February 6, 2024 Not a fun procedure

Published by Victor Barr on

There comes a time in a person’s life when our mortality sneaks up on us—a time when we need to look at our health and start to take care of it. 

For many men and some women, we tend to put it off. We hope to ignore the passage of time. I’m fifty-three years old and closing in on my fifty-fourth. So when the doctor gave me a form to go and get a stool sample to take in I ignored it and delayed it. Surely, I feel fine, why should I need to get tested for colon cancer? 

A part of me had a nagging feeling it was important.  After all my mom died at the same age I am right now. But she died of a heart attack. And she was a lifelong smoker. Surely I wasn’t at risk from that…  surely.

Yet there it was in my mind, I also had some friends tell me to go get it checked. What can it hurt? So I pushed through and did the unpleasant task. 

Then a week later came the call. 

They found a microscopic blood sample. The doctor wanted to explore further, they needed to have a colonoscopy. My stomach dropped when the call arrived. They wanted more tests. When I was much younger I was diagnosed with Diverticulosis, polyps on the intestine. It was probably all it was. 

So I made the appointment and took the time needed to get ready. For a week, I was told not to eat any raw vegetables. No seeds, no nuts, and no granola. It was easier to eat deep-fried fish and French fries than a salad. I never realized how much salad and, nuts and raw veggies I eat. So off we went to Vancouver where I changed my diet and contemplated my upcoming appointment with the anal probe.

Our trip to the West Coast was a great break from the reality of our daily routine. I went to the Boat Show and rekindled my wife and my ten-year plan. The plan was to sell everything and live on a sailboat in the Gulf Islands in the summer and Big White in the winter. was it a plan, or merely a fantasy? 

Standing on the dock in Granville Island it felt more like a plan than a dream. Or at least a dream that could be made to come true. 

The key to any long-term plan would be to stay healthy for it.

There I sat in the waiting room, staring at sailboats online. Imagine traveling the world on a forty-foot yacht. I ignored the scramble in my stomach and twitch in my veins. What if they found something more sinister? Then what? We should have bought the Critical Illness insurance months ago, or maybe years ago… 

But everything would be fine. 

I hope.

The doctor came in before the colonoscopy and told me how everything would go. He said it was probably just hemorrhoids and not to worry. The only time I needed to be concerned was if he was in the room when I came too after the procedure. 

When I opened my eyes the doctor strolled into the room. My stomach sank. 

“Mr. Barr you have one area of the colon that is a little closed and tighter than we like to see, so I am sending you for a CT scan to have a closer look.” He stared down at me and continued, “It is probably just from your diverticulosis but I think we need a closer look to make sure, I don’t think it’s cancer but we need to be certain.”

His words pulsed through my head. I was still groggy from the sedation. Probably diverticulosis, it made sense but the fact they wanted to do more tests made my hands sweat and my stomach churn. 

More tests.

I’m sure it’s nothing but a warning shot across my bow. It is time to change my life. Time to get healthy. Time is all I have and I need to make the most of it.

Categories: Daily Journal


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