PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT – COLONOSCOPY

GOOD MORNING WORLD

It is not every day that one can shout to the world that they have had a colonoscopy.  Today I can join that quiet throng.  It has led me to speak about the unspeakable.  This really is not a procedure that one should take lightly.  While the prep is literally a pain in the butt, it does save lives.

I had my first colonoscopy in 1996 after my father called to tell me he had colon cancer.  Needless to say I was distraught at this news.  Three weeks later I was pleased with the news it was gone.  Daddy was diagnosed on Feb 14th, had his surgery to remove the encapsulated tumor Feb 21st and was given a clean pathology report on Feb 28th.  That was a good month.  He was 75 and stayed with us until age 93!  Early detection was the key.

At the time of my first colonoscopy we were living in Memphis, TN.  After my procedure I was escorted into the Drs. office for the results.  There, on an easel, was a picture of my doctor, Dr. Ed Cattau, standing with Ronald Reagan.  I commented on how wonderful it must have been to meet him.  He replied that he was the Dr. who found the pre-cancerous polyp in President Reagan’s colon. (1)  While I am not so sure I needed to know that news, I was certain I was in good hands and who does not want to be 6 degrees of separation from a President?

Since then I have had uneventful trips to the gastroenterologists on a not so very steady basis.  It is not a favorite activity thus it is put off until absolutely necessary.  I made it 9 yrs this time.  Really way too long with my history.  The reasoning is that we were busy.  If there is bad news (which is not anticipated from first glance) than busy will have been a bad excuse.

Katie Couric was the first to bring Colon Cancer to the awareness it has today after her husband died of this disease.  Good for her! Sad for the reason.  She actually was awake as she had a procedure on film for all to see on one of her shows.  Did not watch it nor have watched any of mine.  Give me the drugs I say and get on with it.

Today was a ‘fun’ adventure.  Dr. Wu came in to greet me and asked how I was to which I replied ‘Excited!” with a tinge of sarcasm.  He answered that I would be the only one there in the beds who was.  The rest of the prep was uneventful until the procedure room when Dr. Wu had a bit of a time putting on his paper gown.  I shared my concern vocally that if he could not figure out the gown should I be worried.  They all chuckled and I hoped that was the joke I intended as I do not remember much until it was over since the drugs did their work.

Before the procedure, I was chatting with my husband and the nurse attending me about what would make a Dr. choose this as a profession.  Who would like to be this end of a person all day long?  There has to be more to it.

The ‘end result’ (pun intended) is that this procedure does save lives.  This procedure was reported in 2014 to have reduced the incidence of colon cancer by 30%. (2)  In January of 2016 the rate was 61% reduction in colon cancer from this screening.  (3) While it may be unpleasant to talk about as well as endure the prep it is well worth the effort.

That’s it Boys and Girls – your PSA for the day.  Go out there and schedule yours!  What could be more fun?  Ending this (again pun intended) with a serious note that we are really blessed to have the medical technology to save lives before any illness can begin.  Life is good!

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

(1) http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/reagans-doctors-discover-possibly-cancerous-colon-polyp

(2)http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/report-more-colon-testing-leads-to-30-percent-drop-in-cancer-rates

(3)http://www.nature.com/ajg/journal/v111/n3/full/ajg2015418a.html