Back in Episode 3, I told you about my husband having a colonoscopy. Our excursion this Monday is to the local endoscopy suite for my turn. This is nothing new for me. I’ve been having colonoscopies performed every five years since 1994. In 1993 my older brother who was 40 years old (22 months older than me) died from adenocarcinoma. I had never heard that term and really didn’t know what it was. About ten years ago when I was being prepped for my colonoscopy I was asked about my family history. I told them about my brother’s diagnosis and the nurse responded with “that’s colon cancer”. That had a huge impact on me because my father had died at age 45 from colon cancer. To add to this family history, my mother died at age 57 from metastatic liver cancer from breast cancer. So you can probably see why the “Big C” has played such a big and terrifying part in my life.
To make things even worse, just recently my younger brother was diagnosed with Renal Cell cancer. That one really threw me for a loop as we have all been so diligent in getting our colonoscopies. For me, there have also been mammograms and pap smears and since I had only one ovary I always counted myself as fortunate that I had only a 50% chance of getting that cancer. This Renal Cell is a type of cancer that was never on our radar. I used to smoke so lung cancer was always a concern. Fortunately, I quit smoking ten years ago. Recently, though, I had a scare which required an endometrial biopsy and thankfully, it came back negative.
This scare got me thinking about adenocarcinoma and what exactly it is. According to healthline.com, Adenocarcinoma is defined as:
A type of cancer that starts in mucus-producing glandular cells of your body. Many organs have these glands, and adenocarcinoma can occur in any of these organs.
Common types include breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer.
Further information also stated that Renal Cell Carcinoma is also called Renal Adenocarcinoma.
Boy, are we screwed. But, I pray, constantly, for myself and for my brother and his family and I am very thankful that so far I have escaped the horrors of cancer. My youngest brother is in the process of getting approved for a full-body PET scan. I’ve asked but was told no, that they didn’t do that.
For anyone who has had a colonoscopy, you know the worst part is the liquid diet the day before and the prep the night before. They’ve changed how the prep is done over the years and now it is required that you finish your prep in the middle of the night (if you are having a morning procedure), which means you are not going to get much sleep at all.
The whole procedure from time of my arrival to the time we were leaving was 2 hrs and 45 minutes, and it was only this long because they were running half an hour late. Although the doctor did say he removed four polyps, he said they were all benign by his estimation (and he said he’s never wrong) but they will be sent for testing.
For anyone unfamiliar with what a “polyp” is, the information I received in my discharge packet reads:
Polyps are growths that form on the inside lining of the colon. they are usually shaped like mushrooms or dome-like buttons and vary in size from a tiny pea to larger than a plum. While colon polyps start out as benign tumors, certain types of polyps (called adenomas or adenomatous polyps) may turn into cancer. the risk is greater as the polyp gets larger, however, polyps are rather slow growing. It may take five years or more for a polyp to reach 1/2″ in size. If an adenomatous polyp does tun into cancer, it may take fie to ten years or more to reach that stage.
As it looks right now, the worst thing that may come of this is I will have to have a colonoscopy every three years instead of every five. But if it offers me the continued protection and peace of mind, it’s definitely worth losing some sleep and some….other stuff!