After 10 days I was told to to call the doctor for results on tests done on two polyps removed from my colon. I was told they were benign and it was suggested I return in three years. A polyp is described by the Mayo Clinic as "a small clump of cells that forms on the lining of the colon. Most colon polyps are harmless. But over time, some colon polyps can develop into colon cancer, which is often fatal when found in its later stages. Anyone can develop colon polyps. You're at higher risk if you're 50 or older, are overweight or a smoker, or have a personal or family history of colon polyps or colon cancer. Colon polyps often don't cause symptoms. It's important to have regular screening tests, such as a colonoscopy, because colon polyps found in the early stages can usually be removed safely and completely. The best prevention for colon cancer is regular screening for polyps."
So this is important and I was fortunate to have gone through this screening.
Below is an account of the test that worries so many people, but truly isn't as bad as it seems and is so important. I've known more than one person who has died from colon cancer and I'd rather they still be alive frankly.
I open my eyes and see the sun is out. I admit at 2:15 a.m. I was sitting down for a nice meal, I called it my last supper. It was comfort food really. Tasty. Made my belly warm.
I thought, upon opening my eyes, maybe I'll get up and start my day. Almost six hours of sleep ain't so bad for me. But today is a "special day," one that I will be telling me self over and over again...."This is important!"
Nope, I decide I am not ready for this.
I'm going back to sleep to deal with it later. Sleep is a better place to be on this "special day." (see picture below...goodnight again!)
This is important!
I really need to get up to pee. I'm a bit hungry and I can't wait for a little coffee and breakfast.
Oh wait. Where are those instructions? I should read those before I do anything.
I like coffee, I've been drinking it since I was a kid. My dad would let me sip out of his very sweetened, very milk laden ice coffee. It was almost like candy. As grew up my taste buds changed and I learned to not follow in my dad's footsteps. At least when it comes to how I drink coffee. He would use two heapers of sugar in a 16 oz. glass. I don't use any, but I do use half and half.
Back to the instructions.
"NO CREAMER?????? WHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTT? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
The neighbor will probably knock on the door soon wondering what the shouting was about.
Black coffee it is, I mean I'm not going to subject the world to me without coffee.
This is important!
This coffee sucks!
I can sorta live with this coffee, it's growing on me, but it would be better with a cookie.
This is important!
I have a lot of work to do today, so I sit at my computer to sorta kinda ignore that this coffee could really use a cookie, or some cereal or a steak. The instructions say no red foods, is white wine ok? I know it's only 11:05 now, but I might google it just to see.
I'm going aire on the side of caution... at least, for now, not have a glass of white wine this morning.
Wine, wine, wine. Now all I can think about is wine.
I'm listening to my belly ask the question to my brain "Did you die up there? Listen man, I depend on you to have your shit together, it's time to eat."
The brain tries to ignore the stomach, but he is a loud SOB. But as many of my friends and family know, my brain doesn't really listen to anyone else.
This is important!
No cookie. No nothing but clear liquids, broth, jello(not red or purple though), tea, juice or carbonated beverages(mind now turns from wine to beer). I set my alarm for 5 p.m. because that is when I open that box up and the shit gets real (literally).
Until then I plan to work, because if my past experiences with colonoscopy's tell me anything, I'm likely not going to get much done afterwards other than what a colonoscopy prep is intended to accomplish. TMI?
This is important!
When my brother Russ was in his 20s it was discovered he had cancerous growths in his colon. His doctors basically told him he was polyp farmer and he had an abundant crop. It's been a mystery all these years whether or not what he had was cancer, but it sent a red flag up all our family;s flag poles (I wanted to say butts). So we began screening early. This is at least my third rodeo, if I call it a rodeo it seems cooler. I am 54. All previous colonoscopies were clean as a whistle. Haha.
I've had a tendency to wake up in the middle of them however. I grabbed my doctors wrist in the middle of the procedure, though maybe it was the nurse. I remember distinctly the nurse saying "Ok we're going to just give you a little more of this!" and I went back into lala land.
This is important!
I keep telling myself this. I'm gonna try some of that chicken broth stuff soon because frankly, I might be starting to to get a little dazy up in the noggin' if I don't.
