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Sunday, October 30, 2016

DODGING THE BIG "C"

Over the years, I have taken pride and satisfaction in the results and change this blog has brought about. With this posting today, if just one person is affected, it will all be well worth it.

My health problems over the past two years have been no  secret. Anything I can do to prevent people from going through the same things I have faced will be well worth it.

This past Monday morning I noticed I was bleeding internally, I will spare you the details, but it was a warning sign that couldn't be ignored. So back to my new vacation home, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

The preliminary assessment was that I was definitely bleeding internally and losing enough blood that my blood counts and red cells were very low. I was admitted and the the process began to find out why and where I was bleeding.

Die to my previous strokes and my October heart attack, the blood thinners I am on became an issue, especially the Plavix. Normally from what I was told, to be safe they had to wait at least 5 days for the Plavix to get out of my system before any procedures that could cause bleeding.

Luckily my cardiologist , Doctor Thomas Freund impresses me more and more every time I deal with him. H recalled hearing of a new study that involved a platelet mapping study to gauge the level of Plavix left in my blood, That result was critical before any endoscopy or colonoscopy could be performed to look for the source of the bleeding

Doctor Freund's knowledge, and the completion  of the platelet mapping test moved the endoscopy and the colonoscopy up by several days. Thus the source of the bleeding could be located, hopefully, several days sooner and the healing process could begin sooner.

I was given a blood transfusion on Wednesday, That was an interesting process. Just the thought of having something that potentially could save your life ,being pumped into your body from a donor you have never met is a strange feeling. My heartfelt thanks to all the people out there that take the time to roll up their sleeves and donate blood.

After the platelet mapping study and the blood transfusion, it was determined that it was safe to schedule the endoscopy and the colonoscopy.The endoscopy was to determine if the blood was coming from my upper GI tract and the colonoscopy was to look for blood sources i the lower half.

Before I get too far ahead, let me just sing the praises of the Doctor's and Nursing staff at Saint Francis. A  far as my day to day care while I was hospitalized, Doctor John Hanna has my voted for doctor of the year. His willingness to listen, pay attention to what I was telling him and then take the time to explain everything in depth until I was comfortable ,was a huge comfort, and he truly seemed like he cared . Thank you Doctor Hanna.

Now here is the part I hope everyone pays attention to.

My colonoscopy and endoscopy were  scheduled together for Friday at 11:00am. I was a nervous wreck, thinking the worst,  but tee was not much I could do at this point now, just deal with it.The process , which was supposed to take about 45 minutes, ended up taking a little over two hours.

Another great team of Saint Francis doctors, Dr. Kang and Dr. Shaumberg, who performed the procedures, had an emergency procedure immediately after mine,, so their report to me was delayed. Later that evening they came to my room with the results. I was a very lucky man. They had apparently been able to identify and stop the bleeding, from both ends.Several polyps were found and removed during the colonoscopy.One of them was rather large and contributing to large amount of my bleeding internally. It was removed and the bleeders were "clamped" off. Apparently the growth was definitely pre-cancerous and will be tested for any cancer cells. At the very least it was identified and removed.

And here is the part to pay attention to. If I had not paid attention to the bleeding, which I admit would have been hard to ignore. I would not have had the colonoscopy, and 6 months to a year from now I would be dealing with a diagnosis of colon cancer.

COLON CANCER IS PREVENTABLE AND TREATABLE WHEN FOUND EARLY. Do not be afraid of the colonoscopy. The prepararation is still uncomfortable. I will admit that, but it has gotten better. Two 32 ounces of Gatorade mixed with the the powder and two small pills you swallow beginning the night before the procedure 32 ounces at 6PM and 32 ounces at 6AM

Check with your doctor, but if you are over 50, younger if there is a history of Colon Cancer  in your family, get scheduled for a colonoscopy.It is much better than the alternative of  a diagnosis of colon cancer.

And a few special thanks. First and most importantly to my Mother, my rock and my support  during these adventures. I love you Mom. To my sister Sheryl who understands the importance of family even with her own family to care for. She has sat by my side for more hours than I care to think of during difficult times.  And Sheryl thank you for being there for Mom also as  she worries about me

And to all the people that  have called, e-mailed and come in to visit me, It means more than I can ever say to know caring people are there to support me. My good friend Len Besthoff, Hartford Fire Chief Reggie Freeman, my State Rep  Doug McCrory , Judge Bob Killian and several others that took the time to stop in, Mike, Theresa, John, Thank You

And a special thanks to my friends at HPD. When I found out late Thursday that I was scheduled for Fridays procedures, I needed to start the Gatorade prep. The hospital doesn't stock Gatorade and I needed to get two bottles. I made arrangements with a buddy at HPD to bring me some after his shift. Apparently the word got out, and not only did I get the original two bottles of Gatorade, but by the end of the night, I had enough orange Gatorade to open a convenience store in my room Thank you guys.

So thank you all, and for anyone reading this get a colonoscopy if you are at the age, it may just save your life

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Get well soon, Kevin. Now we know why there weren't any new blog from you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding people that prevention and regular tests are so important! Glad to hear you are on the mend and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Anonymous said...

Get well soon. Your blog is a diamond in the rough.

Donna Sodipo said...

When I checked your blog and saw it wasn't updated; I begin to worry! Wishing you a speedy recovery sir. Thank you for all you do!

General Grievous said...

What he said, times 10.

Everyone should be tested at age 50, then every 10 years if clean, else every 5 years. Earlier if there is family history, your physician will advise. Early detection is a life saver, many cancers are preventable.

Get well soon.

Anonymous said...

Get better! By the way, is Olga retiring?

amer Habibovic1 said...

Get well soon Kevin..I read your blog religiously. Its unfortunate that people like you are so rare. Give it to people straight and informative. Thank you

Barbara Jones said...

Thank you, sir, for sharing your story. I was terrified of a colonoscopy just by reading the procedure process.

My uncle had one and ended up in the hospital, a convalescent home, and his life ended shortly after that.

It seems as if surgeon do the colonoscopy, they always find polyps. I am over 60 and have never had one. Your story has convenience me that because I am a high risk, I better have one.

Agan thank you, and I hope you feel better soon. I love your blog, it keeps me informed of Hartford straight no chaser.

Barbara A. Jones


KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

The prep is the worst part, no way of denying that, but finding and removing polyps is routine and far better than identifying cancerous tumors too late

Tillett for Connecticut said...

So glad to hear that you are on the mend, I think everyone gets a little worried about you when we don't see a post for a few days.
Yes it is good advice for everyone to get checked because early detection is key for treatment success if they find something. My husband would agree with you about the Prep Part being the worst part drinking that stuff & not being able to eat so the system gets cleaned out.