No Ifs, Ands or Butts (the Camera Experience)

Let me preface this article with this: I have been a very fortunate individual that has been blessed with good health for my lifetime. Rarely ill and never took a sick day in my life.

As part of having insurance coverage, I had to pick a Primary Care Physician. This was a new adventure for me as my previous family Doctor (my great-uncle) passed away when I was probably 10 years old. Never felt a need for a replacement.

I subjected myself to the normal tests, probes (yes, guys that dreaded prostrate exam) and procedures and the lectures of smoking. (10 days so far Yay!). And then the icing on the cake……”I’ve scheduled you for a Colonoscopy”. I know, I know. I should have had one of those by now, but the idea of a go-pro type device invading my space and inner being was not on my bucket list. In a fleeting moment of adulthood and responsibility – I relented. How bad can it be? It’s expected of everyone, right? ( I applaud the women who subject themselves to yearly mammograms and Pap smears)

In hindsight (no pun) the test itself is no big deal and painless. Now the prep involved prior to the test is a whole different ballgame! This is the point where you schedule a quiet day at home the day prior to the exam and enjoy the benefits of laxatives, Gatorade and the camaraderie of the commode! There are no shortcuts, no “I am invincible” … will submit. You and the cold porcelain will become good friends.

The test itself is simple, takes a few hours, they supply adequate drugs to knock you out and no after effects. Thinking to myself, “No big deal”.

Unless you are like me….the invincible. After a follow-up  discussion with the surgeon it’s decided “Maybe we need to take another look”. Oh God how much Gatorade can a guy drink??? Flashbacks of my newfound friendship with Kohler and Cottonelle. A week later we are doing a rerun (no pun).

Results confirmed what I and the surgeon had feared there was a mass (actually two) and it needs to come out……now. We had the discussions regarding possible outcomes, everyone carefully treading over the “C” word and the decision was made to get it done. Anytime wasted would only be detrimental causing worry and stress resulting in me being a two pack a day smoker instead of one. The idea of spending a week in the hospital was not on my social calendar especially over the Christmas holiday but the decision to postpone Christmas was in our best interest. Surgery scheduled.

Luckily I am one of the few that actually lost weight over the holiday as no food or drink was on the menu for 7 days, except those delicious ice-chips for Christmas dinner! Believe me after losing a few parts of intestine, an appendix and getting a new 8 inch scar with shiny staples, a Christmas feast was not on my Santa list.

The great news came on Christmas Eve that all went well and all tests showed no sign of that “C” word. I let go a sigh of relief (although hesitantly as any sigh only hurts my incision site). Thank You God, and my wife Karen who is the best at 24 hr nursing.

So why do I share all this??????

The New Year is here……and to all you guys that are invincible……make the decision now to finally submit to the GO-PRO experience! In most cases it’s an in-and-out (no pun) procedure that can head off more serious complications. Minor growths, which are normal, are removed at the time and no further consequences involved. Remember, I never felt ill, bad or otherwise prior to my testing and put it off for many more years than I should have. What could have been minimized in the past came back to haunt me. For your sake, for your family, don’t procrastinate.

You can save your life with a one day love affair with porcelain.

Mark Bartlett is a contributor to The Sarasota Post.

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