This day ended up becoming pretty chaotic. I had taken the day off from work to get the colonoscopy done, and I was glad if not excited that this was the very last doctors appointment I had before I could call myself 100% healthy. I was also really proud of myself because I had taken my health seriously, and gone through both the yearly physical (which I had not done for 4 or 5 years), and now the colonoscopy.
One of the nurses takes me into the prep area (the same as the wake up area). She hands me a gown, and assigns me a bed / area. She gives me instructions on how to put it on, and leaves, so I can put it on in privacy. (basically take off pants and underpants, put on the gown with the opening facing backwards). I do this and open the curtain back up and lie down on the bed. The nurse comes back, she takes my blood pressure, temperature etc. We talk about our kids, and how you as a parent have a hard time motivating them for school when they are in the high school age. A bit later another nurse comes in to set up an IV for the anesthesia, and in the 3rd attempt he finally finds a vein that works. I am now ready to go, and on time for the procedure, I am rolled into the surgery room.
The nurse activated the anesthesia, and the doctor started the colonoscopy procedure. I did not really follow along on the screen, in part because of the anesthesia, in part, because I had not eaten for 24 hours and this made it a convenient time to just relax and see if I could rest my energy.
What you see here is a cancer, the doctor said, pretty much immediately after he had started the procedure. I did not react, I kind of went in and out of sleep. A few moments later, he said, here it is again, the cancer. I asked: “Did you say cancer?”. At the same time I was watching something that looked like a 5 cm white sausage with blood all over it. Yes, the doctor said, this is a cancer. I did not think too much of it right there (because of the anesthesia, I have never been given anesthesia before, so I did not know how much it had affected me). I was aware that I was in the middle of a colonoscopy, I of course knew that cancer means cancer and that this is not good news, but I was so relaxed by the anesthesia that I did not react at all.
Ten minutes later, I was rolled out into the wake up area, and immediately started to get conscious. I felt fine, I thought that the procedure had taken 5 minutes, and asked the nurse if the doctor really had scanned the entire colon (I knew it should take roughly half an hour), she smiled and said that he absolutely did. I start thinking. Hmmm… Cancer. Damn, this is not good news. As mentioned I feel absolutely awake now, and despite the staff telling me over and over again that the anesthesia will affect me for the next couple of hours, I judge myself to be 100% awake and aware. I start feeling the need to talk to someone close to me, and I pick up my phone and call my wife that currently is living in Denmark, 5,000 miles away. I think it is 9 pm there, but she picks up. She knew about the procedure, and I tell her that it was not hard, it went pretty smooth, except for that the doctor found a cancer. I tell her this as if I was discussing a parking ticket. Something inside of me says that this is bad, but I have not yet realized the consequences of this piece of news that I had just received. We talk a little about it, and since we do not know anything about colon cancer (I do not even know that this is called colorectal cancer), we agree on that I call her back after I have talked to the doctor.
The doctor comes back, and explains that I will have to see two other doctors, one that he has already scheduled an appointment with, and another one that I should schedule an appointment with for next week, when the results have come back. I tell him that I will, and ask if the white sausage we saw on the screen was the cancer, and he said yes. He also informs me that now his role in this has finished, and going forward, it will be the other doctors that I will need to see. I thank him, and keep resting in the wake up area. The nurse have put a robot on me that takes my blood pressure every 5 minutes, and the nurse refuse to let me leave until they have monitored this for a while. Strong-willed as I am and also so sure of my own ability to handle everything, I had not as I was asked to, arranged for a friend to pick me up, but rather depended on an Uber car. I don’t know what I was thinking. They are the experts, and I completely ignored their advice / recommendation. Anyway, after 22 measurements of my blood pressure, and roughly 2 hours of rest, they remove the IV, and agree to roll me in a wheelchair to the parking lot, where the Uber car will pick me up. The driver signs a release form right away (What? Hmmm… He must have tried this before), and he takes me home. Back at home, I am so stricken by these news, that I keep switching between walking back and forth, and sitting at the computer, researching what the news about the cancer really means.