Friday, May 14, 2010

colonoscopy

It’s not the most pleasant thing I have to do, but do it I must. I am in that group of people who may have a genetic predisposition to colon cancer, so in a couple days from now I will undergo another colonoscopy.

I had my first colonoscopy 8 years ago and according to current medical advise, I am due for another. Actually overdue. I am 62 years old and the current protocol calls for anyone with a family history of colon cancer to undergo the procedure every 5 years.

My mother died from colon cancer 22 years ago and her sister, my aunt, died a year later, almost to the day, of the same dreaded disease. So I am considered at risk. I like to think that my mother and her sister were more the victims of lifestyle and diet than any genetic factor, which diminishes any predisposition I might have since my diet and lifestyle are considerable healthier than theirs was. Still, it seems unhealthy to forego a colonoscopy and the peace of mind it can provide when it shows no trace of cancer.

I don’t have any particular fear of doing this. It’s really painless and quick. The anesthesia makes it all go by effortlessly. There are no aftereffects to speak of. So it really is a walk in the park. Except for the preparation you have to go through beforehand.

The colon cleansing process that you have to undergo the day before is the most unpleasant aspect of the whole deal. Drinking the NuLYTELY mixture of Sodium Chloride, Sodium Bicarbonate, and Potassium Chloride, a whole gallon of the distasteful stuff, is the major drawback to this. I wish there was an easier way, but the doctor claims this is the best and most effective way to clear all the nastiness out of your colon to make the procedure most effective. So I will suck it up and drink it all. Yuck.

The only other concern I have is the effect the preparation and colonoscopy itself will have on my Parkinson Disease symptoms. I have to take my meds throughout the prep and don’t know how effective they will be during the cleansing process. I also don’t do too well if I don’t eat regularly and eating is forbidden the whole day before except for clear liquids. I am afraid I will be barely functional during and after that prep time. I also anticipate a bit longer recovery time after it’s all over. I may be worrying needlessly, but I can’t help it. The doctor assures me that I shouldn’t have a problem, but I got the feeling he was guessing. We’ll see.

So Monday is the day. I can do this. I have no choice.

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