounds like you’ve got an excellent doctor and lots and lots of people praying for you!
    Take care,
    Pam

  17. Amy_in_Stl

    Ugh, so that’s two more reasons I don’t want to go get tested. I’m not only traumatized from years of my mom having a colonoscopy annually; but what if they find something? A week without exercise or spicy food? And there may be something wrong; I know it’s horrible but I think I’d rather not know. I mean, if I’m a polyp former that does mean a lot more of these tests in my future and I just think that idea is horrible. I’m sorry that you’ve had this happen; good for you for being strong but I think I’d rather keep my head in the sand.

  18. Missy

    Holding you in my thoughts and I know you will have a good outcome. For all the rest of us who take the long prep, completely chill it first – it helps minimize the taste, add the lemon lime flavor pack and suck sour candies in between glasses. Also many GI docs will not use a short prep even if you ask – I’ve asked 2 different doctors and they said no way. Try and relax this weekend and know you have a gazillion people rooting for you.

  19. Addie

    Praying the results come back okay. If they do, think how lucky you are to have caught this early on. Now you will be watched closely. So many people put off this test and die as a result. As bad as the prep is, it is NOTHING compared to suffering through cancer treatments. Wishing you good news, quickly!

  20. Beth

    You’ve just done so much good with this post without even realizing it. Thank you for being you and sharing your life with us. You reach so many people, touch so many lives and CHANGE LIVES without ever realizing the impact you have. I will be holding you in my prayers for a positive outcome. You’re an amazing person and I know you’ll get through this with flying colors regardless of the test results.

  21. Karen in East Texas

    My prayers are with you, your family and your doctor. I hope all turns out as well as it can. I was in the same boat a few years ago (I was only 38). The polyps were benign, but I have to have a colonoscopy every year now. 🙁
    Anyway, next time ask if you can use the prep that comes in the glass (ole timey soda looking) bottles. It’s still pretty nasty, but atleast I was able to keep it down and I didn’t have to drink as much of it as the other kind.

  22. Denise ;)

    Request the prep that I had. You are given two small bottles of *poison* that you mix into 4 oz of water each. You drink 4 oz of the mixture then over the next few hours drink a gallon of any clear drink….ie, water, then 2 hours later the second 4 oz. mixture. It is sooo much easier to only have to drink the 2 — 4 oz. yucky tasting stuff then to poison a whole gallon of water and have to get it down. NO ONE should have to do that.
    I will keep you in my prayers. My Mom had colon cancer 18 years ago and is still going strong at 90 years old. I’m sure you are one of the very fortunate to have caught your polyps early. 😉

  23. Jason

    What a nightmare! As if you needed another health problem. This is really scary and I’m hoping with all my might that it is not cancer.

  24. stacy

    Just wondering, what were your symptoms? Glad that you went Suzanne!

  25. Elaine

    I think it’s ridiculous that in this day and age, people have to drink that awful stuff in order to prep themselves for the procedure. Like you said, why haven’t they invented a pill that does the same thing? They have all kinds of medicine to put us into a deep sleep so they can cut on us, why not a medication to clean us out.
    When I had mine in mid-Missouri in the early 2000’s, I wasn’t as lucky as you. Mine hurt like the dickens and when I told Dr. Stupid that it was uncomfortable, he said, you cannot POSSIBLY feel that. I was in tears and wrote him up too. Anyway, when he said I had polyps and needed to have done every year or two years, I think I told him to go f&)^ himself.
    Anyway, I’ll go to an IMPORTANT NON-STUPID doctor for another one as soon as I turn 65 and don’t have to pay for it out of pocket. Just 9 more months…
    Wishing good thoughts for you.

  26. dogmother

    Well. Interesting. Modern medicine. Sending positive thoughts your way! I’m just not sure what to make of it. Oh yes, I have the dreaded “shit yourself to death” procedure coming up. I am both the one ordering (on a daily basis), and the one undergoing this procedure. My insurance dictates that I MUST have the procedure! I know many people who have had pre-cancerous polyps removed and even cancer discovered during a colonoscopy (and they were without symptoms). We have made so many advances as far as prevention, but I often wonder…at what cost financially, emotionally and physically. I digress. Would we outlive these polyps? Would we need to take antidepressants to fend off the anxiety they produce? Just random thoughts. Can you even imagine this…a patient of mine insisted on NOT having ANY medication during her “procedure” and thought it was not a big deal! I say to her, “high five..you have awesome pain tolerance….I won’t be going that route! Bring on all the drugs!” Every BODY is different.

  27. Erica

    I’m so glad you had the colonoscopy and I hope the polyps are not cancerous. I wish Dr. Important hadn’t given you any info until the results were in, but he did, so try not to worry. Wishing you the best.

  28. Leann

    Praying you get good news. Thank you for sharing. Hope this will convince, at least 1 person, to get the test.

  29. Alexis (Minnesota)

    S,
    Okay well that sux. That’s not at all what I wanted to see you say after that, nor is it I’m sure what you wanted to write…..shit. Okay. Well, we wait then. Waiting is good.
    Okay, waiting sucks.
    But, there it is. Can’t rush ’em so we wait.
    Seriously pay attention to your body as it heals from this though – that’s an area that’s very sensitive to irritation and you can get pretty sick pretty fast without really realizing it. Hope Briefcase and or the kids are around for a week or so while your colon mends after the removal of the space alien polyps.
    Love ya girl – and so we wait. Here’s my hand….Want a cookie and a glass ‘o milk?

  30. Jenn in Tenn

    Thanks so much for sharing…even when it’s difficult news. Fingers crossed for good test results. ((HUGS))

  31. Nancy P

    Suzanne I am sorry you have having this extra burden right now. I know it must be hard to wait for his results. I do hope that even though it is easier said than done you think positive thoughts. Back in 2007 I had some pretty major symptoms and yet did not have a colonoscopy until Jan of 2008. Turns out I had a very large malignant tumor and had surgery a week & 1/2 later. Guess what? He got ALL of it. He still tells me I am a walking miracle! I have to have that pesky test once a year now but I thank my lucky stars I went in when I did. He told me they would have found it several years earlier. (I was 51 when I had it)
    I have found that I simply can not keep that horrid tasting stuff down (I think it is almost like ptsd from having to take it twice in less that 2 wks time back then!) sooo I am able to use pills only. They are still a pain in the ass, HA!, as there are appr. 24 to take over a 5 hr period or so but at least no icky tasting stuff.
    I hope I am not upsetting you by writing this as I truly want you to know that early detection of polyps is such a huge thing and I have every reason to believe you are going to be just fine with only the awkwardness of having dinner with the guy that put the camera up your butt to worry about. 🙂
    All my good thoughts and prayers are going out to you.

  32. missmolly

    Praying the results are negative for cancer.

  33. Neeroc

    The bowel prep stuff is awful! I’m sorry you have to wait for further results, I’m hoping you just have ‘interesting’ polyps (what a weird thing to say!)
    And thanks for the kick in the pants to get my testing kit in this year. My maternal Gfather died of colon cancer, so I’m on the pre-screening FOBT program way earlier than they recommend.

  34. DuchessOmnium

    I have been out of it for a bit — was this just routine? I am always wondering about what’s routine in the US compared to what’s routine in the UK. No routine colonoscopies here…

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