Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Colonoscopy

Two months ago at my annual physical my doctor asked again if I remembered my last colonoscopy. I’ve been stalling her for years but this time she didn’t play. “Since we’re not sure”, she said, “we’ll get you in for a screening colonoscopy now and go from there.” I left her office with the referral, and that afternoon the gastroenterology practice called to schedule the visit.

I called them back twice in January and also in February to change the date. On the last call the receptionist said, “This is for a work related problem?” And I knew that people probably change this appointment all the time and I wasn’t going to get to change it again. So I made the date.

The appointment after all wasn’t for the colonoscopy but just for the visit where they do a pretend physical (all your clothes are on) and sign you up for the big day.

I went last week and the PA who saw me was very nice. I explained that I had been to their office before—This was the scene of the crime in our love and cancer life—the very same office where I accompanied John a year ago for his routine colonoscopy which became: surgeon, CAT scan, cancer, surgery, hospital, ambulating, pain, gas, agony, chemo, hair loss, blood tests, neuropathy, scars, fatigue, fear, 5-FU, home infusion, visiting nurses, crazy schedules, waiting rooms, tears, casseroles, vitamins, walking, Babar on the couch wearing a chemo pump to match John’s, and more love and sex than either of us would have ever predicted. I swear that last part is what got him through this year and I know that is what helped me survive as well.

So when the Gastro-PA asked me if I had a doctor that I preferred I said, “Doctor Samuels”, the man who did John’s colonoscopy. I decided to not be superstitious, and I am comforted in a small way when I recall how he managed his facial expressions as he met us in the curtained room and began with a small smile and the words, “”Well, we have a problem.”

So my colonoscopy is scheduled for May. I was able to buy them off that much time. But it is time. If my routine visit becomes something resembling John’s I don’t know what I’ll do. Having seen colon cancer and its treatment up close I can’t say I’d go through it. Save the lectures and the platitudes. Let’s just hope I don’t have to argue with you in May.

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