I Dodged A Bullet And Need To Get The Word Out...Please Let Me!

@Opal26 (17694)
United States
June 15, 2011 9:24pm CST
This is something that is really important, so to my friends and others who are middle aged, or have family members with or are at risk for Colon Cancer please keep reading. (I know I probably lost quite a few of you, but to those I reach I am thankful). My story is long and complicated so I will give you the short version-I have been having pains in my right side for over 2 months. My doc ordered a CT Scan of my stomach which came back negative for masses. I went to my new GYN for an exam for something completely unrelated but serious (another whole story). I had never seen her before, but was totally impressed by her unbelieveable thorough exam. (I had to have biopsies and she was very serious at first until I broke her down with my humor and wit!) She did the "usual tests" (sorry guys, not going there) and making story short found out I had blood in my colon (from one of the tests). She said I must have a Colonoscopy. I had one six years ago and my Gastroenterologist wasn't that concerned, but we did one yesterday. He found two tiny, less than a centimeter polyps. They were pre-cancerous. I found out today. If the GYN didn't find what she found I would have waited 2 more years and they could have turned into cancer by then-I dodged a bullet and thank her and "the powers that be" for the sequence of events that made me go for the test-Please go and take this miserable test! It isn't pleasant, but it can save your life! I am still freaked out because I now have to go back in 5 years, yeah right! I'll go back way before~
12 people like this
21 responses
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi Opal During the whole time I am sure you were so worried as test after test to finally find the polyps. I am glad you had a great doctor who took the time and patiently thoroughly examined and did all the right testing. I don't blame you for not wanting to wait the full five years as I think if it were me I would want to push for way sooner and continually pester to test more often. I do know that they don't but my mentality and obsession would want it. lol You are right with being proactive towards our health as you are proof that anything caught sooner then later has far more chances of being cured then not. I do hope you can now be a tiny bit of ease, at least now you know where the issue stemmed from and will not neglect any future testing. When it is time for me to go and be tested, though it sounds like it is not pleasant I will definitely keep in mind that it is my life I will be gambling with if I do not bare it and grin.
5 people like this
@GardenGerty (90157)
• Marion, Kansas
16 Jun 11
These days they say that the worst part is drinking the prep and waiting for it to work. Hubby's doctor uses a modified prep mixed in GatorAde. It is only half as much to drink and you can choose any flavor except red ones. Neither my husband nor my sister had any trouble with it.
2 people like this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi hwg! Thanks for reading and I hope when it it's time you will be ready to go. Most people should go by the ageo of 50. I went when I was 52 for my first when, which was normal. I wasn't due for another one for 2 more years. I don't have to go for 5 more years, but am so freaked out now knowing that the polyps were "pre-cancerous" that I know I will not want to wait more than 2 years whether my Gastro Doc thinks I need to or not! It's my damn Colon!
2 people like this
@Hatley (157587)
• Garden Grove, California
16 Jun 11
I know that being tested for colon cancer is most important. I had pains ion my right side too b ut what the coloscopy showed was diverticulitis which means I have small pouches in my colon but no cancer.also I am not to eat nuts, corn,seedy fruits specially black berries. I found that out the hard way. I woke up one morning and had bleeding diarrhea and when it did not stop on the weekend I got in to see my doctor actually one of his fellow doctors,. when he examined me he saw the liquid stool with bright red blood on my panties.I was put in a cab and sent to the ER at once. I after numerous tests all day was admitted that day to the hospital. I was there five days and four blood transfusions before the barium enema that flushed out the hard pack of blackberry seeds that had nicked an artery and almost killed me from loss of blood,. I have never ever ate another fresh blackberry since. after that seige in the hospital I was sent to have a colonoscopy to be sure I did not have any cancer or precancerous polyps and I was free of any problems.
5 people like this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi Hatley~ Unfortunately, I had been originally diagnosed with "Irritable Bowel Syndrome" so I thought that's what the right side pain was to begin with-hence the CT Scan. But, that showed nothing. It was just a bunch of other tests that meant nothing serious that led to the Colonoscopy that led to the "more scary diagnosis". And the Gastro Doc said "I think I got it all"?Crap! I sure hope so! We're taking Cancer here! Glad you too "dodged a bullet"!
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (90157)
• Marion, Kansas
16 Jun 11
This is an important test for people over 50 to get. Most insurances still do not pay for it, but Medicare will pay part or most of it, every five years. I have taken my sister and my husband for theirs this year. Both had some reasons for concern but it turns out both have a clean bill of health.
