Everyone Suffers

It’s easy when my health isn’t running as planned or as optimally as intended, to get into the myopic vision of my own health concerns, worries, etc.

To an extent, the narrowing of vision is necessary in order to make sure the doctors are giving me proper attention and care. To get things done and make sure I don’t fall through the cracks.

On the other hand, despite the narrowing of vision, the process also expands the mind and heart, enabling me to relate to people who are in far bigger and deeper struggles. People struggling to find spouses, make babies, people who have serious, real and immediate medical issues; people who have faced or are facing terminal illness.

It’s one thing to relate mentally; quite another to relate with one’s spirit and energy.

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The Morning I Thought I had 6 Months to Live

I went to visit my GP soon after the colonoscopy, and his sense was that my polyp required immediate attention. He wasn’t willing to offer a diagnosis, but my sense from his body language and voice was that this was serious.

First order of business was to get a requisition for an ultrasound to make sure if things were serious, nothing had spread to my abdomen, in particular, the liver.

So I raced my requisition over to a private ultrasound clinic. It was a sobering requisition for sure. The technicians at these places basically take a vow of silence and refuse to give updates as they are doing the scan.

I told the technician, “let me know if you are taking measurements over 1 mm or 2mm. You don’t have to tell me anything other than that”. She nodded.

Shortly thereafter she started taking measurements. Something to do with my liver. Or my kidney? Whatever, some internal organ. I asked if she was taking measurements, and she nodded. To me this meant: she found something.

For the next 3 hours, I basically assumed the worst.

Then I got a message from my GP that everything was normal on the ultrasound.

My imagination had gotten the best of me.

Then a couple of days after that the CEA blood work came back all normal. CEA is a new test used to see if there has been a spread of anything pernicious. It’s not a definite test but it helps.

So onwards we go – to the surgery. Scheduled for June 24th, 7:45 a.m. I’m the first order of the day.

First Order of Business: Gratitude

When I left the colonoscopy clinic, despite receiving the scary uncertain news about the presence of a large polyp whose “management” was as yet unspecified, my heart  was brimming with gratitude.

Grateful for the “Voice” in my head that had been nagging me to get a colonoscopy.

Grateful for discovering this thing now, when it’s manageable, as opposed to in 5 years, when it could have been terminal.

Grateful for the excellent care and the technology that allows people to extend their lives through scoping.

Grateful for everything.

Grateful not to be in the “Why Me” mindset; grateful that 25 years of self-help books actually proved to be a good investment.

Brief history of my ascension to the Throne of the Colon Kingdom

On May 16, 2016 I went for a colonoscopy – on my own initiative – to satisfy a Voice in my head that said it was time to get one, even though I’m only 39, asymptomatic, and in excellent health.  Never any trouble on the Throne.

The endoscopist immediately found a large polyp upon entry (I asked for no sedation so got live updates).  Other than that all systems clear.

I knew polyps were common, but the one the endoscopist found was large – 3 cm x 4 cm.   The colonoscopy report called it an “Intermediate Serrated Polyp” – suggesting some type of intermediate potency, not something of immediate concern, but definitely something to take care of without needless delay.

Upon speaking to a few people – okay, maybe a lot of people – it became clear to me that colon health awareness is lacking.

Colon hubris was also prevalent – i.e. “I’m feeling okay so everything must be okay”.

Of course, things most likely are okay and my blessings that they should be okay until you reach the ripe old age of 120.

Proper health maintenance means being loyal to the colonoscopy schedule.

So in starting this blog, I’m hoping not just to keep my family and friends in the loop about my health, but also to raise awareness about colon health and making sure people stay on top of their colonoscopies.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show.