I’m staying close to the bathroom today. It’s prep day for a colonoscopy tomorrow. It’s the third one I’ve had in little over a year, and I’m going to tell you why.
A couple of years ago I received a letter from the New Brunswick Colon Cancer Screening Program. It was a questionnaire to fill out and send back in a self-addressed, stamped envelope. I read through it, put it aside, eventually filled it out, and then threw it away.
A few months later, another letter arrived. This time I completed the questionnaire and sent it back. A while later I received the at home testing kit. It was a little unpleasant, but easy enough to do, and then sent off.
Later still I received notice that something had shown up in the test and I was scheduled for a colonoscopy. There was a list of products and instructions to prepare for the big day.
Then the drugs kicked in and I don’t remember much after that.
Getting the news
A few weeks later my family doctor gave me the news that three polyps were removed from my colon. Two were clear, but one had precancerous changes, and I was scheduled for a follow-up colonoscopy in 3-6 months time.
I went into that one with more apprehension, but the results showed no polyps at all. If this one is clear, then I will wait 2 years before having another, then 5.
So that brings me to today and why I am sharing this with you all. I had the initial colonoscopy because it was identified through a test I did at home. I did that test because of the NB Colon Cancer Screening Program.
Before this all started, I had no family history of colon cancer. I had no indications that anything was going on inside my body that would be dangerous to me. When I met with Dr. Alkarain earlier this year, he explained more fully that the polyp was between precancer and cancer on the scale. So closer to cancer than not.
I have been getting mammograms since I was in my 40’s because of my mom’s history. I never thought about colon cancer, I had no need to. Having this knowledge doesn’t fill me with fear. It fills me with gratitude that we have a medical system that while not perfect, supports proactive testing to promote good health.
You will receive a letter if you fall within the age group for the screening guidelines. I encourage you to fill it out and complete the test. It can make a huge difference in your life.