Why not get that colonoscopy? It could save your life

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As soon as I turned 49, I started receiving AARP correspondence. A little much in my opinion — I mean, give me time to enjoy my under-50 category for the year. Really, 30, 40, even 45 were great years and birthdays — I just don’t know where they really went.

I actually forgot I was turning 49 for almost a year. I was telling people I was actually 50 just so I could get used to saying it. And boy, did I talk it up. I mean, turning 50 is the big one. I’m thinking big gifts, maybe a trip or two. I would have an entire year to talk it up!

Then the mailers started coming. Get-up-and-go again, every birthday brings wishes not to miss, we keep you moving….wait, what? I just turned 49. So as the months progressed and the mail continued to pile up, the more curious I got.

Throughout the year I asked my friends, colleagues and peers to tell me about “their” colonoscopy experience. Was it really that bad? I was amazed at the number of people I asked who had never had one. I was shocked. As I read more about the procedure, the more it prepared me and I actually became anxious to have one. Crazy, right? Well, my thoughts are that I’ve had two children, what’s the big deal? And, why not have one if it could save my life?

I have no family history but I’m a “get ‘er done” and checklist kind of person. I actually called to schedule mine well in advance of turning 50 but was told to call back closer to my next birthday which I gladly did. I had my sister scheduled to take me — I mean, in my mind I was going to have a sleepover, watch a movie and make the most of it. I know, it didn’t exactly turn out to be that kind of sleepover, but it honestly wasn’t bad at all.

The hardest part was drinking the liquid the night before, but my sister was right there supporting me the entire way (and my husband, of course).

The next day we arrived bright and early and were greeted with smiling, caring nurses. My sister wished me luck and then the next thing I knew, she was rubbing my forehead telling me it’s over. I was shocked! I survived! I did great! And I was so proud to check that off my list. So, I’m here to tell you it’s really no big deal and it could save your life.

The American Cancer Society has changed the recommended age for colon cancer screenings to 45 because more and more young people are getting diagnosed with colon cancer. That is even more reason to talk with your doctor about scheduling a colonoscopy. Need a doctor? Call Wilson Medical Center’s Physician Referral Line at 800-424-DOCS (3627).

Lisa Briley is the director of marketing, physician recruitment and provider relations at Wilson Medical Center.