Poop and My New Reality
I don’t know why, but I never have any problem talking about poop. It drives my husband crazy when I try to talk about it, which always makes me want to talk about it more. Poop poop poop!!
For most of my entire life, I have been healthy. I rarely ever got sick. This changed about three and a half years ago when I started to have bad stomach issues. I stayed with a sore stomach for about a month. I went to my primary physician to try and figure out what was wrong with me. I ended up having blood in my stool (poop) so she ended up referring me to a gasterologist.
The gastrologist immediately said I had to have a colposcopy because of the blood. I was devastated. I rember crying and crying and thinking that I must have something really wrong with me. I also ended up having an endoscopy (they put a tube down your throat to look at your stomach). The doctor said I had gastritis which is an inflammation in the lining of the stomach. Foods with lots of acid irritate it so i have to take acid reducing medicine. He thought that the acid inflation caused the blood in my stool. He was concerned, though, with the two polyps on my colon that he removed. They came back non cancerous but I was now put on the every three to five year colonoscopy plan. Most people are recommended to get one when they are 50. I was only 33!
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. My stomach acid problems were back and giving me lots of discomfort. I went to a new gastrologist near my new house. He said that he would do another endoscopy on me to figure out what was going on. I asked him if I should get a colonoscopy too since I would already be under and it is in the three to five year window. He said he thought we still had more time since the last two polyps were benign. I then mentioned that my family had a history of colon cancer (my mom’s uncle and grandfather.. and my dad has a history of lots of polyps).
That statement was a game changer.
Yes, we definitely needed to do the colonoscopy too.
If you talk to anyone, the worst part of a colonscopy is the prep. The day before, I was on a clear liquid diet. I only ate broth and jello. You can’t have any red,blue, or green dye so i had yellow jello. At 5 pm, I started the prep. You drink a disgusting drink and it causes you to go to the bathroom and get cleaned out. You have to basically stay on the toilet for about an hour. My kids were mortified when I told them what was going to happen. I kept joking about the doctor going in at both ends the next day. Paige said “MOM!!!!! Please stop!!!!!” At midnight, I repeated the process again. The key to this process is to be completely cleaned out so the doctor can see everything.
The next morning, Brad drove me to the hospital. They have this special pillow they use during the procedure. It looked like a colon. I said “Is this a joke.” The nurses laughed because I guess they never looked at the pillow that way but now that I pointed it out…..They knocked me out while they did the procedure. I remember waking up in the recovery room. I was still groggy but I do remember telling the nurse (Isn’t my husband so cute?) He was dressed in his work clothes and I always think he looks super handsome when he goes to work. She laughed and said “yes he is.”
The doctor came in and told us that my stomach looked fine and that I still have gastritis. My colon, however, was a different story. He found five new polyps and three of them were huge and flat (the bad kind).
The polyps came back non cancerous but my doctor is still very concerned because of their size. He also said that thyroid and colon cancers have been linked so I have a higher chance of getting colon cancer because of my thyroid cancer. I go back in six months for another colposcopy. If it doesn’t look good we will have to come up with a plan. If it looks good, i will do another colonoscopy in a year. He basically said I may be on the super duper watching plan in order for me not to get colon cancer.
Meanwhile, there are things I can do that can reduce polyp growth. I need to take a baby’s aspirin once a day. I need a high fiber diet with lots of calcium. I need to limit red meat to twice a week. I need to lose weight (am on that with our fitness challenge!)
He strongly recommended my sisters immediately get a colonoscopy Corrin is getting one this week.
The purpose of this blog is twofold.
1) You must stay on top of your health. You can’t be lazy about it. My friend asked me the other day if it was a pain to deal with these different doctor appointments. I said yes but the alternative is way worse. Do I want to have two colonoscopys in a year and more in the future? No, but I am thankful I get to have them. I cannot imagine the people who do not have access to this.
2) You must be proactive. Do you have family history of something? If you do, find out if you need to have a screening. I’m very lucky because had I not had the acid problem, I would have never known about my polyp production. Colon cancer is treatable if caught early. It may be preventable if you stay on top of your polyp producing issues.
My question for you is this: Who is ready to get a colonoscopy?!!!!
Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the US. The American Cancer Society estimates 136,830 people will be diagnosed in 2014 and 50,310 will die from colon cancer in the United States.
On average, the lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about one in 20 (5%), however, this varies widely according to individual risk factors.
About 72% of cases arise in the colon and about 28% in the rectum.
From the mayoclinic.org
Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers.
Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by identifying polyps before they become colon cancer.
Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms appear, they’ll likely vary, depending on the cancer’s size and location in your large intestine.