Saturday, November 14, 2009


Today’s email from my sister Sydney told me that Halloween was over and it was time for the blog to move on.  Has it been THAT long??  I checked: Yes.

Fall flowers When we lived in a sticks-n-bricks home, I did the normal, post-middle-aged female medical routine: a couple visits per year to the dentist, annual OB/GYN, annual mammogram, annual physical checkup with blood work.  How’s that cholesterol?  How about blood sugar, and blood pressure? Osteoporosis yet?  A visit to the dermatologist (skin cancer in the family) every couple years.  And each year of the past nine years, my doctor has recommended (increasingly strongly) a colonoscopy, which I had no intention of pursuing.

As full-timers who return to our ex-hometown for a month each year, we condense those annual visits into the first two weeks after we hit town.  My personal schedule for the past two weeks in Sacramento went: pick up the lab slip for required blood work, visit lab for blood work, visit OB/GYN, visit dermatologist, visit dentist, go for colonoscopy consultation (watch a video!), cleanse my colon of even the memory of food, have colonoscopy (!), annual physical checkup, annual mammogram.  It feels a little bit like being a science animal… something poking you almost every day.  Except for my ears, each orifice has been thoroughly examined.

And, yes, I finally did the colonscopy.  Why?  Well, Odel had one done before his radiation treatments began a year ago, so I felt somewhat wimpy.  Then I read Dave Barry’s HILARIOUS column about getting a colonoscopy, “A Journey Into My Colon – And Yours”.  It didn’t seem so bad when I was laughing so hard.   While I was still in good humor, I called my doctor for a referral and – next thing I knew – I had made the commitment.

French Toast for breakfastFor you undecideds who know you SHOULD have a colonoscopy but haven’t so far: it was not NEARLY as horrible as I imagined.  I’ve never worried about the procedure; like most people, I worried about the preparation and cleansing.  Yes, it tastes icky and yes, the effects are dramatic – but it is do-able with the focused application of willpower (oh, so easy to say this when I don’t need another one for 10 years).

I was mostly out through the procedure, but did awaken enough to watch 10 minutes or so of my colon’s exploration on TV, and I have a portfolio of 12 photographs (each labeled with the name of the particular area of the colon: cecum, appendix opening, IC Valve, etc. – very educational) to admire.  I wonder how long it will be before they begin providing a full, narrated video on DVD?

So, that all ate up some of my usual blogging time.  And then there were the computers…

A couple weeks ago, I wrote that I was over the hump on setting up the new computer.  In the midst of all the medical stuff, Odel and I visited a nearby Best Buy one day to “think about” buying a second computer… we didn’t want to share any longer.  On that particular day, a laptop that was PERFECT as a second machine was on sale, ONE DAY ONLY, $100 off the usual price.  We bought it… so between medical appointments and worrying about the colonoscopy, I worked on computers some more.  Most of the setup went smoothly, but occasionally the thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair listening to a drill sounded like a relaxing alternative. 

The Curley Family (my sister Nancy second from left) at breakfast. Now both computers are working (and I have found Windows 7 to be very easy to use, with some great features), we have a router set up for our own little wireless network, the worst of the medical appointments are over, and we’re getting into the fun, social aspects of our month-long visit.  This morning, our day began with breakfast at a new restaurant with my sister Nancy and her family, then she and I took off for shopping at a holiday arts and crafts show, followed by pedicures – an excellent antidote to the last two weeks!


  1. You got a training movie! All I got was an appointment.

    But I agree with you about getting it done. I put mine off almost three years and wish I hadn't (I could have put that nagging feeling that I ought to be getting it done out of my mind.)

    Since you don't have to be back in 10 years, I assume you were, ahem, clear. Congratulations.

  2. Glad you are back blogging Laurie--we've missed you. Maybe (MAYBE) I will get that colonoscopy and then again maybe not. I do all the other stuff, isn't that good enough??

  3. Man! Didn't I have enough people nagging me to get it done? :) Maybe next year. Although from what I hear I need to schedule it now to get in next summer.

    Anyway, it's good to have you back. I missed you.

  4. Janna (or is it Mike?)... "I do all the other stuff, isn't that good enough?" Those were my thoughts exactly. And the answer might be YES! Unfortunately, you don't know until you do it.

    When Odel was undergoing radiation for prostate cancer, I spent a lot of time thinking about the importance of good health to everyone, but especially to full-timers. You usually are not near "your" doctors, and may have to search out new ones in an unknown place. Your wanderin' ways may come to a screeching halt for awhile, perhaps in a place far from you support system. Lots of downside!

    While waiting for Odel to complete a treatment one day, I met another woman in the waiting room. She revealed to me that she had colon cancer around 20 years ago. It took surgery, radiation and chemo to "cure" it - a total of 3 years of treatment and recovery.

    I thought of all of this as I weighed "I do all the other stuff". Twenty four hours max of prep, procedure and recovery vs. all the fear and inconvenience of undiagnosed colon cancer - I decided the trade-off was worth it. I agree with Lee - it is GREAT to get rid of that nagging feeling! Just DO it. :)