Hey you! Yeah, you! You’re a human adult, right? Maybe with a kid or two? Well, I have some important information for you. It’s about … well … it’s about your butt.
I prefer to keep things lighthearted in my blog, but as a parent your health is important. So I want to talk a little about cancer, specifically colorectal cancer, and how you can prevent it. Wait, come back! I promise it won’t be that bad.
Some Important Facts
If insurance commercials have taught me anything, it’s that people will respond to lovable characters. So I asked an AI illustrator to whip up a picture of a fun, relatable mascot for colorectal cancer awareness. To make the subject more palatable, I’ll have HIM give you some information about it instead of me. Say hello to Colin the Colon! He’s as informative as he is unsettling! Take it away, Colin!
“Wa-hey there folks, I’m Colin the Colon! I could TELL you some important facts about colorectal cancer prevention, but instead I think I’ll SING about them! OOOHHHHH…”
On second thought, how about we not go with Colin.
Some Actual Important Facts
Why am I talking about colorectal cancer? Well, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer when he was 55, 20-ish years ago. Thankfully, he’s made a full recovery since then. At the time I was a teenager, and was so self-centered that I had little concept of what he was going through. But now as an adult and a parent, I’m much more aware of the risk that the disease holds to me and my family.
Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA. If you know anything about it, you probably know it as an older person’s disease. But recently, colorectal cancer has been sharply on the rise in adults 18-35. So even if you’re a relatively young parent, you should be aware of it. Usually doctors recommend you start getting screened at 45, but if you have family history or have experienced some potential symptoms, you should talk to your doctor to see if they recommend starting earlier.
So what should you do? Talk to your doctor about it. Be aware of your family history and be cognizant of symptoms that could indicate a problem. Symptoms include changing bowel habits, persistent abdominal discomfort, and blood in the stool. If you have some warning signs, your doctor might suggest you get a colonoscopy. That’s where a doctor uses a camera to go into your colon and visually inspect for signs of cancer. It’s considered the gold standard in colorectal cancer prevention. In my case, I had high risk because of my family history and some symptoms (I won’t go into details), so my gastroenterologist suggested I get a colonoscopy to check things out.
A colonoscopy is pretty simple: The doctor sticks a little robot camera up there and takes a look around. They put you under general anesthesia for it so you don’t have to experience what I’m sure is a … unique sensation. Since they’re going to stick a camera up there, you need to be nice and clean for your close-up. That means a day and a half of prep. The day before, I could only consume clear liquids. Have you ever had broth and jello for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? I can’t recommend it. There was other prep too, but I will not go into details, for your sake.
The day of the procedure, I could drink water a little in the morning but nothing else. At 1:15 p.m. I got to the surgery center, checked in, went back to the prep room. I got into one of those humiliating open-in-the-back gowns, and was subjected to a brief flurry of nurses and doctors getting me ready. They stuck an oxygen tube in my nose and a needle in my arm. Then I waited half an hour for my turn with the doctor. They put some anesthetic in my arm, and then … I woke up. I was done. No fuss at all. Turns out the procedure is no big deal; it’s the lead up to it that’s actually a pain in the butt (pun intended).
So why did I bother telling you about this? Sure, cancer is bad but why is that your problem? Well, in my opinion, the ultimate reason to worry about this is for your kids. We all want to be there for our kids as they grow, and then be able to enjoy their company when they’re adults. And they deserve to have you there for them for as long as they can. So please, keep tabs on your health and get a colonoscopy if you need to. Do it for your kids.