Posted 11/12/2008 2:59 PM (GMT -6)
I wish someone would tell me the same exact thing! Here's my specific timeline.
1997 - blood showed up on anal smear done as a routine part of a pap exam. My GYN recommended and ordered a colonoscopy. No ifs, ands or butts (sorry, that's a bad pun!). Two benign polyps, told to return in 3 years for a colonoscopy. Again, nothing but the most thorough procedure.
1999 - blood began showing up on tissue after bm's and after using the bathroom, even to urinate. Not a whole lot but it was there. And it was not vaginal bleeding. I kept thinking it was because I hadn't been eating right, it was the holidays, parties, etc. By January, I went to see my Internist for another problem, she said it was probably hemmoroids. Well, you want to believe it is that and not cancer. By Feb., I knew I'd better call my Gastro. He booked me an appt, no prep. He examined me with my clothes ON! Pushing on my stomach, etc. No dialation. He ordered a Flex-sig.
By now I had another pap and my GYN decided to do a rectal exam. Found "something", he said it was probably a skin tag. I wanted to believe it was a skin tag. But by this time I had a Flex-sig ordered. A blizzard came up and I had to cancel.
By the time I got my Flex-sig in, it was April 6th. My bleeding began Dec. 16, almost 10 years ago.
The mere second my Gastro dilated me and saw the "skin tag", the entire room was hushed, no one spoke. I knew then and there it was a malignant tumor. I began crying. I knew in my gut it was cancer.
Of course you know by now it was. I had my CA diagnosis within 20 hours. And my Gastro had me booked for a colonoscopy as fast as he could - 3 days later. I could tell he was so worried there were more (there weren't, I haven't had a single polyp, benign or malignant since 1999). My tumor was barely inside. I did at some point examine myself, yup it was right there.
They say hindsight is always 20/20. In my case it was so true.
I put off checking this out thoroughly. But to be honest, when my Gastro saw me in Feb. and didn't have me do a prep or anything, I figured, hey if he's not worried, why should I be?
Nearly every single nurse and doctor who saw me thru my cancer all said - you are much too young for rectal cancer. I was 43, almost 44. Well, guess what guys I still got it.
I could tell all of these professionals in my care wished they had done a colonoscopy right away.
And now with high copays and insurance companies balking at every bill that comes their way (they wouldn't pay my last colonoscopy bill), I shudder to think how many people are put off or ignored.
I am just one example. What my situation taught me is to speak up. Always speak up! Become your own advocate and never take no, it's probably....for an asnwer. Find out what is wrong!
But of course I am alive and it was Stage 1 (no treatment required). Oh but my life has never been the same since......