Cancer.net says: This year, an estimated 147,950 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. These numbers include 104,610 new cases of colon cancer (52,340 men and 52,270 women) and 43,340 new cases of rectal cancer (25,960 men and 17,380 women).
This is important!
But I still really want a cookie.
Bone broth sucks! Lime jello is ok.
I know people who have died from Colon cancer. This is important!
I wonder if I'll become a black coffee drinker after all of this is done?
More jello purchased and ginger beer--how do you make a Moscow Mule? Vodka is clear.
One hour from now my day dramatically changes. Jello and clear liquids is enough to quell the hunger, though food tastes are sometimes the best part of nourishment so I still want that damn cookie.
At 5 p.m. I have to open that box I showed at the beginning of this post and drink one bottle of the two inside with two 16 oz. glasses of water. This is supposed to basically make my insides want to get everything out, include my soul and will to live. Yes I may be flushing my will to live down the toilet today. Bukowski would be proud.
So I'll enjoy my mood for the next 50 minutes.
It just dawned on me I could end this whole shebang with one bite of that cookie!
"Ooops!" I'd tell the doctor in the morning. "It was instinct man, I was starving!"
Ten minutes to hell!
First bottle of elixir to irritate everything inside is now in my belly and there is no turning back. I have to drink two 16 oz. glasses of water over the next hour otherwise this won't work, so the instructions say. The elixir, or devil juice, wasn't horrendous but it wasn't good either. I always thought I'd die with a Guinness in my hand or perhaps an Omegong Three Philosophers or a finely crafted IPA that hit the spot just before I fell off the barstool. Please don't let this prep be the last flavor I have on this earth. It would seem like all this work was for naught.
I can tell that soon this experiment of blogging this might go off the rails. I may have found Jimmy Hoffa. I'm pretty sure in a few minutes I won't be able to type much for awhile.
I definately don't have time for this computer's shenanigans! C'mon man! upload so I can save so I can....well you know leave this chair to sit on a less comfortable one in another smaller room.
I admit I am feeling a bit chilled, the prep said this might happen. I may be a little dazy! I mean I just wrote "I may have found Jimmy Hoffa."
This is going to be a long night!
This is important!
I'm not completely sure if there is a heaven, but I can tell you for sure I found hell. No it's not that bad. It is not pleasant, but I assure you that there are for worse things in the world. Just scanning the news and hearing about a young life lost today it puts my minor discomfort on an elected procedure in perspective. Yes I want a cookie, but I know that tomorrow, knock on wood, after this procedure is over with I can eat a whole bag of them.
Many people in this world will not be able to say the same.
Seriously hearing about the loss of young life today made me not even want to joke around about this anymore. Whoa is me doesn't hold a candle to what some family and friends are going through right now wondering how something tragic has happened.
This is important, but not as important a coping with loss.
I am hungry.
I am not starving.
Starving is serious business. Hungry is just being whiney. I am tired and probably a bit dehydrated by this. I'll take some chicken stock and drink a large glass of water before trying to sleep a bit. Since I need to be at the hospital by 6:30 a.m. I also need to wake up at 3:30 a.m. for the second dose of the prep. I am not looking forward to it, but like I said before, there are people out there in this world with real problems. What I am doing is something I am very lucky to be in a position to do - I am in control of checking my health. This is a privilege I have been thinking a lot about today.
How many people out there do not have the ability to say this? I'll try to update this later, but truthfully I hope I can get some rest. In case I do, good night.
This is important.
It really hasn't been aweful, said now that my insides have calmed down a bit. Not looking forward to getting up in four hours though. I dozed off a couple times but not really. I'm a night owl so I seldom sleep early. But I need to try now otherwise this is going to really hurt later.
This is important.
My alarm goes off, I swear I just went to sleep. I actually mumbled out loud "I don't want to f-ing do this." What I didn't mention yesterday was that I just wanted to put this off to another time, but because I'm a wuss when it comes to medicine I reluctantly agreed. I had a stress test a month ago and firmly believed I'd be going under the knife after they found I was ticking time bomb. But just like past tests, the doc said calmly that there isn't anything wrong with my ticker, I'm just fat and getting older. Well he said the last part with a tad more tact, but that is what I heard.
