Some of you may see this photo and already know what it means. I’m prepping for my first colonoscopy, which means for the next 3 hours I’m drinking 48 ounces of Gatorade mixed with a bottle (a bottle!!) of ClearLax. And then another bottle and 48 ounces more tomorrow morning. The amount of ClearLax seems almost dangerous! It’s absurd! The only perk is that I get to use my giant sugar skull mug that tends to be too big most of the time. In this case, it’s perfect.
The primary reason I’m posting this is because this process makes me think of my dad. I’m doing this ten years earlier than most because of his diagnosis when he was 53. He had a tumor so large, it blocked his ability to evacuate. The doctor couldn’t even complete the colonoscopy because she couldn’t get past the tumor. They speculated it could have been growing for 10 years or more.
Now, as a 40-year-old woman, I look back and wonder how in the hell someone can live with that kind of discomfort for so long? When I spoke with him about it later, he admitted to the telltale symptoms, but simply brushed them off. Blood in the stool? Hemorrhoids. Inability to defecate completely? Constipation (which could also explain the bloating).
I look back at pictures just prior to his diagnosis and he looks swollen. But not in a way that looks ill, if that makes sense. He had always been a big guy, overweight. The quality of his gut (which has always been there, and had always been firm) seemed to change…it was broader, and maybe flabbier? But his spirit was no different. He was always easy going and funny. One of my favorite pictures of him is when Spence and I surprised him with a birthday cake during his visit to Florida. He was all smiles. He had a great time during that trip. But, god, he must have felt awful if he wasn’t able to evacuate his bowels completely, and if he hadn’t been able to for some time. He was diagnosed a year later.
One of the first things he said to me after he had surgery and started on chemo was that he hadn’t felt so good in years. In hindsight, that makes me so sad…that he lived in discomfort for so long.