Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Going to the Movies

Time to shift gears again. I remember going to the scary movies when I was a kid. When the big moment arrived, I always hid or looked away. I couldn't look at the monster. I went to another monster movie last month. It was called, "John's Colonoscopy". As I lay on the exam table with a doctor and a couple of nurses guiding a camera up my exhaust pipe, I watched the monitor. I saw the monster. It was as ugly as any alien, Frankenstein or boogeyman that I've ever seen at the movies. Unlike the, aforementioned, creatures, this monster is alive and all too real. There was no biopsy required. The doctor said, as I lay there, "You have colon cancer". I was floored. They rolled me out to a recovery area where I had to tell my beautiful wife what I had seen. We went home with no real answers. Just a few papers and a picture of the monster. I told her to put it away. I didn't want to see it again. I cannot look at the monster.
I was scheduled for a CT scan. I went in and had the procedure and was sent home again. A doctor needed to look at the scan and determine what it revealed. I waited. Finally, I couldn't take it any longer. We drove to the hospital this past Friday, August 7th. My intent was to pound on some one's counter or desk until I had some answers. I went to the GI unit and simply told the lady at the window that I was here to find out if I'm going to live or die, because I need to prepare for either scenario. She said, "come back Monday morning and you can talk to the doctor". Yesterday arrived. I brought my wife and my posse with me. My pastor and his wife and two other good friends from our church. We sat in the waiting room for about an hour, waiting. I became very anxious and afraid. I started to shake, uncontrollably. Finally it was my turn to face my mortality. The doctor was a cute girl, seemed about 12 years old to my aging eyes. She told us that the CT scan showed no evidence of any spread, that it is a localized lesion. I will still need major abdominal surgery in a month or so. They will do a bowel resection. I asked if a colostomy might be done and she said it is always a possibility , but it didn't seem likely from what she had seen. I can live with one but, like everyone else, would prefer not too. I have too many cool T shirts. I still have more ahead of me, but I can do that standing on my head. I've been trying to loose some weight (down 12 pounds so far) so this upcoming procedure, while a bit extreme, should allow me to reach my goal of 200 lbs. or less.
To all who have gotten this far, consider this next statement carefully.
If you are 50 or over, get a colonoscopy. Get a prostate exam. Get a mammogram. Get a Pap smear. Be pro-active about your health care. Don't wait until you're bleeding out of an orifice or a lump gets bigger or it takes 10 minutes to take a leak. You do not want to hear the words that I heard. You do not want to plan your own funeral in your mind. It looks as though I got lucky and dodged the bullet. The monster is no quitter, however. I will continue to keep a close eye out for him from this point on. Do the same for yourselves and the ones that you love. The monster has no pity and no conscience.

1 comment:

Tad said...

I'm glad to hear the positive part of the news!

Good advice, too, at any age.