My colonoscopy experience: A gastroenterologist gets some of his own medicine -- Part 3 of 3

Posted by David Farrar MD
March 19, 2013

Part Three: The colonoscopy

When it was time to walk to the procedure room, I tried to give my nurses and Dr. Sawhney a hard time, to lighten the mood. These are all my friends looking at me on the table when I am usually the one performing the test. It was just an odd feeling. Once I got the medications for sedation though, I was out.

My next memory was Dr. Sawhney asking, “Hey, Dave.  What would you do with this? Would you tattoo it?” Uh-oh. Tattooing means either he found cancer or a big polyp. This is done to mark the location of the polyp. I rose up my head and first saw Melissa, my GI technician, looking far more wide-eyed than usual. Then I looked at the TV screen, and fortunately it was only a polyp. It was a big polyp, but it looked fairly easy to take out through the scope. All I could think was, “Wow. I’m really glad I had this colonoscopy.”

Looking at it more closely, it would be the type that would turn into cancer in the long run. I replied to him that I wouldn’t tattoo the polyp because we knew the location and it looked resectable. My last memory of my colonoscopy was Dr. Sawhney saying, “OK, we’re tattooing it, and give him two more milligrams of Versed.” Versed is used to induce drowsiness. Apparently, he didn’t need any more of my opinions.

The rest of the morning was a blur. I have brief memories of meeting people and then periods of time with no memory. I have a vague memory of calling my parents while Janie was driving me home, telling them I had a big polyp removed.

Overall, I had five polyps, but it was the one big one that scared me. That bigger polyp very likely would have turned into a cancer before I would have had a colonoscopy at the normal age of 50. In a way, I’m strangely thankful my dad was diagnosed with cancer when he was, because otherwise I never would have had the colonoscopy that early in life. 

Not everyone has an easy time with their colonoscopy, but for me, it was painless. Prepping wasn’t fun, but it really wasn’t that bad. I get to do it all over again in three years thanks to my bigger polyp, but it’s worth it. According to the studies, a person’s risk of colon cancer is 5 percent if you don’t have a screening—that’s one out of twenty people. I probably would have been one of them. I encourage you, if you are due, to get screened.

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Comments (3)

This article was very helpful; I just had a colonoscopy a few days ago. I, too, was surprised to hear my doctor say something about a polyp (polypoid carpet) while I was walking up. I don't remember anything at all about the procedure, thank God. And I agree, the prep is no big deal. Just don't get dehydrated like I did -- take in those extra clear fluids (even if it makes you run to the bathroom even more.) Just awaiting biopsy results now. Wish me luck! Thanks, Jill

Jill Bowman - 05/02/2016

Thank you for giving us your side of the procedure. It is also great to see that you had it here at MCHS-Red Wing, rather than go elsewhere to avoid having it with your friends. That is a testimony in itself. We all know how great the doctors and nurses are... and now we see how confident a GI Specialist is in the GI Teams abilities.

Jess E - 03/22/2013

Way to step up Dave! Glad you had it early, You would be hard to replace! Terri Z

Terri Zemke - 03/19/2013

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