Q: Did you know there was such a thing as Trans-rectal endoscopic ultrasound (R-EUS)?
A: I knew about Trans-Vaginal, thanks to Planned Parenthood on FB, fighting the womBen hating Rethugnicans. But, this was new to me.
Alternate Title “Cancer; Is it Anal or Rectal: Talkin’ ‘Bout Shit”
Just a few months ago I experienced the Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound for medical purposes. Luckily, nothing was found.
Monday I had a Colonoscopy. This resulted from my annual physical with my internist. She noted that I had a high calcium level and low iron. Neither really too much in one direction or the other. But, she thought it was time to repeat a long ago colonoscopy just to be thorough.
If nothing else colonoscopies are thorough. Thuh-rough ones entire intestines. The clean out this time was much easier than I remember the last. Not eating for a day and half was difficult. Especially, when my son came over the evening of the cleanse to eat my Juanita’s Tortilla Chips. That crunch almost did me in. I held strong as I held onto the spoon in my hand gently breaking the rubbery edge of a really pretty blue Jell-O cup.
I was actually pleased with the color of this particular Jell-O. Firstly, no red dye of any kind. Apparently, red and purple dyes stain the colon as if it were leaking blood. The light hit the Jell-O just right to catch the facets breaking loose beneath and next to the spoon edge. It looked so much like the flat planes of a well cut or sculpted diamond. Flat planes refracting light in different depths and directions. Blue jiggly diamonds in my red silicone cupcake cup. Crunch.
We talked about him driving me to the appointment and bringing me home. Thank god they would put me out for the procedure. “Procedure”. Sounds so, well, clinical. Clean. Colonoscopies are not clean. Well, they are if you have done the whole 64 ounces of Gatorade (NOT Red, Purple, or Orange) infused with 238 gm of Miralax and 4 Dulcolax pills 15 minutes apart. Drinking an 8 ounce glass of G2 (Yellow or Blue: I bought one 34 ounce bottle of both for a little variety.) every 15 minutes. Good thing I am a water drinker. I had no problem drinking this amount of liquid. Though, it was a challenge not to eat throughout the day. Drinking this stuff was not thrilling. My recommendation is either the G2 Lemon-Lime and/or G2 Glacier Freeze. What kind of a flavor is “Glacier Freeze”. I have no idea. Even now after I drank an entire 34 ounce bottle of “Glacier Freeze” I cannot identify a distinct flavor profile. Not like blueberry, or elderberry or any kind of berry. It did taste good. For that I was grateful. I really liked the color. That’s why I bought that one in the first place. Even though I only bought the G2 in the second place.
You see when I went shopping for something to mix the Miralax(ative) into I wanted to have something I would like to drink that much of. I thought Orange soda looked like a good idea. Except, when I got it home I realized I should look at the ingredient panel to make sure it was red free. It wasn’t. DRAT!!!!! Of course, I will claim legitimate distraction while I was shopping. I was on the phone with my Niece while I was shopping. So, I was completely distracted from my mission. Talk about half-assed.
I got myself up and went back to the store. This time I went to a different store. I felt embarassed that I would have to return to the store 30 minutes after having just been there buying yet, again, more drinkable fare. Mission accomplished. I now had all ingredients for a through and acceptable cleanse. Tomorrow I would be ready. wahoo.
The evening before the cleanse I had a cheeseburger and fries with tomatoe and raw onions. I cannot tell you how many times I read the instructions. No red or purple dye. Things you can eat within two days of colonoscopy include: meat, cheese, white bread, potatoes… NO FIBER! SERIOUSLY???!??!?!? NO fiber? Isn’t that what the whole day before is all about? Not that I really cared. This diet suited me pretty well. I LOVE white bread, meat, cheese and potatoes. Put together they make the most magical of all comestibles:
CHEESE BURGER and FRIES!!!!
Shit. This was heaven for me. Around 4 o’clock two days prior to the colonoscopy I went to Five Guys Burgers. I fell in love with Five Guys a couple of years ago. I ordered my usual: Cheeseburger with tomato and raw onion with little fries.
