Your Friend – Gastrointestinal Procedures (Prevent Cancer)

image of colonoscopy

image of early colonoscopy cartoon

One Way to Prevent Cancer

Colon Cancer one of the characters in the “Big C” not a very pleasant topic… To those who have not reached the age where your health becomes a regular topic of discussion, please be patient with this post but also understand your day WILL come if you live long enough, so I encourage you to take the time to read this. It is strange how our view of things in life continue to change as we mature and grow older. I do not remember anyone talking about gastrointestinal (AKA GI) procedures e.g., colonoscopy (AKA lower GI) and endoscopy (AKA upper GI) until I was in my late 40’s. It is one of the luxuries of getting older since most recommendations are to start having this procedure to screen for colon cancer.

“Colonoscopy is routinely recommended to adults 50 years of age or older as part of a colorectal cancer screening program. Patients with a family history of colon or rectal cancer may have their colonoscopy at age 40.” {excerpt from American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons}

image of colonoscope


I do, however, remember my first experience/procedure which occurred at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto in June 2003, I was 51, after prepping me they wheeled me into the procedure room on a bed, the first thing that caught my eye upon entry was the colonoscopes on the wall on the left side of the room (they were approximately 6 feet long, I am 5′ 10″ {LOL, I realize the large intestine/colon is 1.5 meters or just under 5 feet long}; my thought was, OMGoodness!

“THAT’s going in ME through my ‘OUTPUT-ONLY‘ opening?”

image of do not enter sign

STOP, Wrong Way

I hope you know what I mean, the bile opening, my anus, the backdoor, it is for extractions only (my opinion), and I do not want anything entering THAT hole (LOL). No offense to those of you that enjoy that experience, I have made the choice to never go there, fortunately they sedated me before inserting the colonoscope so I did not feel the entry.

Colonoscopy and Polyps

They found and removed so many polyps that they scheduled a follow-up within a year later, June 16, 2004. Unfortunately, I did not correctly perform the colon cleansing process so they rescheduled the procedure for the following day. NOTE: It is extremely important that your colon is completely free of waste so they have a clear view of all areas and the surface of your colon. I had not heard of “flat polyps”, until I read the article (linked below) from the UofT MD Anderson Cancer Center, which can easily be overlooked if the colon is not clean.

“We really want to find those flat polyps because they tend to grow into cancer faster than any other polyp type,” Raju says. (excerpt from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center)

image of the gi system

Use preventive procedures

Upper and lower GI

June 17, 2004, once again, they are going into the “do not enter opening” and since I had experienced symptoms of acid reflux they were also performing an endoscopy, so I am getting it from both ends. By now I am beginning to understand the importance of routine visits with my physician(s) and practicing the use of preventive procedures but most of all doing things to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Many if not all of us can/will benefit from “early detection” of colorectal polyps/growths before they develop into cancer; THINK PREVENTION.

I was better prepared for the second colonoscopy and again they found and removed polyps, but they also discovered that I have diverticulosis. As a result of the acid reflux the endoscopy revealed severe problems with my esophagus so I had to come back in 4 months, August 5, 2004, for my second endoscopy to see if the prescribed medication did its job. They actually prescribed more meds and I am happy to report as of the date of this post, November 21, 2013, after implementing and maintaining healthier lifestyle choices which include the elimination of fried and greasy foods, I am “acid reflux” free. The colonoscopy follow-up was March 10, 2008; (I will refrain from providing details) the result was 2 “small” polyps were found and removed. This time the follow-up was scheduled 5 years later, I had my 4th colonoscopy at the age of 61 on Nov 12, 2013; now this is my “praise report”, for the first time they did not find any polyps I now have to focus on the fact that the diverticulosis has advanced to diverticulitis, time to increase fiber in my diet…the joys of getting older (two more blog ops ♥).

Painful or not

image of colonSome of you may have heard that the colonoscopy is painful, I can only say that after undergoing 4 procedures, only once did I experience any pain at all and no it was not when they inserted the colonoscope, it was during the process of maneuvering the colonoscope. Keep in mind there are a few places in the colon where the angles are 60-90 degrees (see the diagram) making those turns can cause discomfort.


If you have ever had the experience of witnessing someone go through the torment of cancer, believe me I will choose this discomfort while doctors are performing a procedure that can prevent cancer from developing any day. I have learned to always consider the consequential option.

Remember to: Think Prevention and stay healthy.

image of colonoscopy

Think Prevention!

A few questions to consider before making comments:

When did you have your first GI procedure? Would you have bypassed having a GI procedure, even though you have been advised to do so, if you had not read this post? If this was helpful or not in any way, PLEASE provide a comment.

To contact me directly please complete the following form, I promise to respond ASAP! Or if you prefer please provide a comment at the very end of the post, your feedback is extremely important, a rating (located above) is also helpful. Thank you for taking the time to read this, I am doing what I can to keep us informed primarily by sharing my experiences. Be blessed, Tim P. [contact-form subject='[Tim Pettiford%26#039;s Blog’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’This was helpful’ type=’checkbox’/][contact-field label=’Boring’ type=’checkbox’/][/contact-form] [polldaddy poll=7584386]


  1. Ann Pettiford

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I found this to be a very informative blog. I am 58 years of age and I have not yet had this procedure done. I do realize that i am 5 years in the rear…no pun
    However I must be honest I am not looking forward to this at all, but I do know that it is most important to have it done.
    Preventive measures are best when you think about the possibility of the big C (Cancer) which would be much worse!
    Removing a few polyps is easy in comparison.
    Well I am scheduled for June of next year and I may blog about my journey to the scope room. Until then I bid you continued healthy praise reports.

  2. Ann Pettiford

    Your graphs are very good for this blog!

  3. TimSerious

    Thank you for taking the time to read and provide feedback, I wish you a healthy and painless procedure! Love you


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