I want to share something personal that I had to deal with lately. At the end of May I had a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a procedure where they put a scope up your butt to look at your large intestine. Now in order to explain my colonoscopy I'm going to be totally honest and direct, because I want to help someone out there that may be experiencing the same thing and I want to lay it out there. Normally when you turn 50 that's the age most people get a colonoscopy done, but I'm only 39.
There are several events and reasons as to why I had this procedure done. In January my best friend Tammy lost her husband, Jim to cancer. They were married in November 2012 and he died unexpectedly in January 2013. Jim had the worst form of lung cancer and he had no idea. On their honeymoon he wasn't feeling good and he thought he came down with walking pneumonia. After being sick for several weeks he was taken to the hospital because his blood pressure was high and that's when they discovered a blood clot in his leg and a mass on his lungs. Jim died 30 days later...everything happened so fast.
After Jim's death I began to think about my own health and decided I needed to go to the doctors to get a check up. Prior to my actual doctors appointment my doctors office ordered a bunch of blood tests as well as stool test. Oh my gosh....even saying that word, "stool", makes me so embarrassed! I know we all poop but still! When I saw the envelope to complete my "stool" test at home I cringed...yuck! And how embarrassing! But I had to do it, and I did what I had to do and sent off the "sample" to the lab. A letter came back saying they detected blood in my stool (that word! ugh!!!), so I had to do another test. Again the second sample came back with a detection of blood. My doctor sent me to a gastroenterologist for their opinion and they told me in order to find out why there is blood in my stool they would have to do a colonoscopy. Now, I don't know why my doctor ordered me to get a stool sample done, but I'm grateful he did!
The procedure itself was easy, it was the prep that sucked! I couldn't eat solids the day prior and had to stick to a liquid diet. I could have Jell-O, but no red Jell-O, in fact no red anything just clear liquids as well as clear broth. Then later on that day I had to take 2 Dulcolax pills at 3:00 then an hour later start drinking a whole bottle of Miralax then 4 hours later take 2 more Dulcolax pills. By the end of the night I literally had to stay close to the bathroom. The reason for this was to clean out my system. Doesn't this sound like fun! It gets better....
The day I went in for my colonoscopy I noticed I was the youngest patient there . Even the nurses kept saying, "You're so young!", which didn't make me feel any better. Plus I've been told I have a young face so when they saw me I'm sure they thought I was younger then 39. I was put to sleep and I woke up as if nothing happened. I did have to fart before they let me go...another embarrassing moment, but at least I could fart freely and in public...this was a good excuse! The doctor came into my recovery room and told me they found two polyps and ended up cauterizing them. One was pretty nasty and was bleeding already which was why I had blood in my stool (cringe). They said they also did a biopsy to the surrounding areas of the polyps and that they would call or mail my results in a couple of weeks. My husband was there to drive me home and on our way home we stopped for lunch. The nurse told me to stick to a light meal but hunger over came me and I ordered a Turkey Burger Royal with french fries and peach pie for dessert.
The next day I felt fine and I wasn't even nervous about what my results may say. Then 4 days later I began to bleed....rectal bleeding. I know that's TMI, but like I said I want to be honest because I want to share my story and how this could help someone else. Every time I had the urge to use the restroom blood and blood clots kept coming out. It was so scary and I had to go to the emergency room. The on-staff gastroenterologist in the ER came to my room and was surprised at how young I was (here we go again!). Then she asked me why I got the colonoscopy done. I told her why and she began to explain to me that the polyps that were removed were benign (thank God!) and the nasty one was pretty big, so the reason for the bleeding was because when they cauterized it a scab had formed and the scab came off. She assured me the bleeding would eventually stop. She then began to go more in depth about the polyps they removed. She explained that even though they were benign, they were pre-cancerous, so by the time I was supposed to have a colonoscopy at the age of 45 or 50 those polyps would have turned into colon cancer. She told me that the colonoscopy saved my life. As soon as she said that literally my life flashed before my eyes. First thing I thought of was my kids and whatever the doctor was saying was now turning into a blur. When she left the room I began to cry because it was so much to take in. My aunt and my husband were there with me and my aunt said, "Eileen...they got it just in time" and my husband began hugging me. Now I need to get a colonoscopy again within 6 months, just in case. If they find nothing then I would have to get another one in about year or 2 years and then again if nothing then another one in 5 years.
Before I was pretty quiet and being private about my procedure but now I'm a total advocate and want to share my experience. I recommend anyone who has any family history of any type of cancer to get it done! It may sound unpleasant but if it's a matter of saving your life it's worth it. I hope I helped someone out there who is reading this!