• United States
16 Jun 11
Oh my GG I was not aware that most medical insurance will not pay for the tests. Wow that is quite sad to hear. Imagine if someone in Opals situation had way far worse and could not pay for the test. I am shocked to hear this. Seems something that could potentially pre-catch would be covered.
4 people like this
@GardenGerty (90157)
• Marion, Kansas
16 Jun 11
The situation is improving, but this is what I am often told. My doctor starts requesting us to get this at 50, but hubby had to wait til Medicare and I am having to wait until I have a job. I do not believe Medicaid pays for it either, as my sister had to wait until she was 65 as well. She gets her diabetic care from a free clinic based on our tribal heritage. I need to access that system for a physical but it is an hour or more away. I just want my A1c tested as everyone in my family is going diabetic.
3 people like this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi GG~ I just got on Medicare through SSD (Disability), but I pay for that and Medicaid! For some screwed up reason since I had the nerve to workthe NYS Disability Laws have been making me pay $447 back to them for 2 years for "straight Medicaid" which no doctors in NYS accept. This meant that I had to pay and still couldn't see my regular doctors unless I paid them too and then deducted that amount from what they called my "Spenddown"! If I never had worked I would have gotten the same money and better and free healthcare! So after 2 years on SSD in NYS I get Medicare and age doesn't matter, but they take it directly out of my check and I still pay the "difference" to have Medicaid as the "backup insurance" for what Medicare doesn't pay. This still amounts to my paying $447 a month leaving me with $767 to pay rent, electric, etc! They don't care that I have no other income! So some months I would skip paying my insurance, skip my meds, pray I didn't get sick. Last month my cholesterol was off the charts high and my doc asked me if I was skipping me meds and I asked him "How did you know"?That's how high my numbers were! You can't skip meds! According to Medicare, (which I have had since May 1st, and have run up a bill which will freak them out I am allowed a Colonoscopy! I have called all the way up to the Governors Office! They agree the system is stupid..but....
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (28821)
• United States
16 Jun 11
I'm glad they were able to find it before it turned into cancer. I hope your other GYN issue turns out okay too!
3 people like this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi kats! Thank you! And, the GYN tests all came out good! I have a few more tests to go and then I'm going to go to Florida to see my Mom! I need to lie in the sun (not the smartest thing-skin cancer) and swim! I have had a hell of time with all these test the last two months!
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jun 11
Yes, you do deserve a break after all that! Have a great time in Florida!!
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Thanks! Will let everyone know when I decide to go. Have to get up the nerve for the "flying fear" again!
1 person likes this
@missybear (11396)
• United States
16 Jun 11
WOW Opal26...I'm sooo glad you're OK. I see people with colon cancer[ every day and it's not a pretty site, neither is any cancer. You think working in a Hospice with terminal ill cancer patients would make me go to the doctor more often NOT, I'm terrible when it comes to doctors, I never even had a mammogram. I made 2 appointments and canceled both of them. I will seriously think about going to get checked out soon. Stay well Missybear
3 people like this
@missybear (11396)
• United States
16 Jun 11
I will try to be better about going to the doctor but I can't guarantee anything. I'm glad he got the nasty buggers out
@p1kef1sh (45647)
16 Jun 11
I am so thankful that your GYN found those polyps. I have a very high regard for these young people. One found that the Boss had fibroidswhen nobody else could be bothered. Your message is well made and I hope that women (and men) here take heed.
3 people like this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi p1key! What she found was "blood in the stool" which made her force me to have the Colonoscopy. I had a CT Scan first because I was having pain in my right side. None of those symptoms showed the polyps. It was just lucky that she was a very thorough doctor. I went to her for something totally unrelated, which also required biopsies! I have had more pieces taken out of me in two weeks than I have in my whole life! And, yes this discussion is definitely for Men too!
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36491)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Good morning, Opal. I am so glad your tests turned out as they did. U are very blessed they did the colon test & were able to do what they did. I have never had it done but am sure i need to. U take care of yourself & stay well.
3 people like this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi AL! This was my second one. The first one was 6 years ago and I actually wasn't due for 2 more years according to my Gastro Doc. I thank my GYN for finding whatever to "force" the test to be taken now or those tiny polyps might have grown and been cancerous! Get yourself checked! It isn't pleasant, but it is necessary!
