I’m Scared To Have A Colonoscopy

Question: Dear Luise: I know before I even begin to write this that it is going to sound really petty, yet it has me all churned up. My doctor wants me to have a procedure called a colonoscopy because my sister died of colon cancer and he sees me as high risk. I have really tried to get myself to do this, and I even got as far as scheduling it, once. However five years later, we are still having this dialogue with no progress on my part. I get data about it every year when I have my physical that tells me how many people perforate and die of hemorrhage, blah, blah, blah and since I am perfectly healthy I don’t see the sense in doing it. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right? Thanks for listening. I’m a nurse and I feel like such a wimp. Liz

Answer: Dear Liz: First of all, I know a lot of people who have had this procedure done, myself included, and I’ve never heard anyone say that it sounded like fun and they were looking forward to the experience. Until I had it done myself, the stories about the “clean-out” before the procedure were enough to stop me in my tracks by themselves. Secondly, isn’t it possible that you wrote to me for encouragement because you feel you need to do this, not to get agreement regarding continuing to pass on it?

I know doctors probably have to publish those statistics about how many people don’t live though a colonoscopy for legal reasons, but really, let’s think about that. Have you seen the statistics on how many people leave home to make a run to the store in their cars and never return? If you did, and let that stop you, what would you do for groceries? Statistics are always daunting because if it’s only one in a million, you could be that one! Many of us hate flying because it looks so dangerous but we don’t give a thought about driving to the airport, which, statistically, is much more dangerous.

I would suggest that you just take yourself in hand and do it. It’s about the possibility of your stacking the odds in your favor…so isn’t that another statistic? Let’s pick the ones we like and ignore the rest. Blessings, Luise

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