Did you know March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month? Did you also know that today, March 2,2012, is National Dress in Blue Day, a day to raise awareness about colon cancer, celebrate survivors, and help patients in need?
In honor of this important day and month, I though I’d tell you about my appointment with the gastroenterologist yesterday. The first thing the doctor said when he walked in the examination room (after I waited an hour and a half for him to grace me with his presence) was, “I remember you.”
I hadn’t seen him since my colonoscopy in August 2010, so I thought, How nice that he remembers me! I must have made quite an impression. Then he said, “I remember your polyp. I couldn’t believe I found a polyp that big in such a young girl!” Just so you know, this is a lesson in what not to say to a Mama who fears cancer or deep vein thrombosis every time she has a headache or unexplained bruise.
Here’s how we settled on an August 2012 – yes, 2012 – colonoscopy:
Doc: Why are you here?
Me: My hematologist thinks five years is too long to wait for my next colonoscopy. Both of my grandmothers had colon cancer, both of my parents have had polyps, and I had one – a big one – at 34. As you know, I’m a little (a lot!) worried about cancer.
Doc: Okay, let’s do a colonoscopy next August?
Me: That’s three years. Do you think three years is too long to wait? Should I do one this year?
Doc: Okay, let’s do one this August.
Me: Do you want to do the colonoscopy this year because you think I should have one or because you think I think I should have one? (Yes, I really did say this.)
Doc (realizing my Crazy had emerged): I want to do it this August so you can be reassured.
Me (realizing my Crazy had emerged): Okay.
I’m probably the only person on the planet paranoid enough to convince her doctor to do a colonoscopy a year sooner than he suggests. In all seriousness, I have no doubt that my first colonoscopy saved my life. If I had waited for my doctor to send me for a routine colonoscopy in my early forties, that big, memorable polyp hanging out in my colon at 34 would most likely have become cancer.
I’m wearing blue today (denim counts, right?), and I’m feeling a little blue that 2012 is not only the Year of the Dragon but also the Year of my 2nd Colonoscopy, but I’d be feeling a lot bluer if it were on the calendar for next week. At least I have a few months to stretch out my anxiety.
If you think your colon should get checked, get off your butt (pun intended) and take care of yourself. Happy Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month!