1 person likes this
@anniepa (26621)
• United States
19 Jun 11
Thank you for posting on this VERY important topic! I'm so glad you "dodged a bullet" and I have a feeling this discussion just might help at least a few others do the same. My husband also had a polyp a few years ago when he had his first colonoscopy. He didn't say so if the doctor told him the polyp was pre-cancerous but I know they can and do turn into cancer so I guess he dodged one too and the only reason he and I both went for the test, despite knowing it was time for us to start doing so, was that our daughter's doctor scolded us for not having done so. Kristie has Crohn's Disease and it was during one of her many hospitalizations we happened to be there when her doctor came in and we got to talking and the next day called his office to set up appointments. (Mine was fine except for I have a mild case of diverticulosis.) My poor daughter had had more of those awful tests while still in her thirties than most of us would in a dozen lifetimes but at least we know she doesn't have colon cancer! Annie
2 people like this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
19 Jun 11
Hi annie~ Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. I know how painful an illness that is. I have IBS and thought the pain on my right side was the bowel twisting so my regular doc had me do a Barium CT Scan which showed nothing irregular and no masses. If my GYN doc didn't find "blood in my colon" (from the finger test) I wasn't going to have the Colonoscopy because according to my Gastro Doc I wasn't "due" for 2 years! Thank God and my GYN for not having me wait because the polyps would have grown and possibly turned cancerous! My best friend won't go because she's scared and I can't convince her to go. I told her the truth, I had a bad experience this time, with the anesthesia and hearing about the polyps before I was totally awake and then waking up all freaked out. But, it needed to be done and as I wasn't expecting that outcome I just had to deal with it. I just hope that others will listen to my story and afraid or not just go and get checked!!!
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
17 Jun 11
Thank goodness for that doctor! So many doctors rush us in and out and don't find things like that. I know that a lot of people don't know it but a woman's yearly exam does not include a test for ovarian cancer. It has to be requested or suspected. That is one of the most dangerous cancers we can get. I am so glad that you had a good doctor that cared enough to go the extra mile.
2 people like this
@BarBaraPrz (17271)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
16 Jun 11
Three cheers for you. Colonoscopies aren't pleasant, for sure, but they are vital. I forced a friend to go for one a year or two ago, and they found polyps. She was so glad I made her go. She's still having problems and is scheduled for a CT next week. I hope they find out what's wrong with her. She's so bloated she looks about 12 months preggie. Again, I'm glad they found yours before they got worse.
2 people like this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi Barbara! Glad you made your friend go too. Am trying to get mine to go, but she's "scared".I told her that I wasn't thrilled either, but this was my 2nd time. I had a CT Scan first and it showed nothing! Thankfully my GYN found something accidently that had nothing to do with the polyps, but warranted the Colonoscopy! She's on vacation now, but when she comes back she will be getting a very big "Thank You" Card from me!
1 person likes this
@ramp123 (191)
• India
16 Jun 11
Opal, you are luckier than you know! My sister-in-law had chronic gastric trouble, and when she finally went to see a doctor, she had a large colon tumor. She was only 40 at the time. She had to undergo surgery, chemo, radiotherapy, have a medication dispensing pump implanted in her chest, another surgery to have a waste disposable bag installed. After a year, when the cancer turned up clean, she had to have more surgery to remove the implants. The big problem then was to teach herself toilet training all over again, with a large part of the colon missing, which is no joke at all! Two years of agony, and now a checkup every six months. A lot of people don't survive colon cancer, but even if you do, it can be hell! Wouldn't wish it on anyone. Please take Opal's advice and take the test!
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi ramp! Welcome to myLot! And thank you for the information which I hope everyone will read. I hope your sil is ok now. I know 2 people who had similar experiences. One is still alive, the other isn't. I am thankful that mine was caught, but worried that the doc didn't get "it all" I will not be waiting "5" years, as he said to be checked again! I will definitely insist on being checked much sooner!
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84126)
• Shingle Springs, California
23 Jun 11
So I guess they're going to have to do something to remove them? Or did they do that right away when they found them. Yep, thank goodness they found them now....
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
25 Jun 11
Hi dawny! The do said he "burned" them off and "hopefully" (?) got it all? Didn't know until I woke up and they told me and was upset, of course. The take them and biopsy them if they can during the procedure.
