Colonoscopy Day

digestive system illustration grays anatomy Gray1223

Content note: medical grossness.

It’s colonoscopy day. Oh, joy.

Today, I eat nothing but clear liquids all day: ginger ale, apple juice, broth, Jell-o (but not red, orange, or purple). This afternoon I take laxatives that should be banned by the Geneva Convention, laxatives that taste like citrus-flavored poison and feel like your insides have been sucked into a black hole and shot out the other side. This evening I spend all evening coping with the inevitable result. Tonight I sleep on the sofa, since it’s close to the bathroom. Tomorrow morning I take one more round of torture laxatives, and then go in for the colonoscopy itself, which is by far the least unpleasant part of this process. Tomorrow afternoon and evening I collapse on the sofa and feel sorry for myself.

Colonscopy prep supplies laxatives and clear liquids

And then I pencil in a reminder to make another appointment next year. I do this every year. Not every ten years, or every five. Every. Fucking. Year.

On the other hand:

I get to not have cancer.

For me, colon cancer is not a matter of If. It’s a matter of When. I have Lynch Syndrome, which means I have about a fifty percent chance of getting colon cancer — and in my case, it’s closer to a hundred percent. Every time I’ve had a colonoscopy, I’ve had pre-cancerous doodads identified and scooped out. For me, colonoscopies are not preventive medicine — they’re treatment.

Colonoscopy day is a major annoyance, physically grueling and gross. Colonoscopy day is a reminder of mortality and fragility. Colonoscopy day is an annual reminder of my mother, who died of colon cancer at age forty-five. Colonoscopy day is also why I’m alive. I had my first pre-cancerous doodads scooped out several years ago; if I hadn’t, the chances are excellent that I would now have colon cancer. Colonoscopy day is why I’m alive, and why I stand a reasonably good chance of living for several more decades.

Joy. Seriously.

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Colonoscopy Day
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7 thoughts on “Colonoscopy Day

  1. 1

    I agree that the colonoscopy itself is not the worst part. For my last three I requested no sedatives or anesthesia and I found the recovery to be much quicker and the discomfort not that bad — like a case of intestional cramps. Plus I like watching the video and listening to the conversation. YMMV, of course. Hope it goes well.

  2. 2

    I had to have a colonoscopy several months ago and was pleasantly surprised to find out that I only had to drink two servings of the SUPREP laxative (one 24 hours before the procedure and one 12 hours before), which was not actually as horrible-tasting as I was warned it would be, rather than a dozen or more hourly servings of that hideous disgusting GoLightly polyethylene glycol mix that I had to chug the last time I had a colonoscopy ten years ago. Hooray for medical progress!

  3. Ken
    6

    I lost my sister at 35 to the colon cancer, and have been regularly screened since. I am now on a three year plan. Wishing you the best

  4. 7

    I literally laughed out loud when you said the procedure itself isn’t the worst part! I’ve echoed that same sentiment.

    I’m due for one too. Partly because I need to start earlier than most people because of family history, and partly because you can almost crap your pants only so many times before you realize you might have some issues.

    I’ll probably need to rent a hotel room so I don’t disturb the other roommates. 😠 Blah!

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