Part 3: The Discovery
The moments after the colonoscopy were a little hazy, and I mostly remember laughing every time I farted. They use compressed air to inflate your colon and give the camera room to maneuver, and there was still a bunch of air in my gut when I woke up. Air that needed out. The farts didn't smell, but they were loud. And hilarious. I was laughing about a particularly long one when my GI doctor entered the recovery room. I was still a little loopy from the procedure, but I remember the worried look in his eyes. Thankfully, he got right to the point. "We've found a mass that's completely blocking your colon. I don't know what it is, but I'd like to get you into surgery right away." I don't remember what else he said; to be honest, I think I blacked out again. The next thing I remember, my husband and I were sitting in a freezing-cold hallway next to radiography. My doctor wanted a better look at my abdomen, and a CT scan was the only way to do it since I can't have MRI's anymore. (I have a titanium implant in my skull that an MRI machine would rip out, but that's another story for another time) I don't know how long we sat in that cold hallway, but the CT technician (who happened to be the brother-in-law of one of my best friends) took me back to the machine and gave me the dye needed to make it show up. I'm pretty sure I flashed my butt at the technician when I climbed onto the table, but I didn't care. I was cold, I was sleepy from the drugs, and the dye made me feel like I had to pee. I just wanted to go home. I achieved that dream an eternity later, after setting up an appointment with the recommended surgeon, who was out of town and unable to see me that week. In the meantime, we informed my parents about the mass and told them a watered-down version of what the GI doctor had said. We didn't want to say "cancer" until we knew for sure, so we tried to downplay it in hopes of keeping the panic at bay. I'm not entirely sure how many days passed before we saw the surgeon. It might have been a week or two, but the day eventually arrived. My mom, dad, and stepmom went with us to the meeting (my stepdad was watching my sister at the time), but they stayed in the waiting room while my husband and I met with the surgeon. The surgeon was friendly and came highly recommended by my GI doctor. He didn't try to sugar coat the issues, which is a trait I admire in medical professionals. In my opinion, it's better to get right to the problem than to waste time skirting around the issue, and this guy got right to the point. He gave me a preliminary exam by pressing around my abdomen, then he sat down across from me and looked me straight in the eyes. "We don't know what it is for sure yet, but it looks like cancer, so we're going to treat it like cancer."
Part 4 coming soon!
*I found the illustration on Very Well.