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
25 Jun 11
Obviously still shaken up since I meant "doc" and "they"~
1 person likes this
@bunnybon7 (32526)
• Holiday, Florida
16 Jun 11
oh i know about that. John, my late hubby just did not go often enough and he did have the colon cancer that got him. he also had pain in his side and many illnesses with his stomach. it still doesnt make me look forward to the test. i had it 5yrs ago myself. it was terrible. they did find the polopse and H-Pylori was still there. the problem mostly with me though is im so allergic to so many anti biotics, i hate going through the H-Pylori cure again. ive been through it twice and it just seems to come back. now im having more stomach problems from the Naproxen for my bursitis and not sure i can take anti biotics. so i called the doc today to see if i can take something easier on my stomach. like you im really sick of the stomach problems. so are you feeling better now?
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi bun! I am sorry about John. It started with pain in the right side for me so my doc did a CT Scan, which showed nothing and so I still after all these tests don't know why I have the pain? My Gastro Doc told me I have one of the longest, windiest, twisted colons he's ever seen. He told me that 6 years ago, but this time he was complaining that he had "trouble" with the exam! It's been 2 days and I'm still in pain and I wasn't the last time. Have to have a few more scary tests so wish me luck! Hope you feel better soon! Love & Hugs, Les
@bunnybon7 (32526)
• Holiday, Florida
17 Jun 11
well i will certainly be praying for you dear.
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
29 Jun 11
Opal I applaud you immensely for two reasons! One for going through the test yourself AND for not being quiet about it!! This is what the world needs!! A voice to say "Hey! I did it and this is what happened, you need to do it too!" The more the world hears it the more the people will come around and realize that it's just another part of our bodies and there's nothing to be ashamed of! Good for you!! I'm so proud to call you my friend!
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
30 Jun 11
Hi Cats! And thanks for the good thoughts and for being on my side about my reason for doing this discussion. I really didn't care about the "personal" aspect, only the fact that I wanted everyone to know that it is important to take this test, like it or not, scared (as we all are). but so necessary! My BFF still won't go, never went, is 58 and has "reasons/ symptoms") and doctor's orders to get checked and still won't go! Even after hearing about my "close call" that could have easily been missed even though I do follow through on all my serious tests, no matter how scared I am! As I said, if I reach one person (and it seems I have), I am so happy!
@bounce58 (17550)
• Canada
21 Jun 11
Here comes the late bro! Thank goodness for the thorough exam! And thank goodness for being led to this new GYN! Our lives are complicated enough that we don't need another drama for health reasons. I'm just glad that you found out soon enough. And that you really dodged a bullet. My age is getting up there, and I know I should go through tests too, but just haven't found the time yet. Maybe one of these days.
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
25 Jun 11
Hi bro! Do it when your ready, but do it! I did mine apparently when I was 52, 6 years ago. It was fine then, but not this time. So, you just never know. I had no symptoms or anyway to know that those two tiny, but deadly polyps were there and could have wrecked havoc if overlooked~
@leenie50 (3992)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hey Sweetie, I am so happy you found these problems in time. 3 years ago I had my first colonoscopy and the dr. found 1 polyp(non-cancerous). But I was told to have another in 3 yrs. So I did and I was clear. So I am supposr to have another in 5 yrs. I'm surprised that they told you 5 yrs. for the next test. You should make it 3 yrs. I'm planning to close my mylot account but I have your email and ereally want to keep in touch. Leenie
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi leenie! I am going to have it done in 2 years because I am worried. Why are you closing your account? We definitely need to talk-an email is on they way! Love, Les
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Glad you got a good doctor that took time to get everything taken care of....and thanks for the warning! It sometimes helps to get things done when you know that its someone you know!
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi jill! As I said, if this discussion makes anyone aware I have done the best that I could do to turn my "situation" into something positive. When I went 6 years ago the polyps weren't there and if I had waited the 2 more years that my Gastroenterolgist actually said I could wait I might have had Colon Cancer. The CT Scan didn't show any "masses", but they also didn't show the tiny polyps that turned out to be pre-cancerous. I am just glad that things turned out the way they did and they are gone (hopefully). Even though it is a scary test please get checked out. Most of the time it is nothing.
