What comes to your mind when you hear the word colonoscopy or gastroscopy? Are you familiar with the procedure? For me, it’s important to have an honest discussion about it because I believe in prevention is always better than cure. So, the reason for this post is to bring awareness to what sometimes can be over-looked – our gut health.
Let me be open and straight about it. I had the first colonoscopy and gastroscopy done back in 2013. It went well. As expected, the report showed no sign of abnormality. I was relived. It wasn’t over though. The gastroenterologist told me to come back in 5 years to have another procedure. As it drew closer and closer to the 5 years mark this year, I became more and more nervous and anxious. My brother on the other hand, facing the same scenario, was rational, laid-back and cool about it. He perceived it as a way of detoxing for the body and a necessary process to fully understanding the gut health.
I decided to conquer my fear by facing it. Only last month my brother and I were again sitting in the gastroenterologist’s office for our appointment. I knew why I was there for but chose not to say too much. My brother by my side did the most talking. A top specialist in his field, the same gastroenterologist that I saw 5 years ago, met and greeted us, then started it off by asking us a range of standard questions. It sounded like all in a day’s work to me. Finally, he popped the question I had dreaded: When would you like to have the procedure done? Right there, without thinking too deep, I took the boldest step in a long while and said it in a firm tone of voice: As soon as possible. He flipped through pages of his calendar that already looked very full and put me down in an instant and said he can do it in two weeks. Yes, book me in – I answered in a rapid-fire manner. Within minutes, forms were done, we left his office. My brother was surprised by my snap decision to want it so quickly and to be treated as a private patient at a private hospital instead of a public one.
Once the date was set, the reality began to sink in. I wasn’t scared of the procedure itself but more so the fasting and bowel cleansing process. The second time didn’t mean it was easier. I was willing to going through this short-term pain because I understood the long-term benefits of doing it. The rest was all a matter of just grin and bear it and stop complaining about it.
On the day I was admitted to the hospital, I was incredibly calm and settled thanks to my brother for keeping my company and being my driver of the day. I was so well taken care of by the nurses and doctors that it didn’t feel like I was having a procedure at a hospital but more like a pampering treatment at a day spa. Once I was wheeled into the operating theater, it was getting so real. My eyes were focusing on the operating theatre lights above while one thought running through my mind: I’m going to put my faith in these health professionals. The general anaesthetic quickly took effect and then it was a case of my life was in their hands.
The next thing I knew was a male nurse waking me up and I remember my first question to him was: Is it all done? Yes, all done – he said. Wow, that was quick. They continued to monitor my body for a little while before sending me to the recovery room where I was waiting to hear the results from the gastroenterologist. Shortly after I was given a bit light refreshment, the gastroenterologist came back to explain the report to me: It went well. I found two polyps and removed them. I was a bit taken aback at the news but was grateful for what he’d done. Later on, my brother returned to pick me up. We had a brotherly heartfelt talk while he was taking me home. I thought that was nice.
So, what can I say? I’m glad I did it. I might’ve acted like a drama queen in all these but hey I’m older and wiser enough not to justify my behaviors to anyone. This experience has taught me so many lessons that I can’t simply articulate them all in one go or put them into words. That night, I had a bath at home trying to relax a bit after a long day. It may sound strange, but I literally gave myself a pat on the back and said “Well done Ted”…