A few weeks ago I successfully made it through my second colonoscopy.
I know what you are all doing right now. You're looking at my column picture and wondering how out of date is it.
Well, it's not from last week, but I still look pretty much the same.
I am 32 years old, well below the suggested age to have a first exam for colon cancer. Unfortunately, what I do have is a family history riddled with cancer.
About 6 years ago, my cousin Tony Ciccarone, who was only one month older than me, was having health issues and eventually went to the doctor. He found out he had colon cancer -- at 26.
Naturally, when he called to tell me, I was shocked. The cancer news itself wasn't the shock due to our family's bloodlines, but at our age it didn't seem right.
What made it worse is that I didn't have time to come to terms with this news, because he died only a few weeks later. Tony didn't even have a chance to start treatment before we had to say goodbye.
So soon after his passing, myself, my brother, Tony's sister and at least two of her three children all were tested. Thankfully, all came back negative.
Well, 5 years later my wife Nicole the worrier of the two of us kept pestering me to get tested again as the doctor requested.
I know it's important, but I still didn't want to do it. For anyone out there who hasn't had one yet -- especially if you are putting if off -- the procedure itself is painless and you won't remember a thing.
The part that is awful is the prep. Is it dinner yet?
I love to eat. It probably comes from the 50-plus miles a week I run combined with my Italian bloodlines. If I didn't run, I'd probably be 250 pounds like Tony was instead of 150.
So when you have to go 37 hours and the only things you can "eat" are jello, gummi bears, chicken broth, water and energy drinks, well, it should be considered an act of torture.
I did everything I could to prepare myself. Two nights before the procedure, which you can also refer to as your "last meal," I ate six bowls of pasta and any snack I could find in the cupboards.
I woke up the next morning with my stomach hurting, but that's OK as I had no desire to eat until about 1 p.m.
A lunch of three Jellos, some gummi bears and a Gatorade later, and well I was still hungry.
Work distracted me for a while, but eventually you can't concentrate without food. At least I can't.
So I headed home to my wife and two children who were happy to see daddy home earlier than normal. Unfortunately, my children both inherited my love of food. And you can't tell a 3- and 1-year old to just not eat in front of daddy. So for the rest of the night, both of them just snacked away right in front of me.
Thanks guys. My youngest tried to share his bounty of snacks a few times as toddlers tend to do by just shoving the food right in your mouth.
I don't recommend children during your prep.
My oldest, the always inquisitive one, found it very peculiar how I was acting after I started drinking the nasty-even-with-flavoring-stuff that cleans you out.
"Daddy, why you do you keep going potty?"
"Because, buddy, daddy has to have his tummy checked out in the morning and it can't have food in it."
My son understands this concept better than most, for better or worse. When Andrew Jr. was born, some of his intestines were on the outside, and the doctors had to shove them back in. His insides are checked every four months, and he cannot eat or drink for six hours prior.
So if it's possible, Andrew actually had some empathy for me. Jack ... well at least he's willing to share his food.
In the end, it was a long day, an even longer morning of starvation until the procedure itself, but a great end result and this time I can wait 10 years before the next time.
Oh, and if you think steak tastes great normally, try it after 37 hours of hunger. It's becomes divine.
I share this tale to remind or nudge people to stop procrastinating and have your colon cancer test. If you wait until it's too late, the only one your hurting is yourself and loved ones.
A few skipped meals is a worthy cost for your health.
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