Have you ever experienced the feeling when you are anxious and someone tries to make you laugh? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I walked up to the doors of the Endocrinology department and saw the sign that said, “Get Your Butt Over Here”! The day of my colonoscopy had finally arrived. I’ve been dreading the day ever since I turned 50, which is the age doctors encourage regular testing as an early detection procedure for colon cancer. The fact that my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer one year ago made it all the more important.
People kept telling me the preparation for the procedure is worse than the actual examination. And it was awful! It didn’t help that I had a touch of the flu the day before I had to fast so, in fact, I ended up cleaning out my system two days in a row. The goal wasn’t to lose weight but I’m sure I lost 5 lbs in the process.
One of the hardest parts of fasting was meal times. I’m used to eating 3 regular meals a day so it was agonizing to smell the delicious odors coming up from the kitchen when my family was preparing breakfast. Even the dogs’ breakfast was starting to look appetizing! It was a blessing when my husband took my son out for dinner so I didn’t have to watch them eat.
Fast forward to the morning at the hospital. I was waiting to be wheeled in when I overhead the nurses turning away one of the other patients. They were unable to go ahead with his procedure because of complications due to his heart medication. Poor fellow had endured all the prep for nothing. The nurses tried to make him feel better by reminding him it was a great weight loss program. I would have been really upset!
Needless to say, I survived the ordeal and I’ve been given a clean bill of health! I’m one of the lucky ones because the incidence of colon cancer is on the rise. Here are the facts:
In 2010, an estimated 22,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 9,100 will die of it. Overall, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in men and women combined.
- An estimated 10,100 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 4,100 will die of it.
- An estimated 12,400 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 5,000 will die of it.
- On average, 430 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer every week.
- On average, 175 Canadians will die of colorectal cancer every week.
Source: Canadian Cancer Society
In other words, colon cancer is a serious disease and the best thing you can do is to get your butt over to your doctor when you hit 50 … and sooner if you have a family history of the disease!