I had a colonoscopy many years ago. It was the single most painful experience of my life. I swore I’d never have another.
Then I turned fifty.
The doctor wanted to schedule a colonoscopy, but I refused. I said I would do the Cologuard test, as it is non-invasive and only metaphorically a pain in the ass. In truth, it was pretty disgusting.
After about a month, I get a call from my doctor. The test came back positive. Now I have to have a colonoscopy anyway. Not only do I have to get a colonoscopy, but now I have to wonder what’s wrong with my colon before I get it. The test isn’t specific. Other than detecting abnormal DNA, it doesn’t really tell you anything. It could be a false result. It could be precancerous cells. It could be cancerous cells. It could be full-blown stage four colon cancer.
If I’d manned up and just gotten the damn colonoscopy, I wouldn’t have to wait and wonder what’s wrong. Maybe I’d have to wait for a biopsy. I’m not really clear on that point. Whichever it is, it extends the amount of time I have to wait for a diagnosis.
One thing I know I have is Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I’m always waiting for the ax to fall. I’m anxious about driving. I’m anxious that the power will go out during a snowstorm. I’m anxious in the waiting room at the place where I go to talk about my anxiety. Those anxieties are more abstract, though. This particular ax hanging over my head has a sharp edge on it.
Despite the low expectations to which I hold myself, I’m managing to control my anxiety about this. I go for minutes, even hours without thinking about it. I feel like it’s going to be okay — for now.