I’ve been thinking a lot about my colonoscopy, mostly about how relieved I am that it’s over. Even the nasty memory of the prep solution stings less now. I don’t like to be overly dramatic (when my husband reads this he’ll laugh because he thinks I’m always overly dramatic), but I feel like I saved my life by having the colonoscopy. Colon cancer runs in my family (grandmothers on both sides had it), but it’s uncommon for a person my age to have a polyp. It’s also uncommon to have colon cancer at my age, but I know two people in their 30s who have been diagnosed with it.
If I hadn’t trusted my gut that something was wrong (digestive issues, if you forgot), I never would have went to the gastroenterologist, and I never would have ended up having the colonoscopy last week. My doctor would’ve sent me for my first one when I reached my 40s, because that’s when preventative testing usually begins for people with a family history, and by then it might have been too late. The polyp they found on Friday might have turned malignant by then.
I’m trying not to make a big deal out of this. They found a polyp and they removed it. End of story. But, truthfully, it scared me, and I’m grateful I was worried enough about my health to go to the doctor in the first place.
Here’s what I’m getting at. If you have a family history of colon cancer, don’t wait for your doctor to tell you it’s time for a colonoscopy when you’re 45 (or worse, 50), and don’t put it off once he or she tells you to do it. I’d rather do almost anything then prep for another colonoscopy (and I have many of them ahead of me), but it’s worth it to know that I can avoid a very preventable and possibly deadly cancer. Bottom line: If you think you need a colonoscopy, get it.
I promise this won’t become a blog about colonoscopies, but I think Katie Couric would be proud of the space I’ve dedicated so far. (FYI: Her husband died of colon cancer in 1998 at the young age of 42.)