top of page

I had my first colonoscopy done last month. If I look a little young for a colonoscopy, I am.


Back in February I decided to call my doctor after experiencing never ending constipation. Seriously, I am always constipated. The issue has been ongoing for a couple of years. I didn't pay much attention to it until it became painful. It started out as minor aches similar to period cramps and grew into strong spasms like labor contractions. Mind you, I had already complained about this cramping the year before but my PCP (primary care physician) decided to do a well women's check-up. It had been 2 years since my last pap smear and although I wasn't due for one for another year, I agreed to an early pap smear.

A week later the doctor's office called to schedule a follow up. It seemed off. The tone of voice used and the need for a follow up after a pap didn't sit well with me. It turned out to be an abnormal pap smear.


I was referred to an OBGYN for a second check-up and reassured that it happens all the time. The gynecologist's office staff was equally reassuring and I felt good about a second pap. No big deal.


There was no second pap smear. The OBGYN performed an visual inspection for polyps and cysts followed by an iodine test. Why? Because my abnormal pap was due to suspected cancer cells. The VILI (iodine test) was the easiest way to determine if in fact cancerous cells were present. The doctor explained that the iodine solution would turn purple on any tissue with abnormalities.


It turned purple and it turned purple fast. This so called simple iodine test turned into a biopsy and the biopsy turned into my worst fear. Cancer.


They were testing me for ovarian and cervical cancer.


The biopsy was positive for precancerous cells. What does that even mean? Just what you think it means. Pre-cancer cells. The cells are abnormal in shape and size and can eventually convert into cancer cells.


I cried.


The doctor encouraged me to have a hysterectomy and rid myself of future scares. I didn't believe in losing my reproductive organs at 33. Hysterectomies come with additional concerns that I wasn't ready to commit to. I opted for a procedure to remove the abnormal tissue.


It was an outpatient surgery performed at the hospital under general anesthesia with post birth type recovery instructions. The precancerous tissue was removed and I experienced minor bloating for a few days. Overall, the procedure was a success. Although the cells are gone, this ordeal is something I will have to monitor for the rest of my life.


So how the hell does this correlate with constipation and a colonoscopy?


It doesn't. The pain led me down a broken road that needed my attention but the issue wasn't resolved. I went back to the doctor within months.


I have suffered from hemorrhoids since the birth of my first baby. No one explains when or how these clear up. After 4 babies, I figured they were permanent. They didn't hurt or bother me enough to complain about it. Throughout the years I'd find blood in the toilet and occasionally felt a burning sensation. Again, I figured it was just hemorrhoids and normal. It wasn't until unbearable cramps had me in full blown tears that I sought help. I went to the emergency room and a CT scan revealed that I was full of shit. Literally.


I was constipated. How embarrassing. I felt like an idiot for not knowing that I was severely constipated. They said drink water. Eat healthy foods. Take fiber. Have some Miralax. Try an enema. None of that worked. Magnesium citrate was the only thing that helped me and I had to go to the ER a second time to be told about it.


Finally, I went back to the doctor. I explained the situation and they sent me home with a stool test. It's pretty gross but I did it. Three smears on 3 strips, 1 per day for 3 days. The samples tested positive for blood. I was referred to a GI specialist to check for...Cancer.


I cried.


So what happens after a positive stool test? You get a colonoscopy. Unfortunately by this time we were knee deep in this Covid pandemic. My colonoscopy was rescheduled 4 times! I wasn't able to go in until Las Vgeas began phase 2 reopening plans and I provided a negative Covid test. The GI office scheduled the Covid test for me. A nurse drove to my house and performed the test at my door. 48 hours later, it was negative. I began colonoscopy prep the following week. Preparation consists of diet modifications such as eliminating fiber, meats and certain fruits & veggies. A clear liquid diet and magnesium citrate come in at about 24-36 hour before the colonoscopy to clean you out. I never felt so light in my life!


I was given propofol for the procedure. I don't like being put under so this was the scariest part for me. Especially since my husband was not allowed in the building with me. Covid restrictions. The procedure lasted 2 hours. That includes sedation and post op monitoring. I didn't have to wait for results as the doctor was able to provide me with a clean bill of health. There were no polyps or signs of cancer. Hemorrhoids had taken over my anus and the endless constipation was making them grow creating blockage. I'm also sensitive to gluten and dairy. I feel my best and experience regularity when I stay away from processed carbs, gluten, milk and cheese.


Sigh.


I'm not a doctor person. We grew up fearing doctors because "they only give you bad news". True story. Had I never complained about the initial cramps and pain I was experiencing, I'd never know about the precancerous cells. Can you imagine if I had waited an additional year or two for a pap smear as recommended? What if I decided to live with constipation and blood in my stool for another 16 years? What kind of shitshow would that be?


No one knows your body more than you do. You know when something is off. Trust your intuition. Don't let fear or shame keep you away from calling a doctor. If you're not satisfied with the outcome, seek a second opinion. You're in your right to do so. Encourage others to do the same. Cancer is real and it's scary but it can also be prevented with check-ups and routine procedures. Please, please get your check-ups! Health is priceless.


Take care & Be safe,


Xx Dee


 








Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page