[cancer] Time for another alien abduction experience

I am having another colonoscopy tomorrow. That means I’m on a clear fluid diet today, and this afternoon will be taking WonderDrugs™ to ensure the pipes are clean. I’ve warned everyone local to stay the heck away from Nuevo Rancho Lake today. There truly are some experiences that should not be shared.

A lot people are very uncomfortable with the idea of a colonoscopy. It’s invasive, in a manner and location which can feel very transgressive. It’s a little spooky, especially if you happen to get a look at the probe beforehand. Imagine a Norelco razor duct-taped to a black garden hose… Then imagine that going where the sun don’t shine. We’re talking Fantastic Voyage, except with John Candy in the Raquel Welch role.

I like to think of colonoscopies as alien abduction experiences. I’m taken into a little room with bright lights by mysterious figures in face masks and splash guards, I’m forced to strip and lie on a cold table, I get to enjoy an anal probe, and afterward remember almost noting of it. Really, how different is that from the classic contactee narrative? Perhaps the CIA has had field-expedient colonoscopy teams roaming the country in black helicopters all these years, when they’ve been able to take time off from mutilating cattle, staring at goats and overthrowing Third World dictatorships.

But there’s two critical facts about colonoscopies.

One, they don’t hurt at all. (I’m far more wiped out by the sedation.)

Two, they can and will save your life.

So do me a favor. Do yourself a favor. Do everyone who loves you a favor. If you’re eligible for a colonoscopy (in most US healthcare environments, that means being aged 50 or older), go get one. More to the point, if you have experienced any of the warning signs of colon cancer, whatever your age, go get a colonoscopy.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, with about 6% of the population eventually suffering from it. It’s the second largest killer among cancers, after lung cancer. The procedure is a little embarrassing and rather disruptive, but I’m here to tell you from deep personal experience that living with colon cancer is a hell of a lot more disruptive than half a day on the toilet and some bright lights in a little room.

So enough with the PSA. I’m doing my bit, because we already know my colon loves to produce new polyps, the bad kind. Due to my medical history, that induces a certain amount of fear and trepidation on my part, but the alternatives are worse.

7 thoughts on “[cancer] Time for another alien abduction experience

  1. Felicity says:

    I have quite a few years to go before I am eligible, but what scared me in my loved ones’ reports was that the docs gave them a sedative or other drug that messed with memory. I think I would rather remember my alien abduction, probe and all, than have a Sinclair-esque hole in my mind!

    But of course I will dutifully report to the spaceship when the doctors say it’s time. Why take that risk?

  2. Alex J. Kane says:

    Your kindness, openness, and honesty are more refreshing than a cold bottle of Coke in the middle of August. It’s no wonder your blog, in addition to your wonderful fiction, is admired by so many.

    Thanks, Jay.

    1. Jay says:

      Thank you, Alex.

  3. Felicity, the Rohypnol-type drug doctors usually give in conjunction with colonoscopies is not mandatory. I requested they not give me the memory drug when I had my latest colonoscopy last year. Some uncomfortable moments during the procedure, but nothing overly painful or disturbing. (Disclaimer: Your own mileage may vary.)

    The previous times, when I had the memory drug, pretty much left me freaked out, not remembering the procedure at all and “blipping” from moment to moment for several hours afterward as if living in a series of snapshots.

    Plus, not being in conscious control of my own mind always makes me worry that I’ll come back to normal in the back seat of a Las Vegas taxicab, wearing a dress and with an intoxicated wallaby on the seat next to me.

  4. Cora says:

    They knock people out for colonoscopies in the US? I’m pretty sure that’s not the way they do it over here.

    1. Jay says:

      It’s “talking sedation”, but retrograde amnesia is a very common side effect. Certainly works that way for me. So psychologically the net effect is quite similar to full anaesthesia.

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