Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Have you had your Colonoscopy today?

Fifteen years ago my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. He was only 48 years old and had no family history or other risk factors. The doctors offered no real hope or treatments and gave him six months to live. He died 9 months later.

Because my dad was only 49 when he died, my brother and I were advised to start getting colonoscopies every 5 years starting when we were 30. I think I had my first one when I was 31 and I'm having my second one tomorrow. Due to pregnancies and just losing sight of the calendar a little, I'm past the 5 year mark but hoping to get back on track.

About the time I had my first colonoscopy, Katie Couric did one on TV. Her husband had recently died of colon cancer and she had made it her mission to educate the masses on this very curable disease, if it is found early enough. To help dispel myths about this important screening procedure, Katie did a colonoscopy on TV. The cameras followed her through her prep and the procedure the next morning.

I kept thinking, 'if Katie can do it, I can do it,' so I made an appointment and went in for my first consult with a gastroenterologist---the type of doctor that deals with all things colon. He concurred that with my family history I should definitely have the test done every 5 years. I joked that as young as I was did he realize how many colonoscopies that would be in my lifetime. He encouraged me that they are making advancements with this screening test all the time and I'd get to see them over the years. Lucky me.

So he surprised me that day by offering a new prep. The prep is what everyone complains about when it comes to colonoscopies. Drinking a gallon of the most horribly tasting mixture is what turns most people off from doing the scope. Instead of having to drink the Golightly mixture, he told me about the Pill Prep where you take a series of pills the morning before the test and another series that evening.

Unfortunately, the Pill Prep is not loved by all doctors because they don't think it does a consistently good job at cleaning you out. But the key is to drink lots and lots or water to help flush you out.

When I went back in for my consult this time I was shocked they again offered me the pill prep, but so thrilled. So what I'm going to do today is let you walk with me as I prep for my colonoscopy that is scheduled for tomorrow morning. Hopefully, I can be your "Katie" and show you that when it comes to colonoscopies...their bark is louder than their bite.

When detected at its earliest stages, Colon Cancer has a 90 percent cure rate. Don't let the fear of the test rob you of early detection.

So check back often today as I document the prep and how I'm feeling. It may just save your life or the life of someone you know.


Livin' Life said...

YOu go girl!!!!

the back door said...

so i'm considered high risk as well since we have colon cancer on both sides - your dad, and my dad. so far i'm the only one in my family to not have mine yet. my doc has graciously allowed me to wait until 35. only a few years away. he has however done some rather unpleasant tests of other sorts all of which have come out clean.

none of this sounds like fun to me, but i know it is a must. thank you for showing me that i can be brave too:)

Classic MaMa said...

Should most people, even if colon cancer sin't in their genes, get one when they turn 30?

Anonymous said...

You should check with your doctor, but most people should get one at age 50.

Anonymous said...

I, too, took the OsmoPrep, but my doctor had me take the first dose the NIGHT before the big day, and the rest of the pills a few hours before I left for the clinic. I have to say it was a piece of cake and the doctor said I was clean as can be! Good luck tomorrow!