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