Preventative Strikes are Best

by

What do you do on your birthday? I suppose the natural thing to do is to celebrate with lunch, dinner or a few drinks.

My birthday was last Monday and I did none of the above. Why do you ask? Well, I organised to get a health check that required me to starve myself and take a horrible concoction to clean my bowel out. Rather yucky to say the least.

I could have moved my appointment to a different day but then I would be waiting longer and worrying about getting it done. I just wanted it all done and over. To not think about it. To have an answer to my concerns.

So what test did I have done?  Well, it was a colonoscopy. This is when they put a scope up your bum to look at your bowel to ensure that you don’t have cancer.

When I went to book in at the hospital the lady suddenly went to the month of May. I instantly thought, of course, it has to be around my birthday. I foolishly got the paperwork earlier and was umming and erring if I should do it. Once I decided to get it done I couldn’t find the paperwork, so of course had to get it re-sent. This meant that it ended up being in May and coinciding with my birthday. Not good at all!


Why did I get this horrible thing done to me? Firstly two of my best friends died due to cancer and it started with bowel cancer. For the last three years and while pregnant I noticed some odd things, however, they couldn’t do some tests due to being pregnant.

For example, having 3 months of constant diarrhoea when pregnant was not good. After having my third child I’ve had some odd things occur, not going to the toilet easily, having issues going or still having diarrhoea. I went through a lot of things that it could possibly be.

Am I sick? Am I stressed? (possibly), Is it something I’m eating? Is it IBS? Or something else? Could it be a blockage? Would this be the beginning signs of cancer or something else? Is it polyps? I had no idea!  It was driving me crazy.

I did the blood tests, and the poo tests and all came back fine and not abnormal. However, I still had some odd symptoms that were worrying.

I’m a mum to three young children and if god forbid I did have something wrong I hope it was found early. Early detection means that you can get it zapped, cut out and you have the best chance of beating it.

So my birthday as I said was not fun it was rather horrible not eating. Then when the clock hit 5pm I had to take a disgusting and horrible solution called, Glycoprep. Just in case you have no idea what this tastes like, it is super salty and you have to drink 3 litres of this liquid! YEP 3 litres and it made me feel SICK!!!!!!

I was supposed to be finished this fluid by 7pm, but I ended up finishing up at 9.30pm, yep not great but I did drink the whole 3 litres.

If you ever have to drink this horrible salty solution you will find that it is so hard to drink it quickly. Well, it was for me. The more I drank the harder it got.

Fast forward 2-3 hours and I had to urgently go to the bathroom. The idea of the solution is to clean you out, and when I say to clean you out, everything is exiting your body extremely quickly!!!!  Not fun and pleasant at all.

Basically, I should have just taken up residence in the bathroom.

With the frequent visits to the bathroom (the bathroom is not heated), not eating, drinking all the fluid I still had to get through I was super cold. In fact, freezing! I ended up with a beanie, scarf, jumper and blanket over me when not in the bathroom.

I ended up finally going to bed around 11pm and had to put on about 100 blankets and the heater on to keep warm. It took me ages to get warm.

Finally, it was the next morning and I could only have water until 8am after 8 I was not allowed anything… yes nothing. I was so tired, hungry and over it all.

Waiting at the hospital

Waiting at the hospital

My appointment at the hospital was at 10am, this was not when I went in for the procedure.  I went in and got a checkup (blood pressure, questions and answered some questions. Finally got into a stylish gown and paper shoes.

I was then told to wait in a waiting room (there was no clock in this room but it felt like I was there for hours) with a warm blanket and a tv. I was then joined by 3 other ladies. I was the youngest person in the waiting room. One lady asked me why I was getting it done, I told her due to some strange symptoms and my closed mates dying, it was my preventive strike to ensure I was okay.

Maybe I didn’t need to do it. I know I didn’t get a test to say that it was needed but after other weird things that I experienced the doctor thought it might be a good idea too.

I also had no idea if my dear friends had any symptoms that they thought were odd.  If they did have something did they think it was due to something else? If they did have symptoms if they got them checked out, would they still be here?  This is a question I cannot answer or ever know the answer to. They are not here anymore.

I miss my wonderful friends so much. I wish they had done a preventive strike and found it before it was too late.

Finally, it was my turn to go and meet the doctor, all the nurses and of course the anaesthetist. I was worried and nervous. I did have to make sure they knew who I was due to the doctor thinking I was another patient. (Scary) Apparently, the surgery list was mixed up. So glad that I was vocal and told them who I was.

The cannula was super painful and has left a HUGE bruise, I was awake one minute and then waking up in recovery next. The doctor came to see me after I was given sandwiches and 2 cups of orange juice. You have no idea how good it was to eat and drink again.

My huge bruise on my hand from the cannula

My huge bruise on my hand from the cannula

The news from the doctor was that there are no signs of cancer and all looked good and normal. Great news. Maybe my issues could be IBS or that I need to have less milk or a food allergy?  I have no idea… I am just very happy to know that it is not cancer.

I’m writing this post to urge you to be aware of any changes in your body, any changes to your health. Get checked, stay on top of your yearly checkups, skin checks, blood tests and more.

I know my 46th birthday was not ideal, but I look at it this way. This test is helping me have more birthdays.

Due to the fact that I couldn’t eat or drink on my official birthday, we are having a do-over on the weekend. I’m really looking forward to going out with the family to celebrate. Plus eating some yummy food is a bonus after not eating on my special day.

Image from Bowel Cancer Australia

Image from Bowel Cancer Australia

“15,604 Australians are told they have bowel cancer each year, including 1,413 people under the age of 50.”

 

Get tested. Be proactive. Be Healthy for you and the family.

Image from Bowel Cancer Australia

Image from Bowel Cancer Australia

I hope sharing this experience helps you get tested and see that it is not something that just affects older people, many people that get diagnosed with bowel cancer are young.

Image from Bowel Cancer Australia

Image from Bowel Cancer Australia

 

You can find out more about tests on the Bowel Cancer Australia Website and you if you wish you can order a screening test online or by calling 1800 555 494.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

 

“A highlight of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is Red Apple Day (Wednesday, 19 June 2019), when Australians are encouraged to support the vital work of Bowel Cancer Australia through the purchase of a Bowel Cancer Awareness Ribbon and apple themed fundraising activities.” (Bowel Cancer Australia Website)

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