Updated: Jun 1, 2021
A 'lil note...I wrote this 3 years ago, and always wanted it to be the first post on my first blog.
So here it is, and I hope you enjoy. By the way, I'm 42 now, as I publish this.
Today I had a colonoscopy.
Wait, let me back it up a bit.
First you should know, I was adopted when I was a few days old.
Back in May of 2007 when I was 28, I found out who my birth mother was. Her name was Tina Henson, and she passed away in Jan of 2007 (4 months before I found her). I had just missed her. I'll be writing more about all of that soon enough. After gathering myself then calling my grandmother Gertie, she told me Tina had died from colon cancer at the age of 43.
This was the first piece of family health history that I was ever given.. I knew that I had to take some preventative measures at some point, being a responsible human and all. My dad who raised me, was a medical doctor, so it had been drilled into my head to take care of my health in all the ways...and I knew that preventative care was something I was supposed to do.
Not my idea of a good time.
The doctors (at that time) told me to have the procedure done at the age ten years previous to the family member’s age when they passed away- so for me that was 33. I swore I would do it. Eventually.
Since then I visited my birth family down in Louisiana, and my younger brother Sean (Tina’s son by a different father) and I promised each other over shared moonshine and tobacco that if one of us did it, the other one would. Sean got his colonoscopy. I didn’t.
A few years later I was in a relationship with a man, living in an RV, who introduced me to natural medicine, as well as a few more life lessons (those are for another day).
I eventually talked to his naturopathic doctor and she helped me heal from an infection/fever with some herbs (over the phone). Whoah, hold up! Okay, so I decided to talk to her about my mother and colon cancer. After she “scanned” me, she said I’m healthy, and don’t need a colonoscopy. Hmmm... After curing me of the bladder infection with fever, I was a believer. She telling me that I was fine, and that I don’t need a colonoscopy was a whole different thing. Or was it?
It’s interesting...growing up with a Western MD as a dad, it’s all I’d ever known. This notion that plants can heal obviously isn’t a new one, but for me using them in real life was. I studied plant science in college even, but had never taken prescribed herbs to cure a diagnosed condition. It’s crazy how ingrained some things are in our brains, just because we grew up believing them. Going the naturopathic route appealed to me because I felt it aligned more with my preferences as an adult.
I chose to trust my naturopath. To be honest, I really didn't want to have the procedure, so this helped sealed the deal...also the gentle (persistent) persuasion of my partner, I decided I didn’t need to have the colonoscopy after all. I was fine.
I also heard some stories of people’s bodies being damaged during the procedure out of carelessness by the doctors. I mean, If I didn’t HAVE to have a tube with a camera put up my butt, then I wasn’t going to. I mean, she said I was fine, so I was fine……...
Fast forward to now. I’m 39. I’m back in Colorado (single), and I decided that it was time for me to go through with the colonoscopy. I have realized over more recent years that I can be easily swayed by other people's opinions (that I love)...and realized there was this nagging that I needed to pay attention to. I decided to go for it, for my peace of mind, and even more so out of respect for my birth mother, and the rest of my family. After avoiding it for over a decade, I finally made the call. Somehow I knew I was healthy though and wasn’t very nervous about getting the results. I was mostly terrified of the procedure. It was, however, something that I felt like I owed to myself and my blood brother for ten years now though, and the relief of just having it over with, was motivation enough.
The prep was pretty crappy (haha!). If you don’t know, now you know...I had to drink a liter of this awful “lemon lime” salt water. I drank the first half of the stuff starting at 4pm the day before. Then I had to get up at 2am the morning of my procedure and force down the second half of it. Oh man, that was rough. Nausea, and frequent trips to the bathroom for 12 hours. What a party. To be real though, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. There’s something to be said about being completely cleaned out, a nice lil detox.
On very little sleep, my closest friend got up super early (not her favorite thing) and drove me to my appointment. I was not excited. I am, however, eternally grateful that I had her there to make me laugh, and be there for support. Words of advice: have a good friend/partner take you if/when you have to do this. I actually had a pretty pleasant experience (maybe that's weird, but true).
Everyone was nice. From the nurse who set me up in the gurney, the anesthesiologist, and the Doc herself. They were present, and focused on me, compassionate and professional. The anesthesiologist and I were joking around, and once she got to putting the feel good sleepy drugs in my arm, she talked to me about pretending to be in the jungle, hearing the birds sing and my hair wild, and I fell asleep with a smile on my face.
I woke up to the nurse handing me the most delicious juice I’d ever tasted. The doctor. came right in and told me I was totally healthy. Woooo!! I knew it hahaa! I was a little wobbly at first, and needed my friend to help walk me to the car. Then had the tastiest frittata and crispy hashbrowns at my favorite breakfast place.
All in all, I’m happy I did it. (If you were wondering- no damage from the procedure)
The beautiful thing is, that it has reconnected me with my birth family down in Louisiana.
I reached out and told my brother, sister, two aunts (and indirectly grandma G), and birth father that I finally gone through with it, and that all was well. I immediately received supportive, loving, and happy/relieved responses from everyone. I hadn’t talked to them in a while. Months to years even. This reconnection inspired my aunt (birth mom’s sister) to get me information she dug up on our family tree in the next week or so. My biological dad is also giving me as much info as he can as well. This is something I’ve been wanting since I was a little kid...to find my roots.
I never thought that by having this procedure that I’d been putting off for over 10 years, would bring my family closer together. There truly is beauty in the strangest of places.
I’m not writing this to tell anyone what they should do with regards to their health, but simply sharing my story, and hope to shed some light on an uncomfortable (for some) subject. Integrative medicine is where it’s at, in my book...If you’re curious as to what that means, check out this link https://www.dukeintegrativemedicine.org/about/what-is-integrative-medicine/. I have no affiliation with Duke, but it’s a great quick read.