Ode to a Colonoscopy…

Now that I have your attention…

I graduated from the University of Maryland School of Nursing this past December and feel honored to have been asked to continue writing my blog for this semester. Since then, I have gone on a vacation, baked a lot and have been studying diligently for NCLEX, the exam nursing graduates must pass to become registered. I also have scheduled many doctors appointments to make sure I am all up to date before I start my nursing job in late February. Obviously, the one I (and most everyone else I know) dread is the colonoscopy. The American Cancer Society’s 2018 revised recommendations state that people at average risk of colorectal cancer (most of us) start regular screening at age 45 (previously 50), then every 10 years through age 75. (Click here to review all the guidelines from ACS.)

unnamedSo anyway, back to me…I actually had my colonoscopy last week and it was a painless procedure. Probably the worst part is the preparation I did the day before—only clear liquids all day and then begin a regimen of “colon-cleansing” pills. In other words, you must be all “cleaned out” before the procedure. You have most likely heard of the liquid most doctors prescribe…disgusting. My doctor prescribed pills (32 of them!!!) to take since I have no symptoms of anything going on “down there”. Much easier than the liquid, I imagine.

Before the procedure, the anesthesiologist reviewed my health info and the nurse monitored my heart rate and blood pressure and then inserted an IV for hydration and for the yummy sedation. I fell asleep to the sounds of Pete Townsend and Supertramp (I know, random…) and woke up 30 minutes later with a recovery nurse by my side. Another 30 minutes later and my husband was driving me home.

Fast forward to the results. The doctor removed two polyps and will send them for biopsy but they are tiny and most likely not cancerous. Even if they were, the treatment at this stage of the game is very successful.

In closing, if you are in your 20s and 30s, just file this under “Adulting Stuff I Gotta Do Later”. But since USG is the home of all ages of students, faculty and staff, I thought this would be a good reminder to include this procedure in your self care. Many insurance companies will fully cover it since it comes under the term “Preventive”. I have had a few friends whose lives were most likely saved because of results found during a routine colonoscopy. So if you are 45+ or know someone who should be screened, file this under “Just Do It”.

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