Admitting that you are afraid is half the battle

VA Medical Center in Long Beach, California
VA Medical Center in Long Beach, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been encountering the “ick factor” lately regarding my upcoming colonoscopy at the Veterans Administration. If I conducted a poll of my readers I would probably find fewer than 5 who would declare that having a colonoscopy or a pap smear ranked among their most favorite things to do. You know, right behind shopping for spring outfits and swimming. Neither one of these procedures were included in that wonderful song My Favorite Things.

And yet both of them are so vital to our survival. It’s so much better to have a pap smear or a mammogram if you’re a woman. However, after having said that, there is always a risk of a false positive or negative result from early detection. However, with me, all I could think about in terms of a colonoscopy was pain,  violation and ick all accompanied by a loss of control. These thing led me to cancelling a couple of appointments with the VA.

But finally I decided this year would be  different. I called the VA and after some prodding secured an appointment. By this same time on Thursday it will all be over. Today I spent a few nervous moments preparing myself. This included listening to instructions from a medical professional about the preparations I must do tomorrow. I will be filling myself up with a lot of liquid, taking some strange pills and spending a lot of time near the bathroom. They recommended having a driver bring me to and from the hospital

After calling and emailing I found 2 people willing to volunteer. While thanking the helper I did not choose I mentioned how unnerved I felt about going through this in the first place. His response was very comforting. He had one a few years back and was told his colon was in great shape. Moreover he described the procedure as being painless. I also texted back with my significant other and she volunteer to come over after the colonoscopy to offer comfort and perhaps prepare a meal. I was told I will probably be groggy and not a good risk at the stove.

So I have two helpers who understand that I have fear. And I have my conscious mind urging me on. “You can do this, Kenyatta. We’ve got your back.” Indeed, I shall.


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