Once we hit 45, one common refrain we can expect to hear at the doctor's office is, “You need to get a colonoscopy.” The thought of getting a colonoscopy often makes people cringe—it seems painful, embarrassing and, yes, even gross. And yet, a colonoscopy is one of the most important things that you can do for your long-term health. The experience isn't as bad as you might think. Learn about the experience had by the Kelsey family and think about scheduling your colonoscopy today.
When Martin decided, at the age of 35, to schedule a colonoscopy, he wasn't just getting an early start on preventative screenings, he was making a deeply personal decision to ensure he was healthy—both for himself and for his family. “After my dad was diagnosed with rectal cancer at the age of 50,” Martin says, “my doctors suggested that I get a colonoscopy earlier than is normally suggested. And also, I felt a sense of responsibility—to make sure that I stay around as long as I can, and not only for my own family, but for my brothers and sisters as well.”
Martin's dad died earlier this year from rectal cancer, so when Martin's birthday rolled around, both Martin's wife, and his mother, Jeannine, an Emergency Room Nurse at Door County Medical Center, made sure he scheduled the procedure. “Something that my husband always did with our kids was really hammer home the importance of getting a colonoscopy,” Martin's mother Jeannine says, adding, “It's so important, and such a small thing to go through.”
Unfortunately, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, all elective procedures, including Martin's, were postponed. But, as soon as the colonoscopy could be rescheduled, it was, and Martin was surprised by how simple the procedure was. “It was really pretty straightforward,” Martin notes, “I woke up. I couldn't eat or drink anything, so I was a little cranky. I arrived at the hospital and went straight up to the room. I filled out a couple of small forms. They wheeled me into the procedure room. They gave me the medicine to prepare me for the procedure, and then I woke up when they were finished.”
“Dr. Melarvie found three polyps that he felt needed to be removed,” Martin says, adding, “Out of the three polyps, two of them were definitely precancerous. If they had been allowed to grow for another extended period of time, I definitely would have had to go through the same uphill battle that my dad did.”
As an Emergency Room Nurse at DCMC, Jeannine knows that some in the community might be hesitant to schedule any type of test or elective procedure at the hospital right now due to fears of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. “But, right now,” she assures, “don't put needed medical exams and procedures off because of COVID-19. Door County Medical Center has it completely taken care of. They will do everything they possibly can to make sure that your needs and procedures are taken care of properly.”
“As soon as you walk in,” Martin adds, “you see the stations that are set up to make sure you're screened and tested. It's clear there isn't any chance you're going to have a problem with the coronavirus. So, there isn't any reason to put anything off—it's time to come in and get it done.”
“And once you have those results,” Jeannine continues, “you know maybe every three years you need to go and get checked. Colon cancer is one of those diseases that, if it is found early enough, you do not have to go through what my husband went through. If he had been checked earlier, he might be here today.”