A man went in for a colonoscopy. The gastroenterologist examined him, and then turned him on his side to begin the procedure. The doc immediately noticed a large piece of lettuce protruding from the gentleman's posterior. "Sir", she said, "did you know that you have lettuce hanging out of your bottom?"
"Yes," replied the man, "but that's just the tip of the iceberg."
Jill Triathlete, a prominent local real estate attorney, was at her Primary Care Physicians office recently for a cold which just refused to go away. Jill thought she might have pneumonia from that Saturday long run in the cold and rain. Fortunately, after the evaluation, it was a relief to find out she didn’t. The doctor was idly thumbing through her chart and when she settled on the Health Maintenance page she noted, “Jill Triathlete, you’re 50 and you haven’t had your screening colonoscopy.” Jill’s mind went ablaze with thoughts. “Colonoscopy? Put something where the sun don’t shine? Take a ride on the black stallion? The snake? OMG…if I can just get to the Delorean quickly enough to activate the flux capacitor…..” yet she replies a cool, “Oh, really?”
The American Cancer Society and the American College of Gastroenterologists "recommend routine testing for people age 50 and older who have a normal risk for colorectal cancer."
Your doctor may recommend earlier testing if you are at a higher risk for cancer. This could include blood in your stool or rectal bleeding, dark or black stool, chronic diarrhea, iron deficiency anemia, unexplained weight loss, etc.
Colonoscopy really isn’t such a big deal these days. Most are done under sedation although there are those who, potentially not so wisely, think, “If I can finish an Ironman without sedation, I can sure as heck fire do one these little tests without it. “ But they’re not always correct….as they find out in short order.
It’s the prep that gets folks. And it’s not that it hurts or anything, it’s just inconvenient and their body does things that under ordinary circumstances would be considered very abnormal. The day before the procedure goes something like this:
Hearty Breakfast – 2 cups of tea, no milk or cream,
Lumberjack’s lunch – as much beef bouillon as you wish
PM Snack – either tea or bouillon, take your choice
Supper – Dulcolax pills and this delightful beverage called Miralax, as in laxative. It’s the same plastic jug that you buy a gallon of milk in, but looks, and tastes, like Secretariat’s urine. Only worse. The good news is that there’s a whole lot it.
Now is the time one learns the definition of explosive diarrhea. Leaving the house is not an option. Leaving the sight of the commode may not be an option either. Think garden hose velocity liquid coming out of you. But (butt) think of it this way, you’re getting your innards spic and span so that if there’s anything of interest, your gastroenterologist can see it quickly.
The Colon Cancer Foundation describes the procedure as follows:
Colonoscopy (koh-luh-NAH-skuh-pee) lets the physician look inside your entire large intestine, from the lowest part, the rectum, all the way up through the colon to the lower end of the small intestine. The procedure is used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. It is also used to diagnose the causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits. Colonoscopy enables the physician to see inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, ulcers, and bleeding.
After your IV's been started and sedation given, the doctor will ask you to lay on your left side and he/she will insert the scope, a flexible tube with a light at then end and video capabilities projecting the image on a screen that you and the doctor can watch simultaneously. As the scope gets further into the colon, air can be passed through it to inflate the colon making both vision and scope passage easier. The whole procedure lasts about half an hour, sometimes a little longer when something out of the ordinary is discovered by the examiner.
You will recover there and in an hour or two, and when most of sedation has worn off you can leave. Most do not find it an unpleasant experience and occasionally they give you the photos from "down inside." I wouldn't suggest putting them in your Christmas cards, however.
In short, a great deal of information can be obtained in a short period of . Processes, once considered fatal, can be located and treated early, often without surgery. Make sure you say thanks to the doc. With a little luck, you won't have to do this again for 10 years.
Workout of the Week
One day this week in the pool try this for a main set. After your usual warm up, pick an interval, say :45sec/50 yards and do the following.
Swim 100y on 1:30, 50y on :50 then 50y on 1:30 (to catch your breath), repeat 3 times - total 800y. We did this one on Friday and it's a good push.
The gent next to me in lane 5 swam 100 yds, jumped out of the pool and did 10 push ups, then hopped back in the water, all under 2:00 min. Repeat 10 times. Total work out time 20:00.
Credits for the above; Patricia Raymond, MD
Colon Cancer Foundation