No ifs, ands or butts.
I know how I spelled it. It was intentional.
Now, if you are sensitive about TMI, this might not be the blog post for you. I’m warning you now, look away! Click on one of the links to the right! Head to Facebook and add flair! NOW!
Still with me? Very well.
Imagine you are a 25-year-old female. You’re single and you live in the sweetest, tiniest apartment. You have your own new car. Okay, it’s a Hyundai, but it’s all yours. You have a great group of friends to spend time with. Life is pretty good.
Then you go to the bathroom and something isn’t right. It’s not “that time of the month” and you see blood.
Okay, it could be a one-time thing, right? Except that it keeps happening. You ask your mom about it, and your Granny since she’s always inquiring about your BMs. (Those are serious business to seniors.) They both tell you to go to the doctor. Well, duh.
However, it isn’t that easy. After all, you’re a 25-year-old female and the last thing you want is to go to your general physician and endure the indignities that accompany this type of ailment, and then relive those same indignities at a specialist’s office.
Alas, go you must. Because there should never be blood when you aren’t expecting it.
So you go to your general physician and explain the situation to the nurse and then to him. You know what’s going to happen next, but you’ve chosen not to think about it. The nurse comes back in the room, the gloves go on, and you are facedown on the sheet of paper protecting you from the germs left on the table by the last poor sap in the room. The exam is over. There is no explanation. Of course, because he’s a general physician he has to send you to a specialist, so you go, you wait 45 minutes, and you repeat the process.
Then you hear a word that you didn’t expect to hear for another 25 years. COLONOSCOPY.
It can’t be all that bad. Katie Couric went on national TV and had one done, right?
You schedule the procedure. Unfortunately, you’re 25 and it’s January 2002 so you’re fasting for 48 hours prior and the prep is still the nastiest conconction ever, plus a couple of enemas for good measure. You are driven to the surgery center, put in one of those fabulous backless gowns (which, for this, is actually quite necessary), and hooked up to an IV. Then they wheel you into the room and the doctor says, “So you’re here for the lobotomy?” You choose to not to reply, “Only if my head is up my…” He explains that you’ll have a metallic taste in your mouth from the anesthesia and asks you to start counting backwards from 100. “100… 99…” Zzzzzzz…
You wake up groggy and giggly. You are told a polyp was removed, and there’s something about follow-up with the general physician.
You’re 25, though, and thought that since the polyp was removed, so was any problem. Out of sight, out of mind. (Although it never really was in sight in the first place, was it?)
Fast forward 6 years. You’re 31-years-old and you’ve had 2 children. There’s a commercial about getting colonoscopies. You remember that the doctor suggested you get one every 5 years. Eek. It’s about that time. You find the doctor’s name and make an appointment.
When you arrive at the office, the nurse informs you that they’ve been trying to contact you for 2 years. Why? Because they thought it best that you get another colonoscopy in 3 years rather than 5. Why? Because that polyp was actually a tubulovillous adenoma. Precancerous. You blink a few times while absorbing that information (and realizing that the general physician never contacted you himself), and go through the exam (without the embarrassing part because you aren’t currently seeing blood where there shouldn’t be), and schedule your next fun-filled colonoscopy.
This time the prep is easier (pills!), the anesthesia has you up 15 minutes after the procedure ended, and you are told that nothing was found. You are free to wait another 5 years for your next colonoscopy, and then 10 years if that one is clean.
Aren’t you glad, though, that you went ahead and endured the indignities? Imagine the alternative.
Keep that thought in mind whenever something just isn’t right and you think you’re too busy to have it checked out. If you’re young and can’t imagine something being seriously wrong. If you’re a mom and you spend more time on everyone else’s health before your own. Blood in the toilet? Go to the doctor. Lump in your breast? Go to the doctor. Anything unusual that you aren’t sure of? GO TO THE FREAKIN’ DOCTOR.