Thursday, April 21, 2011

The story about when I had a colonoscopy, Part I

I had a colonoscopy on April Fool's day.

It was kinda funny, because then I went around telling people "I had a camera shoved up my butthole today!" and people would sit and wait for me to be like "APRIL FOOLS!!" but then I wouldn't, and it would dawn on them in this kind of horribly unclear way that I must seriously have had a camera shoved up my butt, and then they'd sputter some laughter or high five me or maybe perhaps it created an awkward silence so profound I could hear the waves of the Atlantic Ocean all the way from Seattle. Can't remember which. It's been almost a month now.

 I found this on the internet for free and it applied. Hope you liked it, of course, but being honest, there weren't a lot of options for an April Fool's image. And by golly, is it April Fools, April Fool's or April Fools' or does it depend on context??? (Image attribution here.)

At any rate, a colonoscopy actually happened. And I think I'd like to tell you about it.

It aaaalllll started when I dropped a deuce. (This time, I decided to do so in a toilet as opposed to in my pants in the forest.) Don't want to get too graphic or detailed or anything, but let's just say that when I used my right hand to gingerly wipe the excrement from my rectum in a forward motion, the white two-ply toilet paper I was using came back up covered in both feces and bright red blood. (Did anybody else just turn red with embarrassment at that sentence? I win at being horrible at euphemism!!!)

It wasn't a little bit of blood. It was a lot bit of blood.

But it wasn't enough to call an ambulance or grab a blood bag for donating purposes or anything. Just enough to be unsettling and then forgettable.

But then, the next day, it happened again.

At this point, I started getting worried. I walked over to the registrar of the middle school I work in as a therapist. Her name's Keri and she's about my age, and she's very cool, and knows a lot about health and blood and science and all that crap. So I thought, "perfect candidate" not taking into account just how awkward the discussion I was about to engage in was going to be

Me: Hey, I know you research health stuff a lot and have done a lot of reading. Do you mind if I ask you a health related question?

Keri: Sure! I really do love that stuff.

Me: It's kinda personal... is it okay if it's a little personal?

Keri: Sure, I don't mind. What's on your mind?

Me: Wellllll... (awkwardly shifts weight)


Me: (Deep breath) Okay. So... rectal bleeding. Thoughts? (flinches)

Keri: Not good.

Me: .....Uh oh.

Keri: Why do you say "uh oh?"

Me: No reason (begins to whistle, looking around the room like nothing has happened)

Keri: Josh, are you trying to tell me that you had blood in your stool?

Me: YES. Thanks you for not making me tell you that I dropped a deuce and discovered I have blood coming out of my anus. Because that would have been reeeeaally awkward.

Keri Yeah. That sure would have been. Whereas this is the most natural conversation in the world....

Me: Right? Surprisingly NOT awkward!

Her: Yeah.... Not awkward at all.... (looks at me, horrified)

Me: So, tell it to me straight. Is it cancer?

Keri: I'm not really a doctor...

Me: Colon cancer, huh? I knew it.

Her: Listen, I've read some articles about health, but I don't treat patients or anything. I'm a registrar. From what I've read, blood in the stool could be some pretty serious stuff. Or it could be hemorrhoids. But I think you should probably see a doctor.

Me: I so will... not ever do that thing you just said about seeing a doctor. Thanks for the diagnosis, Keri! Hemorrhoids it is!

Keri: See a doctor.

Me: All right, been fun chatting. I'm off to do some important work in my office now where I may also be praying or crying in the fetal position at the thought of cancer.

Keri: Or calling your doctor?

Me: Yeah... again, so not that.

,,,I ended up calling my doctor.

His verdict was basically this: Dude, you're 30. You probably either tore up your bum bum with an unusually large poo poo, or you have internal hemorrhoids,,.

I was like "WHEW."

