Today i went through my first check-up, that is a full bowels scan, and a colonoscopy, as well as a visit to the internals of my stomach.
The colonoscopy is preceded by a counter-intuitive diet: for three days (at least), you are supposed to leave out everything that is good for your health: green vegetables, fruits, fruit juices, everything that has fibres, or grains, such as grey or black bread, lentils, beans, pineapple etc.
The only allowed foods are lean meats, white bread, pasta and rice (white, no sauces). The idea is that you need to come to the colonoscopy entirely empty, and fibres will cling to your bowels, thus preventing the doctor who will insert a tube in your internals to se your insides in all their glory!
After three days of that diet, the evening before the exam, you have to drink a product that will , how can i say that gently, facilitate the emptying of your bowels, up to level 0, that is cleaner than clean!
A year ago, it was an argyle tasting white powder that needed to be dissolved in a glass of water, helped with a litre or more of said water. Bad taste, no reaction for half an hour and then, bam, tourista!.
This time around it was another product, thankfully with some citrus acid on top, giving it a mild lemon taste, and no unpleasant after-taste. A first sachet led to nothing at all, and one and a half litre of water later, i opened the second sachet and drank it with magnesium reinforced water, around 20:30, and that one started to work. Around 9PM, the bathroom calls started to come, and the bowels started to empty.
4 or 5 visits later, exhausted but still vulnerable, i had an additional visit during the night, with results more and more watery, and the colour getting clearer and clearer, until, in the morning, it was close to transparent.
From midnight, you're not supposed to even drink more water, which after 3 litres in 3 hours is more of a relief than a punishment, and of course nothing treat either, before the colonoscopy.
Which basically is that a doctor is going to introduce from your anus a very long cable, with a camera at the end, including also a small pair of scissors, and shove it up your rear entrance.
This is done in good fun, and under a light but total anaesthesia, thank god!
Having lost about two pounds or close to one kilo in 24 hours, and close to my pre-operation weight, finally, i had to wait a couple of hours in the clinic before i was invited to follow the nurse, and go to the operating room, where i was hooked to a number of cables, measuring the pulse, the blood pressure etc, as well as a couple of tubes in my nose, to feed oxygen. I got a small catheter in my left arm, for the sleeping shot, was asked to turn on my left side to present my rear perspective, and was sent under, but not before i talked to the doctor and saw the black cable he was about to send out on its journey into my personal innards.
I know some people complain of unease or even limited pain after such a procedure, but after two occurrences, i have to admit it has always been painless, and rather fast. So i woke up in my hospital bed, and was able to move around and dress up very quickly.
The doctor invited me for a small talk, and concluded that his 40 minutes visit to the inner bowels of myself were uneventful, everything was fine, no strange flesh formations, and in particular no new polyps.
So, on that conclusion that i was perfectly fine, despite a small inflammation of the digestive track that could either be due to a microbe, or a result of the chemotherapy, i was allowed to go home, and finally put my teeth into something tangible, after around 24 hours without any solid food.
Next week we should have the result of the biopsy undertaken, and see whether something needs to be done at anti-biotic level, or not.
The next similar check-up will take place in six months from now, but everybody seems very optimistic now.
So, gone baby gone! In a couple of weeks i'll be able to celebrate another birthday...and i'm very grateful. You all out there, ailing or worrying, hang on, then we'll hang out. Together.