Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Colonoscopy

Me in my super cool hospital gown at Huntsville Hospital.
You know, I could I have sworn I was having a good hair day.
 Nothing like a camera to ruin that happy fantasy.

"What's a collenosckapy?" asked 10-year-old Sam.
"It's where they put a camera up your bum to see if your intestines are healthy," I said.
His eyes got as big as a fish-eye lens on a Nikon.
But not as big as my eyes got when that camera went in.
So what did you do this weekend? Go without food for almost two days? Drink disgusting retch-inducing purgamatic laxatives to clean out everything you've eaten since the first grade? Get a stomach ache and a headache and, omigawd, you can imagine the ring of fire down below after squirting out every burrito, bagel and blintz ever dropped down the hatch.

All excited waiting for my turn with the bum camera!
It's like everyone says, the worst thing about a colonoscopy is the prep.
See, you can't cheat when you're on a prep diet. Anything you swallow will show up as a chunk of poo in your intestine and if you have a chunk, the procedure gets cancelled because, as fancy as my doctor's bum camera is, it's not capable of seeing around poo. 
So you starve yourself. I didn't eat a blessed thing from midnight Saturday to 4:30 p.m. today.
Do you realize how many food commercials are on TV when you're fasting? Every other one, I swear on all that's holy. And when you're starving to death, even ads for white bread and yogurt bacteria culture look like haute cuisine.

My lovely internist, Dr. Brian Murat, working the butt camera.
That is me, stoned out of my ever-loving trees.
OK, I know, I'm not making a colonoscopy look pretty. It's not. It'a a big pain in the ass, no matter how you look at it, but it can save your life. If you develop colon cancer, it will take 10 years to kill you. If you get regular colonoscopies, the doctor has a chance to nip off the small lesions before they take over. Colon cancer is one of the easiest cancers to cure if it's caught early. If not, it's a deadly killer.
I get colonoscopies fairly frequently because I have Crohn's Disease and checking for cancer isn't the main reason I get them, but it's always nice for the doc to come over to your bedside and announce, "No cancer." 
Yup, that's my colon – on TV! Has your colon ever been on TV? No?
My colon has been on TV so many times it feels like Paris Hilton
and wants its own BFF and little purse dog.
I have more photos of my colon but I'm afraid they'll make you barf so I left
them off. If you really want to see them, e-mail me and I'll send them.
(Yah right, I'll be like, what kind of freak wants to see my colon????)
Or, like the guy next to me in the hospital today, "We got a few little polyps but you're going to be fine. Come back for another procedure in three years."
And, like I said, the prep work is the nastiest part of a colonoscopy. Once you get to the hospital you are treated like royalty by the wonderful nurses and the doctor gives you a nice fat syringe full of really good drugs – I think they're leftover drugs from Woodstock or that time I toured with Keith Richard and Stevie Tyler.
Once those drugs start working you don't care what's going on with your butt.
When it's done you get to EAT and, sweet mother of God, everything that crosses your lips tastes like nectar of the gods.
One caveat: don't stop for dinner when you're half an hour from home. The leftover laxatives in your system immediately start working on the chicken parm and the garlic bread and, if you underestimate the fart brewing, you could have an uncomfortable ride home.
*Note to self: bring extra underwear next time.


  1. Thanks for getting the word out - did you get your results yet? Hoping for or celebrating the best.

  2. Thanks for making it so... real ;^)

    Actually, demystifying this procedure (which really is painless) will help get folks into treating their colon well. CC is one of the most treatable cancers -- if it's caught early. Peace...

  3. Heehee. Reminds me of when The Boy was born (by c-section). They were putting her back together, and I was walking out, when the doctor said, "Hey… have you ever seen a uterus?"

  4. Well good for you for having the colonoscopy. The worst part I think is the stuff you have to take ahead of time.

  5. Kel - yup. I'm good to go! (And go, and go, and go - WHEN is this laxative going to wear off?????)
    Linda - you are SO right... hey wanna compare colons sometime?
    Farfetched - Oooooh, a uterus... I bet that was something that's been burned onto your mind for the rest of your days...
    Karen - YES! Why can't they invent a camera that sees through poo? We'd be rich! Or a laxative that doesn't make you nauseous? Or invisible food that doesn't show up in tests?

  6. Thanks for sharing. Don't want to make light of it, but I really laughed my ass off at your tale (I said 'tale', not 'tail'). My dad's had a couple of those. He described it as a pain in the ass, too, but with a Scottish accent. Hope it all went well!

  7. Truly one of life's lesser pleasures....good for you making it more, ah, socially acceptable to talk

  8. OK, I admit, I laughed too. I think this was an excellent post. You've just got to have a sense of humor about these things, right?

    I'm going into my lab to invent invisible food. Hey, what was the name of that stuff the Fraggles ate? That was see through...

  9. I know after my #fridayflash I shouldn't have been hesitant about diving into this. Lets just say C is for Cringeworthy! But as usual your humorous take on even this uncomfortable topic is nothing short of Grinworthy!

  10. This was an informative, well-written post, done in a very tasteful way considering the subject. Even the pictures were tasteful. My hat is off to you. I'm impressed.

  11. Alan - Everything sounds better with a Scottish accent! Even, "Laddie, fetch me the Imodium," sounds better.
    Kathy - it's like cod liver oil. Tastes terrible but is very good for you. I guess. Sigh...
    Laurita - Fraggles had invisible food? *off to Google*
    Harry - Ah c'mon, you love a good poo story...
    Angela - why thank you!

  12. good for you! i put off my colonoscopy for a very long time. When i finally had the procedure, they found that i did, indeed, have cancer. Luckily for me, it was stage 2, my surgeon got it all, with no treatments. I will not be putting them off any longer. as you say, the prep is the worst...but not when you consider it could save your life! Good luck to you.

  13. Sheryl - you are SO RIGHT and a perfect example of why a colonoscopy is the very best thing you can do. If there is any history of cancer in your family, or you have problems with diarrhea, constipation or bleeding, please get one done early in your life. If you're 40 and you've never had one, get one. Your doctor may say you don't need one until you're 50, but you should insist... tell him/her that you're concerned about your bowel health and would like a referral to a specialist. Your family doctor can not turn you down without risking a complaint or a lawsuit.
    I'm glad the surgeon got it all and I hope you're feeling well!
    That is fabulous news!

  14. Always good to get a clean bill of health for your bum.

  15. Yeah, John, but it hurts when they staple it on.

  16. hahahaha It's the first time I laugh at a colonoscopy. Your post is hilarious! The advice is good :-)


  17. Wow what a brave lady you are!!!!! You Rock Girl, I've yet to have one and know my time is getting near...especialy at my age!!!! Thanks for such a fun read and such important info on this very important procedure!!!!!

  18. Glad everything was ok! I've had an endoscopy but nothing at the rear end yet! Can't say I fancy the idea either :-)


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