I took them home, set them on the counter, pet the dog, after telling her repeatedly to stop barking already (our usual “Mom’s homeMom’sHomeMom’sHome routine). I have a routine here, too. I take napkins out of the bag first. I lay two of them out on one half of a plate. Then, I lay out the fries on the napkins. Laying out the fries takes two actions. One is pulling out the cup the fries are in. Second, is holding the bottom of the bag tightly around the foil wrapped cheeseburger, turn the bag upside down and dump out the rest of the fries. The rest of the fries approximate another cup full of lovely crunchy, plump, soft, hot fried potatoes with the skins on. (shudder, oh my.) Then, I can pull the foil wrapped burger out of the bag onto the counter. Now, I peel back the edges of the foil to expose the (boom loudly like a voice from above singing beautifully) cheeseburger. I place the cheeseburger onto the plate. Leaving behind melty cheese on the foil. I cannot wait to run my index finger around the foil to transfer this melty American cheese onto my finger. Transporting that yellow cheese from the shiny foil straight to my wet shiny mouth. mmmmmm. I pull out a glass from the freezer and milk out of the fridge. I love ice-cold milk.
I sat down with my dinner. Bird on my shoulder. (That is a whole different series of processes) I sat down in my La-Z-Girl chair. Place my plate on my belly. It is in the way of my lap and makes a much better platform than my lap anyway. I begin to enjoy my meat, cheese, and white bread. One-third of the way through the cheeseburger I realize the bun has sesame seeds. Seeds are a most definite no-no. Nuts and seeds are forbidden from the third day before the colonoscopy. I pull off the top of the bun. Ok. I can handle this. I continue to eat. Until, about half-way through I realize ketchup is red RED! Holly shit. I am gonna ruin the whole procedure and have to re-schedule. I put the ketchup away look back at my burger and see…tomato! Peel that off. I’ve only eaten a single slice. Take another bite. No raw vegetables. OH SHIT!!! ONIONS! Onions are raw vegetables. Scrape those off. Breathe. Take a drink of ice-cold milk. Eat a few fries. Finish my denuded cheeseburger with only a small amount of fear that I have messed up my whole colonoscopy. Luckily, I caught myself before I screwed the whole thing up. It could have been worse.
No more food, real food anyway, after five o’clock two-days before the procedure. Oh, so, looking forward to the day before cleanse. yay.
I wake up, shower, dress, put the bird on my shoulder, pet the dog and go downstairs for the day to start. Read instructions again. I need to get the timing right. Like why do I have to mix the Miralax into the G2 a couple of hours before I am to start drinking it? Whatever. I do it. A couple of hours later I get it. The Miralax needs time to be incorporated into the G2 so, I won’t be able to taste or detect its texture. And on I go.
My son is here that early evening. We are talking he is eating when I realize I need to run to the toilet. He just happened to have moved into the path between my chair and the bathroom. I stated, somewhat forcefully, “MOVE!” as I shoved him out-of-the-way. Had I waited the few more seconds required to make a genteel request and have him respond I would have made a mess outside the bathroom. This happened several more times that evening. We just accepted that I would shove him aside and I would RUN to the bathroom. It worked for us. Well, mostly me.
I forgot to tell you that the reason my son came over that evening was because I realized I was not going to be able to walk the dog at her appointed times. I asked him if he would come and take her and take care of her half-a-day earlier than we had planned. Thank god and thanks to him it was not a problem. The cost to me was a few Juanita’s tortilla chips, Zupan’s Tahini and assorted other real foods. Fortunately, he had no desire for Jell-O. That I might have gotten physical over.
Next morning he and Jewel (my doggie) come, a little late, to pick me up to take me to the doctor’s office. While they all loved Jewel, she had to be taken back to the car to wait. She is pretty ok with that. She just likes getting out of the house.
Colonoscopy proceeds. My son went to a nearby coffee shop to wait for me to be ready for him to pick me up to take me home. And so he did. I remember meeting the anesthesiologist, talking with the nurses, and saying good morning to my Gastroenterologist. After that . . . nothing. Until I wake up a bit groggy and talk to the Dr. He tells me there were a couple of polyps high up that he cut out and a larger area he took a couple of biopsies of lower down. Way lower down. Way, way lower down.
My son drives me home. On the way I realize I am friggin’ hungry. I want. No. I NEED a milkshake. Where. Where? Where? Ok, Mike’s Drive-In I tell him. He has no idea where this is. I speak into my navigation app on my cell phone, “Mike’s Drive-In”. Directions are magically spoken to him. I tell him about their Hot Fudge and Cherry Milk Shake. And fried clams. These days they are hard to find most places cheap or expensive. But, Mike’s Drive-In has ’em. And they are really GOOD! And there we go.
