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Dale Gets A Colonoscopy

(Old Shoe Woman@Flickr)

Milestones in life are sometimes measured by age.  You turn 18, you can vote.  Turn 21 and you can drink.  Reach 40 and you’ll likely need reading glasses.  When you’re 50 your doctor will advise that you get a colonoscopy.  That’s what I was doing on Tuesday.

A colonoscopy (we’re gonna get graphic here) is a routine visual examination of the lining of the colon and rectum using a long, flexible fiber optic tool.  It’s the most effective way of diagnosing any problems that may not appear on x-rays or other tests.  If they’re found during the examination the doctor can also remove any polyps that could develop into cancer.  

Colorectal cancer is the third-most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world and if found early it’s often 100 percent curable.  What’s concerning is that 75 to 95 percent of colon cancer patients had no genetic risk.

I have to admit that both my wife and I being treated at the same hospital at the same time was a little strange, but with Shelley feeling better I was ok with going ahead with the procedure which had been scheduled back at the end of November.  The whole procedure from start to finish is about an hour and a half.  They sedate you to the point where you hear voices and you’re aware something is going on around your backside, but you don’t really care.  You’re kind of in la-la land.

The worst part of the whole thing is the prep – the cleansing of the bowels.  You get to drink a couple of “yummy” concoctions with quarts and quarts of Gatorade and water and get to sit of the toilet for long periods.  Make sure you have some interesting things to read to pass the time.

By the way the doctor said everything looked good – as good as a colon can look – and I don’t have to see him again for another five years and do it all over again.

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