I had to take my second bottle of prep at 3:30 a.m. because dummy me thought if I have the procedure early in the morning I won't feel so hungry and it won't waste my whole day. That was what I thought before I read the prep instructions. Note to self and others: Don't schedule it that early unless you are an early to bed sort, seriously.
I can and often do stay up to 2 a.m. But I sleep til 8 or 9 a.m. So at 11:11 last night I was still up. I was probaly still awake at midnight. I napped a bit yesterday, but they were true cat naps - nothing substantial. So at 3:30 that alarm really pissed me off.
I put on the news as I try to choke down the solution. It seemed harder to drink that it did yesterday. It immediately made my belly grumble and flutter about. I have two more glasses of water I need to drink before 4 a.m. and all I want to do is close my eyes. At one point I almost dumped the stuff down the sink and quit.
Luckily I rationalize.
I realized I invested this much into it and I began writing about how important this is. I check my messages on social media and saw some people encouraging my efforts for better health and even a few thanking me for openly discussing this topic. My favorites were my friends telling to quit being a wuss!
I powered down the solution and the second glass of water as fast as I could. The water was to wash out the taste which had some sort of flavoring to make it seem less intolerable, but there is something about it that is also gag inducing somewhat. By 4:05 I finished the two glasses of water and now waited.
The red coats were marching up the side of Bunker Hill and the colonists had all the metal they could muster ready to clash. And it was beginning to feel like a blood bath.
I'll spare the gory details, but this stint on the throne was minor in comparison to yesterday, but felt terrible because of exhaution. Wait, no, exhaustion is what the medical personal in hospitals dealing with dozens of COVID-19 cases feels - exhaustion is what the firefighters out west are feeling as the planet seems to be on fire and will be if they quit - exhaustion is what the parents of a child who has just died in an accident feel.... I was just tired and cranky and self loathing.
Personal pity party.
Up and down, down and up. Repeat.
I did throw up some of the water and/or solution. My stomach also did not like this irritant. I wondered if I needed to mention this to the doctors and nurses. I feared they'd say, "well then we can't do it now because you puked it all out." So I tried to stop myself from just being sick while praying to the porcelain god. I got up and walked around very uncomfortably.
But "this is important!" I just kept repeating this mantra.
I managed to not undo what the medicine, aka devil juice, was supposed to do, which is go through my body in a southerly direction.
Around 5 a.m.
I tried to close my eyes and yes like a minute later that damned alarm set off on a screaming fit. The iphone has no soul, no compassion...it is a bastard.
I hit snooze.
Around 5:09 a.m. the snooze is over buddy!
I needed to be at the hospital by 6:30 a.m. I wanted to shower, I needed to shower, I thought I really couldn't go if I didn't shower.
I do have some personal pride.
The solution was still irritating the crap out of my insides (yes I intended that phrasing on purpose.) So it was a tug of war battle between porcelain bathroom fixtures. The shower kept getting put on the back burner.
Deep breathes and repeating my new mantra, I figured it out and grabbed a quick shower before it was time to go. To the hospital I mean.
The instructions said no food or liquids after the prep was over so I was more like walking dead than a functioning, thinking human being, My name is Richard Sayer....ok I can get that out. Hope the questions don't get more complicated than that.
Lets take a little break and look at this picture of a turtle for a second.
"My first try at this game ended with a phone call from Meadville Medical Center at 6:45 am telling me they had to cancel my 9 am colonoscopy because of a water main break. Yes, after I was “well prepared.” I thought it was a prank. They rescheduled and sent me a Sheetz gift card for my troubles. Got the job done later though because it is important."
I was thinking, I bet I could buy some cookies with that Sheetz card if mine got cancelled.
Thanks for sharing. Glad you got it rescheduled. This is important!
Groggy and resigned to the fact that the worst was over. I entered the dark Meadville Medical Center to be greeted by a uniformed security guard asking me where I was headed. "GI Lab," I said and he took my name and my temperature.
I'm not sure about these temperature guns that are aimed at the forehead. This seems like a violent act and I'm not sure I want to become accustomed to someone pointing a gun like device between my eyes. I mean I think I want to maintain keen reflexes if I see someone is making a gesture like this in front of me.