But then he was like, "...unless you have a family history of intestinal cancers,"

To which I was like "I don't have one single relative that has had cancer in any generation of my wait a minute it what am I saying my mom's sister had intestinal cancer like eight months ago."

And he said: "Oh."

And I said: " wasn't hard to excise?"

And he said "I think you're gonna need a colonoscopy."

And I said: "I hate you" and then drop kicked him like a ninja. In self defense. Either that, or we set up an appointment with a gut doctor. Like I said this all happened so long ago that the memories are hazy.

 "You are probably going to die. Unless we put a camera up your butthole. On April Fool's'ss day."

And that was the day a 30-year-old The Weed set up an appointment to do a procedure that people who are 60 feel a little bit young for.

Stay tuned for PART II: How The Weed's Butthole Became a Faucet


  1. Can I just throw out there in a completely sincere manner that I am really, really proud of you for acting on your symptoms and getting a colonoscopy? My dad has colon cancer, and we know that it could be a lot more treatable had he a) gotten a routine colonoscopy like you're supposed to when you're over 50, and b) not ignored symptoms.

    Yeah, colons are poopy and embarrassing and we really don't like to entertain the notion of them being any more unpleasant than they already are, but sometimes not dropkicking your doctor in the face is the best option for you and your family.

  2. Women are unfortunately subjected to people creeping around our nether regions, and even WE are

    It is responsible for you to find out, I am proud of you for being a big boy about it and I am so glad we are not talking in person. The end.

  3. Thank goodness there are OTHER people in this world who aren't afraid to discuss their poop problems on the internet...I am not alone anymore! Loved it Josh! Thanks for making my gym job a thousand times more entertaining than watching old women complain about broken treadmills.

  4. Salute. I once only listened to my mother get one and almost attacked the person performing the operation. Then, afterwards, she didn't remember a thing. Sigh........
    I hope you didn't remember a thing either but something tells me you do. Or maybe you are just going to make up a funny story. Either way, it's good so far!

  5. My mind went to large turd or roids immediately. I should totally be a doctor. Cant wait for part two. Popcorn is ready..

  6. First of all, to all who have commented, thank you for not letting crickets chirp. Kinda thought that might happen with a subject like this, and your comments were actually really nice, so thanks!

    @Tamsin--So sorry about your dad. If this post serves as a public service announcement for someone, then I can feel very contented in throwing my shame out into the internet.

    @The Onion--So true about not talking in person! Amazing how awkward a conversation about this topic can get... it's a discussion killer, for sure.

    @Laura--If there's one thing I'm NOT, it's afraid to talk about... pretty much any subject. Sometimes that lends itself to awesome moments of incredible discomfort. Other times it opens a door for discussion of topics that are uncomfortable but worth talking about. I'm happy to walk that fine line, and fall onto the wrong side... constantly. And glad I'm not alone in that!

    @Momiss--Salluuuutttteee!!! Oh man, yeah. Your comment will be addressed in part II. Bate that breath!

    @Sunny--You are a freaking genius. Clearly. In fact (grabs long-sword and swipes the sides of each, accidentally lobbing one off): I now bestow upon thee the title Doctor of Medicine. Now go sew your ear back on.

  7. @Sunny--Ear. The side of each ear. Or the side of your head where the ear is. That's how I cut it off, see? Cuz I was kinda knighting you or something with a sword and then lobbed off your ear and it hurt, but now your a doctor so you can fix it! Yay! I'm so glad I'm here to eloquently explain my own parenthetical stage directions.... to myself because I missed a word. (nobly exits stage left)

  8. I got you beat Josh, I'm 29 and I've already had two...the first one was quite memorable. I'll have to tell you about it some time. (My Dad even came to me for advice to help him prepare for his first one.)

  9. I work with you...and TEACH SCIENCE and I believe that I can pretty much use Web MD....and I have PROBEWARE in my classroom. I could have had you diagnosed, tested and back at work BEFORE 4-1. Don't bother to ask me now because I am not going to be your third opinion.

