A Peek Inside

So the time has come for another colonosocopy.  A real look inside my insides if you like.  It’s one of those tests that I think most people dread.  For the most part you wouldn’t need to do it until you hit 50 years old, but in my case I will probably have one yearly for a while.

It is actually a little easier for me because I have the ostomy so access is easier and there is less colon to check out.  File that under ‘silver lining’ of ostomy surgery.

Kidding aside, the colonoscopy is a great tool to help prevent colon cancer.  The thing is during a colonscopy they are looking for polyps in the colon.  It usually takes a polyp 10 to 15 years to become cancerous.  By screening they can be found before they turn into cancer and be removed.

Removing a polyp is done during the colonoscopy so you only have the one procedure.  A new test has been created called the virtual colonoscopy or CT colonography.  It might be a good option for those people a bit squeamish about, you know, having a camera inserted into their colon.  No sedative is needed because everything is done externally.  The disadvantage is that if a polyp is found, another procedure will have to be done to remove it.  The majority of colonoscopies are clear so the odds are in your favor.  The risk of complications from a traditional colonoscopy are eliminated.  You will still need to have air injected into the colon to get a clear image of the insides.

In either case you need to prep for the test which means you need to take some heavy duty laxative the day before to flush out your system.  It is probably the most unpleasant part of the who procedure.  Billy Connolly had something to say about it.

Regardless, you should not fear the colonoscopy.  In the end it could protect you from having to deal with cancer and I can tell you it would be so worth it!


Taking a Walk

Danielle and I took a walk around the block today.  The weather had finally taken a break and we could go outside without melting into the sidewalk.  We had just eaten a fairly big meal and we both needed to get moving to help digest.

As we were walking I remembered back to after my surgery when I would go out and walk because it was prescribed by my surgeon to walk six times a day.  I had started the regimen in the hospital and I tried to keep it up once I got home.  I usually paced back and forth in the house from the back door to the front door.  I started counting laps as a measure of my progress.

Once I was feeling up to it I went outside and started up the road.  It took me days to make it to the end of the street which isn’t that far.  That was over a year ago.

Between the walk, the tests last week and my visit to the oncologist on Tuesday I was looking back at my progress.  Things have certainly turned around for me in the last year.  With this last doctor visit I have been cancer free for nine months.  October will be a big anniversary for me as it will be be one year.

I don’t think about having had cancer too much these days.  This last checkup didn’t freak me out very much.  I was still anxious, but not terribly so.  It could be that I didn’t have a PET or CT scan this time around.  Just a bone scan.  My bones are very healthy I’ve been told.  We’ll see at one year.

I’m trying to keep the lessons of having cancer close.  Trying to remember what’s important and what is not so important.  I think I’m doing okay there.  It’s hard to look back and admit that in the grand scheme of things cancer produced some positive results in my life.  Don’t get me wrong.  It sucks ass and wish for the day it can be just something we read about in history books but it does make a person look at his life and take stock.  I’ve tried to make changes and stick to them.  The doctor visits are a good reminder.  Since I’ll be seeing him for five years so hopefully the visits will keep me in check.

The walk was nice.  Danielle and I chatted, looked at houses in the neighborhood noting which houses needed paint, which landscape we liked.  Cancer was not in the discussion, it is something that we are putting behind us.  It is something that no longer pervades every second of our life as it did for two years.

I’ll never be that person I was before.  Cancer took care of that.  I’m okay with that because in the end I’m trying to be a better person than I ever was before.