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DARLA47's Photo DARLA47 Posts: 7,848
8/7/11 5:18 P

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Yes, from 2006 to 2009 I had a colonoscopy. Because my last screen was clear, I will have my next one I 2012 , which I will schedule soon. Also, I see my oncologist every 6 months. And, I encourage my family to get screened as well.

Life is too short, it is time I start living a little.

TRICIAN13 Posts: 361
8/7/11 3:39 P

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Have you continued with the colon cancer screening since your surgery? I hope so.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes their way.

There are two rescues from the miseries of life--Music and Cats.
--Albert Schweitzer

There is one good thing about egomaniacs: They never talk about anyone else!
--Will Rogers

DARLA47's Photo DARLA47 Posts: 7,848
7/21/11 10:47 A

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I am a four-year, stage III, colon cancer survivor. I was diagnosed at the age of 46. I would like to get involved in helping others to get screened and to let them know it is not as bad as you think.

In 2005 I decided to have weight loss surgery. I signed up with the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Wellness Program, picked my surgeon, and started going to pre-op classes where you learn what to expect before and after the surgery and what to eat. I saw my surgeon in December 2005 and he sent all my information to my insurance company for approval which I received in January/February 2006. I had a surgery date for May 2, 2006. I completed all the additional pre-op tests by the last two weeks in April. I was told by my doctor that I was severely anemic and she wanted me to come back for another test. This blood test showed that my hemoglobin was at a 9 (normal level is 11.7-13.8 gm/dl), so I was scheduled for a colonoscopy right away.

Now, as far as the prep goes, I had no idea what to expect. All I was told after talking with the doctor that I had to get this prescription filled and follow the directions. He did say that it was something I had to drink the day before the test so that my colon would be cleaned out. But I certainly did not think that it would be 4 liters. At the pharmacy my instructions were to only use one flavor packet (I was given 5). At home the day before the test, I was told by my doctor to only do clear liquids (i.e. Jell-O & popsicles--no red Jello-O or popsicles, broth, tea, & juice and of course water). I was to start drinking at 4:00 pm and continue to drink 8oz every 15 minutes until complete. If I felt nausea, I was to wait 30 minutes and then continue drinking. Well, I did finish the drink, but I must say it tasted horrible, and half way through drinking, I got extremely cold. I had to put on a sweater.

The next day at the hospital as the nurse was putting my IV in she said that, as far as the test goes, the prep is the worst and I totally agreed. During the screening I was not asleep, just a little drowsy, and I was told later that not everyone goes to sleep. I was actually talking with the doctor and nurse during the whole time, I was watching the monitor as well, and I saw what looked like a big cauliflower full of blood. I asked the doctor what it was and he told me that it was a polyp and he believed it was cancerous, but he would have a piece of it tested to be sure. In the meantime he wanted me to have a CT scan of my abdomen right away. A pretty scary moment for me.

I did not have any problems in the recovery room, I was just a little nervous about the polyp and the fact that the doctor thought it might be cancer. Two days later I got the call from the doctor and it was indeed cancer. I was told to make an appointment with my surgeon (the one who was going to do my gastric bypass surgery) right away which I did, and I was able to see him immediately. The surgeon explained that the bypass surgery was on hold due to the colon cancer. He explained that he would remove the whole right side of my colon along with my appendix. If the gallbladder was okay, he would not remove it. He would also check the liver as well.

I did not know anyone who had colon cancer or who had a colonoscopy. However, I knew about the importance of both when I turned 50, and I knew that I would have to have the screening done. But in 2006, I was 46 so this was actually the last thing on my mind. It was not my idea to have the colonoscopy.

I did have conversations with my sister and two brothers at the time about getting screened after I found out about my cancer. My sister was 54 years old she had the test done right away, and she was fine. My brother (50 years old at the time) had his done a few years later and five small polyps were found, but they were removed during the colonoscopy and were not cancerous. Now I just have to get my younger brother to do his. He is 41.

Life is too short, it is time I start living a little.

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