  10. First off, I used the wrong your up there in Sunny's corrective explanatory comment about when I left out the subject of a preposition. I'm a super-champ today!

    And, next:

    @Kimmel--I can't believe you're 29! How are we so close in age?

    @Selena--WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THIS??? I am remiss. Next time I have a bloody orifice, I now know directly where to turn.

  11. baaaaaah! did you ever read my posts on my colonoscopy? if you did and commented, apologies- it was several months ago and i've blocked it from my memory.

    the day before was the WORRRRST part of it all. i seriously went fucking mental due to lack of food.

  12. Um, you're totally ruining my surprise. Yes I read your post and yes I loved your post and yes I plan to link to your post in part II because you told the story so amazingly well. And in reading your more recent entries, not only are we colonscopy buddies, but we're both almost the exact same age (few weeks apart) and both had our C's while 30. Um, twins separated at birth? Clearly.

  13. Or, let's relish in the awkwardness. Isn't that kinda how we roll TILTE? Let's be real here...

  14. Poo is funny.
    I had my first colonoscopy at 29. So I have you totally beat. And TWO MORE AFTER THAT.
    Good times!!
    And when you know that you have to do the prep and starving thing again, it is SO LAME. Because you know what it's going to be like.
    Hope they got whatever it was out of you.

    PS - I totally second what @You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun said. I was 8 weeks post-birth, nursing a baby and went DOUBLY MENTAL from starvation.

  15. My parents went in together on their anniversary just a month after your post. Neither had had one before, but they were both barely over fifty. (Fun anniversary date, no?) My dad went first and all went well. Then they got my mom all ready and hooked up to monitor her vitals. The doc started talking her through the procedure, but became distracted because her heart rate was around 40 bpm. Instead of the colonoscopy, she got a pacemaker put in the next morning. Best part was that she still had the colonoscopy to reschedule and look forward to. Through the whole thing, the only thing she complained about is that she had to do the prep day again and that the first time had been a waste.

  16. Has anyone else thought of the FRIGHTENING implication that we women WON'T EVEN KNOW when we need a colonoscopy because we're already used to the toilet paper coming up covered in (stuff) and blood?

  17. I was in my 20's (my body hates me) when I went through my first colonoscopy prep (not the full scope until I was, like, almost 30). I've now lived through 4. Two because I have a motility disorder and the poop forgets which way to go, ending in a cement-like substance that doesn't want to depart. So twice my doc's prescription has been to ream the whole thing out. Once for a scope after a diagnosis and treatment for diverticulitis. The meds are hellish for that, and the scope showed that despite the textbook-perfect diagnosis for my symptoms, my colon was shiny-clean. Literally. They gave me pictures. The last one was at the ripe old age of 30 (3 years ago) as a preparation for surgery. I was having a random tumor removed from my belly. It was next to, but not seemingly involved in, the colon. Hoping for a small lap removal, ended up with a huge zipper scar up my belly and 4" less large intestine. End story: benign. Phew. Two of my brothers came to visit me in the hospital to welcome me to the semi-colon club, of which they are both a part. One due to nasty diverticulitis for reals, and the other due to a severe case of chrones disease with a highlight of ruptured colon. We all have ended up with the same gastro. As he said once to the np followign him around: She's Joe's sister. [np: Oooohhhh!]
    gastro: so we're just watching for her to develop Chrones.
    Me: I hate you.
    Body: this IBS thing is gettign boring, let's go destroy somethign else now!
    (I speak from a place of grand crankiness today. Sorry, you're getting my brain dump. I've been fighting ear infections cum massive tmj flare since Christmas and now I'm in tears angry because the pain won't stop. I have fibro and live with pain every day and feel like that should give me a permanent get-out-of-additional-pain-free card. Instead my doc gave me a handicap permit. Okay. Pity-party over! Back to your lives citizens!)