I went in with him to order. Then, I was so tired, I barely made it out to the car to lean against it in the warmth of the sun until he came out with out orders. My shake. I grabbed it and started sucking on that straw. I was starving. Really. I hadn’t had any substantial food in about 30 hours. I waited until I got home to eat my fried clams.
Though, I was starving I couldn’t finish my milk shake or my fries. This is SO not my norm. I can eat that and more at a sitting without a problem. I was still so tired from the anesthesia I went up to my room and slept for 4 hours or so. Even later that night I went to bed early. Phew.
The next day I took my son to lunch because I was awake enough now to be able to sate my starvation. Pasta. But, not awake enough to drive myself. All I wanted was pasta. While we were at the restaurant I got a call on my cell phone to “Please come this afternoon at around 3 p.m.”
This cannot be good, I tell myself. I have never had a doctor call me to ask that I come in that day. I asked my son if he would come with me to this appointment. Not a problem. My son dumped his plans for that afternoon. I needed him with me. We went to the Dr. together. He explained to me that the biopsy came back. I was surprised they came back so quickly. My experience has always been they take several days to a week to get the pathology back. Not this time. Gulp. I am ready. Here it comes. The Dr. was very calm though, caring and concerned. He explained that the biopsy came back showing Squamous Cell Carcinoma. How do you react to that? Me? I ask what this means regarding the retention or lack thereof i.e. incontinence. He couldn’t tell me. I am going to have to see the surgeon and oncologist in the next day or so. I will get more information pretty soon. More than I want.
In the morning I had the thought that I would certainly loose weight and how when someone who didn’t know I had cancer remarked, “You look like you lost weight. You look so healthy!” I will respond with my natural aplomb, “Why yes. It’s called the Cancer Diet.” I just hope that Diet doesn’t end up being “Die et”.
I felt my son’s hand suddenly on my shoulder. I needed it there. I couldn’t cry. Surprising because, I cry at almost anything from Kleenex commercials to a cute kid waddling in the park. I began to ask questions. Above all I wanted to know whether my kids had to worry about this kind of cancer. The Dr. seemed sure my kids wouldn’t have to worry about a hereditary connection with this kind of cancer. I hope he is right. My son takes my hand at one point when we are both about to cry and kisses it. The Dr. paused an appropriate time for us to regain our nearly lost composure. My son kept hold of my hand.
I didn’t feel like going to the Improv comedy class my son signed me up for that night. He said that I needed a laugh and ought to go. I couldn’t argue with that rationale. So, I did. I went and I laughed. I don’t know if I made anyone else laugh. At least, I didn’t have to worry about what the diagnosis means.
I called my daughter to tell her what was going on. She is out of state traveling with her boyfriend and happens to be visiting her Father’s sister in Arizona. It sounds like they are having fun together. That is good.
Today (two-days post colonoscopy, one-day post cancer diagnosis) I am sitting at home after walking my dog, picking up my normal refill of prescriptions, Q-Tips… At breakfast I started reading Voltaire’s Candidae. At home my son texts me asking how I am feeling today. I still don’t know. I asked how he was saying, “You ok? I know this is an emotional superball to you, too at the moment.” He LOL’d at the metaphor and how apt it is. He told me not to worry about him, after all “I’m fine…my rectum is cancer free.” Talk about LOL! He did point out that he feels like there is a lot to say right now but, there really isn’t. I haven’t had my trans-assinal ultrasound or CT (Cat) scan yet. That is tomorrow (day three post-diagnosis). I get to drink a barium Smoothie. Already sounds suspect as to whether it tastes like dry chalk or strawberry Orange Julius. I am guessing more the former than the latter.
My appointment with the Ass Surgeon is an hour after the CT Scan. Scan, surgery, oncologist is out-of-town so, I will be seeing another one in his office. What do I know from one surgeon or oncologist to another? Dunno. But, I better find out in a fucking hurry.
Dr. was unsure whether it is Anal or Rectal. Though, the exact difference is a bit unclear. I won’t know which it is until I have had a battery of tests. Starting with tomorrow’s.