Plus how accurate are these things? At a football game on Saturday my temperature was 95.7. This morning it was 96.1. Isn't normal like 98.6? And if its that low shouldn't I be freezing? Gonna hit Google on the thermometers and what does temperature mean after I'm done here!
I enter the GI Lab in the basement on time-ish.
A few more questions and signatures and then I get put in a room and told I can leave my socks on but everything else comes off. They hand me one of those slit down the back robes. No idea if I had it tied right or not but I got under the heated blanket they gave me and wanted to doze off. More questions that I slowly answered to be sure I was accurate and the demons in my head that had me up at that hour were not speaking for me.
I did mention throwing up part of the solution not sure if it would end this there or not be a big deal to them since I had come this far. I didn't seem to concern the nurse, but she wrote it down anyway. I'm guessing I'm not the first.
Another nurse enters to start the IV. This is where the lala land juice will be administered. She puts it on my right hand, but the saline drip bag is on the left so this partially annoyed me because now all the tubes etc. will be across my body. Apparently this wasn't her first rodeo either because she did this because that's the right place for when the procedure is done. Stick that in your annoyance I thought to myself later.
The first nurse taking all my stats asks me what I want when I get out and gives me choices of snacks and drinks. I settle on juice and yes...... a cookie!
I ask for an approximate time I need to be ready for the colonoscopy because I knew I still needed to use the restroom. She said roughly 8:30.
I decide the restroom is smarter now than later.
I went back to bed in hopes to sleep a little only to realize I left the restroom a tad prematurely. That solution was still waging a battle inside me. I believe the redcoats were on the retreat though(wait who won Bunker Hill?)
I lay back down and try to make sure my sore tush is covered. The heated blanket was no longer heated, but I was comfortable enough and closed my eyes. I dreamt a lot though I remember none of them.
They came and got me. No turning back now I thought. If I had only eaten a cookie this morning I wouldn't have to do this.
Everyone was very nice but they all kept asking me my name to see if I knew it I suppose, or maybe before they wheel John Smith into the room to probe him up the you know where when all he was in for was a hang nail extraction or something.
Do you have to take off all your clothes for a hang nail extraction?
The anesthesiologist (Yes spell checker had to help me with that word) pops in. Again asks my name and actually said "very good" when I answered correctly. I laughed.
I think she called the anesthesia "happy medicine." I laughed again.
A few more questions that I appeared to answer correctly. Then the doc shows up and talks faster than anyone has ever talked before. I think he may be an auctioneer and I may have bought a crock pot. He went over the warning label fine print basically and I signed something that said I understood, or maybe it was the sales agreement. I hope its a good crock pot.
The nurses asked me to roll on my left side(remember the nurse who put the IV in my right arm, she thinks ahead.)
A nurse takes my glasses off.
The anesthesiologist (this time I just copied and pasted) puts the happy medicine syringe in the IV port and says I might feel a little burning pain going in but It'll pass very soon.
Boy she was right. It went in and it hurt and crawled up my arm and man it really, really did hurt. I said "You're right this really hu......."
I woke up back in my room with my glasses on and a very wet mask. Yes they put the oxygen right over my mask, I admit to thinking maybe these right-wingers are right about masks for a brief second.
I wondered how my mask got so wet and realized that being in lala land I likely drooled profusely.
It didn't hit me until much later that my glasses were on and they were straight.
They let me rest a little bit but basically they came in to give some news about the procedure and I was ready to go. My first two colonoscopies they told me I was clean as a whistle, no polyps or any problems. This time they took two polyps out for testing It was the nurse that told me as she went over the paperwork and not the doctor himself which is generally a good sign. If its obviously bad the doctor comes in and gives the run down. These were small and they will be tested to be sure they aren't something serious.
I'm confident they are nothing serious.
I was going to end this blog post here, but I have to call for results next week. So this will be open until I can report on the finding of those tested polyps.
Unless something is funky with those tests I should be good to go for another bunch of years before the next colonoscopy.
Since I had those polyps I'm going to say this was a smart thing to do at this time. Nip whatever that is in the bud. As I said I'm fortunate to be in this position I can be proactive in my healthcare.
his is important after all.
And yes I finally got my cookie!