We’ve all heard it: If you’re 50 years of age or older, the American Cancer Society recommends you have a colonoscopy every 10 years. For most of us, that particular procedure elicits a feeling of–well, ugh. And, if you’re like me, you tend to think that if nothing abnormal is going on, everything’s OK. Besides, we’re busy.
I rarely visited doctors when I was younger. I was young, strong, and felt great. Later when arthritis set in I figured that was to be expected at my age. And cancer? Well, we have a family history that includes colon cancer, BUT: There’s just something about a butt exam that turns me off. The colonoscopy itself never worried me, since I’d be sound asleep on some good drugs the whole time. But a few years back you had to down a gallon of horrid-tasting stuff and then spend most of the night in the throne room expelling gargantuan amounts of liquified Number Two. Noooo thank you!
However, subtle changes in my exhaust system prompted me to suck it up and undergo the exam. I had wanted to attribute what was going on to a lousy diet, but that nagging question haunted me: What if? So, yesterday afternoon I drank the first round of magnesium citrate. Within the hour the purge began and by the third trip to the throne room I was wishing I could change my mind and call the whole thing off. My poor bum felt like I had passed fire and then wiped with sandpaper! (I relayed that to the surgery nurse this morning, who responded that the prep instructions should be revised to include applying Vaseline around the anal area. A nice thick layer would not only soothe the burning, but afford some protection to the skin each time that tanker load of acid blows out the tailpipe.)
The colonoscopy itself? I slept right through it and woke up refreshed but a little woozy, with no cramping or discomfort whatever. I think my system needed a good cleaning out, because I felt better than I had in weeks. Best yet, everything is fine!
I could have waited until unmistakable symptoms developed. However, three people I know did exactly that. One died. The second survived, but only after a long and exhausting fight for her life. The third person also survived, but underwent surgery that left him wearing a colostomy bag.
Colon cancer is a killer. Unpleasant though the prep may be, a colonoscopy still beats the alternative. Get it done!