Now, many people will tell you that going through cancer changes you and gives you a new outlook on life, and in many cases, that is true. That said, I think it is safe to say that much of my personality has remained the same from before my treatment. This year I’ll be turning 36 years old and I’ve been cancer-free for over 20 years. I believe that one specific aspect of my personality aligns with most people’s inner child:
“I think poop and farts are hilarious!”
Is it childish and gross-out humour of the lowest order? Yes, but it is still funny. I mean, a well-timed fart or good old poop joke still has me laughing. And my juvenile sense of humour has been somewhat useful when I go to my check-ups, where, inevitably, one of the questions I get is about poop or, in medical terms, “bowel movements.” Due to my treatment, my pancreas doesn’t entirely work and things can get a bit messy, so, it’s possible that I get the poop questions more than others do.
Anyway, during one of my recent POGO AfterCare Clinic appointments, my health team suggested that I get a colonoscopy due to the type of cancer treatment I received as a child and the fact that there is some family history of colon cancer on my dad’s side. (This part was not funny.)
Both my parents have had colonoscopies, and they offered some advice based on their experience, like do not eat certain Jell-O colours as they dye your insides. But, most importantly, they told me that in both their experiences, the worst part was not the procedure itself but the purge the day before.
For those of you unaware of the process, a few days before a colonoscopy, you start a low-fibre diet with no red meats. The day before, you can only have clear liquids and take what I would call “super laxatives”…and oh boy, do they work. One of the late effects of my cancer and treatment that I regularly deal with is spending more time close to the bathroom, but this was on a whole other level. I believe several texts to my mother included the words, “Oh God, why won’t it stop?”
The actual colonoscopy wasn’t that bad. I experienced a slight discomfort at first, but that was about it. And it is really freaky to watch the camera work its way through your colon.
During my procedure, they found a total of seven polyps (this is a lot). Luckily, the gastroenterologist was able to remove all of them and the lab results showed none were cancerous. The bad news is that because they found so many, I have to go back in three years rather than the regular ten.
While I don’t look forward to my next visit, I’m glad that I went because now I know that my colon is healthy at the moment and that the polyps that were removed don’t have the chance to turn into something much worse. One of the many benefits of going to a POGO AfterCare Clinic is that the doctors know your diagnosis, treatment protocol and what late effects need to be monitored.
Believe me, as a pessimist, I know that it sucks to go through the hassles of test after test, and I find myself thinking, “What if?” But I just remember that if they do find something, it’s better if they find it earlier rather than later.
On the positive side, I now have medical proof that I have a tight butt; I refuse to look at it any other way!
You can read more about Jamie’s cancer experiences including his challenges with mental health and his brush with hockey fame.