@bmorehouse1 (1029)
• United States
16 Jun 11
I have never wanted to have a colonoscopy. Recently I was at the doctor for a check-up and he mentioned having one. I was reluctant, but finally gave in since I had promised a friend (who had colon cancer) and also since my mother had a bout with her colon as well. The doctor prescribe the powdered stuff that you mix with GatorAde. At first it wasn't bad, the flavor was fine. It was just that you had to drink so much in such a short amount of time. I had a hard time getting it all down. Then after that I was just miserable. I felt HORRIBLE the whole evening! I swore I would never do it again! The next day when I had the colonoscopy it was a breeze compared to what you go through the prevous day. Everything was fine though. I came out with a clean bill of health, which I was thankful for. And yes, most likely I will do it again, but not for many years!! I'm glad that you dodged the bullet and that you found the polyps early. Someone up above was watching over you! Good luck in the future!
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi bmorehouse! I am glad you went too! I had to drink some really disgusting stuff that was in a bottle and clear and sort of tasted like lemon. It was a nightmare, in the bathroom all night and had to drink the 2nd bottle at 6:00AM! I didn't go under the anesthesia well or come out of it right this time either so the whole thing was horrible and then to find out about the polyps! But, I know that "someone" was watching out for me and I am thankful! I am sending my new GYN and thank you note because it it wasn't for her and the "sequence of events" who knows what would have happened!
@skysuccess (8882)
• Singapore
16 Jun 11
Opal26, I am glad for you and that you've managed to dodge the bullet here. A lot of times, people have taken the easy way out and/or deem that the mandatory body checkups to be unnecessary or a waste of money. I encourage you to share this with your friends and relatives for your decision to follow up had actually saved you from a world of problems. Hope all will be well with time. Take care and have a nice day.
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
16 Jun 11
Hi sky! Thanks for your input! I am lucky and have been trying to get through to my friends and wanted to make as many people aware here as well that as miserable it is sometimes to take these tests that they can save your life if you catch things before they go too far! I pray the doctor got "all" of the polyps and even though he said I can "wait" another 5 years-I don't think so!!!
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
20 Jun 11
Wow--you can thank your lucky stars with that GYN doc for suggesting you get a Colonoscopy, since the other docs didn't seem to be all that concerned or make any such suggestions to at least do a follow up one after that six years passed. I have a different story and related to my mother. She was an outpatient to the hospital near me and not only went to see docs, but a social worker and even psychiatrist...there was one large major problem, she never signed a proxy that would have allowed me any intervention in her "clinical care"--interpretation they could only rely on what she was telling them, and from what I gather, never much. Then around 2003 she started a "bulimic" thing...yeah, that's right, she would eat her meals and I'd watch her race to the kitchen, stick her finger down her throat to chuck up--I tried to contact her docs, her social worker, her psychiatrist but was totally ignored--they wouldn't even talk to me on the phone. I even wrote and sent a LONG letter to the Executive Director of the hospital explaining everything. All I got back was a letter from the Director of Patient Relations "Due to the Hipaa Privacy Laws, we may not discuss your mother's clinical care with you. Thank you for sharing your concerns with us." Gee thanks for nothing Anyway, my mother's bulimic behavior continued for two years--I still tried to contact everyone without success..then a "fluke" thing happened. Long story short, in June 2005 I had to call 911 for my mother (she had completely passed out) and we went zooming over to the ER...long story short again..it was the FIRST time I had any say in anything...I especially told all the docs about her bulimic behavior...while she was at the hospital for two weeks one test given to her was to have a camera go down her esophagus...guess what? She had tumors there..THAT'S WHY she became bulimic...NOT due to a psychological reason but a medical reason. Now if the jerks had listened to me for those two years, they could have discovered the tumors LONG time ago and no doubt pre-cancerous, but now the tumors were stage 4, and yes she passed on in Aug. 27, 2006. I guess I'm relating all this, since I think it's important other people intervene SOMEHOW in the care of someone else, something I wasn't able to do, due to my mother's stupid stubbornness in not signing a proxy. It was later I found out, when I contacted a mental health organization and I mentioned the problems I had had that a person wrote back saying, that while my mother's docs/social worker/psychiatrist couldn't discuss my mother's clinical care, they should have at least listened and investigate into the matter
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
25 Jun 11
Hi Pye~ Don't quite understand what the bulimia symptoms had to with the the tumor unless the bulimia might have caused it? Either way it still doesn't excuse the fact that the docs wouldn't listen to a "next of kin"! I want to have that test too, already had it once because I still don't feel right and all other tests have been "negative" which I am most greatful for! That would be one of the last tests, but my gastro doc doesn't think it's necessary, but I do. Will see how it goes. Am sorry that happened to you mom. I know you had "issues" but, she was still your mom~