Sunday, February 27, 2011

colonscopy results (m)

My letter came yesterday.  "Dear M," it begins.   It goes on to say that, as we discussed, right after the procedure, the exam showed two polyps which were removed and sent for further analysis.

I had this happen five years ago.  That time, it was one polyp and the results showed it had no potential to be malignant.  I was expecting the same thing this time.

Not quite.

These polyps were adenomas which, while benign today, could become malignant in a 7-10 year span.  I am officially on a "watch" list which means I have to have colonscopies every 3 years assuming no other symptoms (abdominal pain, bleeding, etc).  At the end of the letter, it said to advise my direct line relatives (parents, siblings, children) so they may talk to their primary care providers and determine if they need to be tested.

I have two siblings.  One has had similar results.  The other refuses to have a colonscopy because it is "undignified."  I called a cousin and asked if she's  ever had a colonscopy.  "No way," she said.  "I think you are better off not knowing some things."  When I told her my results and that, left untreated, the polyps could become cancerous in 7-10 years, she laughed and said, "I'll be dead  then anyway."

My illiterate grandmother used to say the most profound things.  One of her oft-repeated lines was "When you have your health, you have everything you need."

I just wish some of the educated people around me would see the wisdom in Nonnie's words.

How do you get someone you love to get a colonscopy if they refuse?

Meanwhile, the letter ends with some advice: eat more fruits and vegetables and less red meat.  Exercise more.

Another benefit to being on Weight Watchers.  It helps prolong one's life.


  1. Anonymous6:40 PM EST

    Nonnie was right. PLEASE be persistent in convincing your siblings to have a colonscopy. Make sure when your sons have them when they're older as well. I have a very close friend who had colon cancer in her mid thirties with no previous symptoms. She had surgery, chemo and radiation and thankfully is now cancer free. It was determined that her father was the genetic link. Although he never had colon cancer, he did have pre-cancerous polyps when he was younger and never notified is relatives. DON'T WAIT!

  2. I also remember when I had my first colonoscopy. My doctor said."A decision to have one should be easy. You have one, you have polyps, we take them out. All is fine. You don't have one. You have polyps. You can die." Should be a no-brainer.