During my salad years, there was never a thought that at any point in my life I would be expected to endure something this invasive. Yet, as soon as enough calendar pages fly away in the wind as they do in one of the oldest of transitional devices to indicate the passage of cinematic time, I get the letter from the good folks at the Gastro-Intestinal Associates telling me it’s time again for a colonoscopy.
Every time the letter comes that Dr. Howard Solomon would like another look-see, I think of young people. As was the case for me once upon a time, they surely couldn’t imagine a time in their lives when someone would ask them to make an appointment for that!
Sure, I figured as I aged, my foot speed would go as well as my ability to sit Indian-style on the floor and fold my arms across my chest and rise to a standing position without touching the floor with my hands but never could I have envisioned the need for what we old types often call the Big C.
Just a few weeks ago, I hit the pause button in my life for my fourth Big C, and I will tell you the preparation never gets any easier. Now, on a limited basis, getting ready actually starts a week before the procedure with the cessation of all popcorn eating. Now, for me, that’s not all that big of a deal since I was told long ago by doctor-types that such a snack item isn’t, for me, a real good idea.
It’s not really hard for me to avoid eating popcorn as long as I’m not exposed to the smell of it freshly popped. For me, there are certain aromas that will crumble the strongest willpower. That means, for this guy, the smell of freshly popped corn, bacon frying in a skillet, chocolate chip cookies baking and just about any type of animal flesh lying across grill slats over Kingsford embers.
Now, the day before the procedure is when the real fun begins. There’s that no-eating thing and that whole nasty business with the Senokot tablets and all that drinking of the Miralax-laced concoction, eight ounces at a time, in half hour intervals.
On the day of the procedure, of course, there’s more drinking of the Miralax beverage eight hours before show time. Now, for me, since my assigned time was 10 in the morning, you do the math as far as when I could even get to bed when you have that half hour gap between four more rounds of the mixture designed to, well, you know!
When your time finally arrives, the procedure itself is a breeze. Thanks to the sedative and the skill of folks like Dr. Solomon, it’s completely pain-free and over before you know it.
Unfortunately for me, I’m a polyp guy and actually am quite jealous of all you out there whose colons are clean as the proverbial whistle. Little could I have ever envisioned as a young pup being jealous of someone else’s colon!
For the clean-as-a-whistle types, they are given there widest window, 10 years, before another Big C is advised. For me, the window has over time been reduced to three years.
While waiting the several days for the lab results as to the nature of those scary-sounding polyps, as I always do, I kept my fingers crossed. When I got the results, I rejoiced yet again when the box was checked “benign.”
And, as I said a prayer of thanks, as has been my custom, I said another, for those out there who haven’t been as fortunate as I have been. Additionally, in the recommended follow-up portion of the paper, I saw the prettiest number “5” beside the word “years,” instead of the “3” that I was expecting, which is about as significant a victory as this old guy can have.
So, if you’re facing your first Big C in the near future, I’ll sum things up in a column I never thought I’d ever write and borrow from one of the most successful advertising campaigns of recent times, from MasterCard, an ad franchise that lasted nine years and featured 160 different scenarios in the commercials.
• The preparation for the procedure? Distasteful.
• The procedure itself? A breeze.
• Given the importance of early cancer detection? Absolutely vital.
• And, the feeling when you see the word “benign” and a “5” instead of a “3”? Priceless!