Monday, October 10, 2011

The Big Test

When a guy reaches "a certain age," that is, age 50, you begin hearing from the medical community about having a colorectal screening, including a prostate exam. I also should acknowledge a nudge to get this test from a cop whose blog I follow. He wore a kilt in his off-time during the whole month of September on a self-proclaimed, "Kilted to Kick Cancer" campaign.

I tell 'ya, I am a real wuss when it comes to medical procedures. Like most guys, I avoid doctors unless I'm really sick or do something stupid like trip, fall, and break my leg.

Well, anyway, I finally "sucked it up" and made an appointment for a colorectal screening, which included the doctor having to stick a tube up my rectum and look around for signs of cancer and polyps in the rectum and lower part of my colon. Since I have a diagnosed chronic illness of the colon, which I have been enduring for many years, I wasn't surprised when the doctor remarked that my colon looked different from most -- his words, "like a truck has driven up and down your colon."

He knows that I am gay, so he felt that he had to ask a follow-up question, which for purposes of this blog remaining "G-rated," let me say that my answer was "no, my partner doesn't do *that* and I never have had *that* happen." (Sorry, fellas, but if you can't figure out what *that* is, don't worry about it.)

I have to admit, I requested and was provided a sedative before the exam. There is absolutely no way that I can take anything up my ass. Nope, can't do it. I was also afraid, mostly because most doctors I have had treat me in the past have made me uncomfortable or caused pain and laughed, "it doesn't hurt (much)". Yeah, doc, it doesn't hurt you, but you're not the one getting something shoved up your ass.

Well, they've learned how to make these tests less painful and uncomfortable than in years past. I can honestly say that during the actual test, I didn't feel much of anything, other than a mental aversion to knowing that someone was poking something up somewhere that I didn't want to have anything poked.

After the exam, which only took a few minutes, and leaving some "samples" of urine and feces for lab testing, I was on my way. Fortunately, my partner took me so I didn't have to drive. Remember -- I'm a wuss. I was afraid that perhaps I couldn't drive after the procedure. I really didn't know what to expect, so I prepared for the worst.

I also have to admit that the worst part about it was that it was hard to walk normally for a couple days. I kinda swaggered like I had been riding a horse. Yeah, I was uncomfortable afterwards. It wasn't painful, but it was hard to sit down and there was no way that I could ride my Harley and sit on the saddle of my bike. But that discomfort resolved in two days.

Good news is that the doctor found nothing (other than signs of my ongoing chronic illness, which is always under observation). The return of my "samples" indicated nothing bad, either. I'm okay.

I now have convinced my partner and three male friends "of a certain age" to get the screening, too. Heck, if I -- a big wuss -- can do it, anyone can. If you are a male, age 50 or older, go get a colorectal screening. It's important.

Life is short: do what you need to do, even if you don't want to do it.


Anonymous said...

I had the "big test" at the beginning of this year and found that the preparation was the worst part. In fact, thanks to the sedative I was administered, I remembered very little of the procedure. Thank you for bringing this very important topic to your blog. Cancer caught in the early stages offers a far greater survival rate than that caught later. Delaying important testing like this can make a huge difference.

You also bring something to light. Finding a trusted physician with whom you're comfortable sharing all aspects of your life as they relate to your health is crucial. If you have a physician you're not comfortable with, for whatever reason, look for another and do so for as long as it takes to find one you are comfortable with. As gay men, we need to love ourselves enough to make our health a top priority. To do so, working in partnership with your physician is an absolute must!


Booted Harleydude said...

Kevin, I wish it were as easy as you say -- finding a trusted physician with whom I can share all aspects of my life. ... not with my health insurance plan. I haven't seen the same physician in over seven years. Each time I go, I see a new one. I manage my own health care by informing the new-doc-of-the-day about my previous conditions and treatments because I write it all down. None of this information transfers from one to another. Our health care system in the U.S. is awful, and in my opinion, will not get any better, especially if the Republicans have their way.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear that, BHD. So many of us take it for granted that we have unlimited choices when it comes to things like this.