I recently underwent a colonoscopy. This is a procedure in which a doctor uses a colonoscope – a long, flexible tube with a miniature video camera on the end – to examine the inside of your anus and colon.
Why might one submit to this uncomfortable-sounding procedure? It’s quite simple. A colonoscopy is recommended for those over 45 years of age, especially if there is bleeding from the anus, abdominal pain, changes in bowel movements such as diarrhea, or unexplained weight loss.
A colonoscopy exam looks for changes – such as swollen, irritated tissues, polyps or cancer – in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. The type of cancers it looks for are the second leading cause of death in Eeyou Istchee. This is a sobering fact when one considers that early detection with a colonoscopy could greatly increase the odds of survival. The earlier any problems are detected, the faster they can be dealt with.
I won’t lie and say I wasn’t worried. I was. My half-brother Kenny died of cancer. My brother Robie died of cancer. My dad and his dad both had cancer. My grandmother had cancer. It runs in the family.
Fortunately, no cancer was found during my procedure. Some polyps were removed as they can lead to cancer. Talking to some people I heard good and bad things, but they all said the same thing: don’t hesitate to get a colonoscopy. It could save your life.
To prepare, I had to drink a bowel-cleansing liquid the night before and again in the morning before the exam. I made sure I was close to the toilet both times. After the purging I went to the hospital, stripped down to my socks and put on the gowns they gave me.
Going into the examination room, I laid down on my side, was given some drugs and the colonoscopy was on. I wasn’t even discomforted at all. After a while it was over.
Towards the end the doctor asked me to fart. I let go of one of my loudest and longest windstorms right in his face. I think I heard him say, “Thank God they don’t smell.”
Getting cleaned out may had something to do with that. They didn’t get all the polyps this time around so I’m back for a follow-up exam in three months. Getting such a positive result felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t realize how much the thought of cancer had been bothering me. I felt like bouncing around and it wasn’t due to the drugs the hospital gave me.
With colon or rectal cancer being the second biggest killer in Eeyou Istchee, isn’t it time you booked a colonoscopy for yourself?