TMI: Healthcare & Tests


 I'm starting right off by saying this post is going to be about my recent mammogram and Cologuard experiences.  I'm sharing stuff you might not want to know about.  If you're curious keep reading.  If you are grossed out; I get it.  Stop right now and go look at some adorable cat photos or play Wordle if you haven't already today.  It's okay; I'm cool with it.

With that out of the way...

First up was the mammogram.  I am NOT a fan of getting the boobs squeezed, but it does need to be done annually.  The facility that I always go to is extremely professional and caring, which is why I do this every year without much thought.  If the experience were not positive, I think it would be a different story.  So hat's off to the facility.  Honestly, the most difficult part was filling everything out on line so that I didn't have to do it when I got there.  Uploading photos of my insurance card and the prescription was not as easy as I would have liked, but that is not to say it was difficult.  Once I got everything finished, the rest was simple.  Ninety minutes before my appointment I got a text.  Once I pulled into the parking lot I clicked the link in the text, answered a few quick questions and then was instructed to come in.  Wait time was less than 10 minutes.  Was brought to a cubicle where I changed, locked everything up and went right into the room to be squeezed.

I am short, so they really have to lower the machine, but I have no problems with whipping my boobs out for the technician and letting her "adjust" as needed.  It is NOT comfortable, but it isn't really painful.  Although I will say the "side view" causes more discomfort for me that the "straight up."  (Ladies I'm assuming you know what I mean.)  However, the whole thing is done quickly.  The whole process, including driving down to the facility and back, took less than an hour.  (Of course I'm only 10 or so minutes away from the place which makes it very convenient.)  So getting an annual mammogram for me is quick, easy and worth it.

Let's move from the boobs to the colon.  I am of the age (okay I am actual past the age) where I should be checked for colorectal cancer.  I have not had a colonoscopy and let me say that I am hesitant (even though I know it's important) for a couple of reasons:

  • The "prep":  Before I had my hysterectomy my doctor asked me to clean out my bowels.  Drinking the crap made me want to puke and I swear the container was huge.  I tried to get down as much as possible, but I could not do it all.  I thought it wasn't going to work (and the doctor actually said it was okay), but it did.  I'm sure all the "movement" wasn't fun, but I don't recall that.  What I do really was drinking the stuff and I thought that was almost worse than the actual hysterectomy.  That says something.
  • The procedure:  My mother had it done.  She had problems.  She woke up during the procedure.  She could feel things.  This freaks me the heck out and makes me very reluctant.

With that said, when I saw my doctor and she saw my hesitation, she recommended Cologuard.  I was willing to give this a try.  God knows I've seen enough commercials on tv for it.

 Let me say that Cologuard is on your case.  I received phone calls before AND after I received my package.  Obviously they want you to follow through and I get that.  

 The box they send you is medium sized and a little bit intimidating.   The patient guide is 30 pages long (in English and Spanish) and very detailed.  That is a good thing, but it is also a little off putting.  My thought were I had to read it, KNOW what I was going to do and then do it.  While there is no "prep" needed for this, I felt I needed to be prepped mentally.  Additionally, I wanted to make sure that I "did the deed" when I had a "quality" sample.  

 This morning I was ready.  Or at least my body seemed to be ready.  I pulled out the bracket and put it under the toilet seat.  I took the collection container, unscrewed the lid and put the container into the bracket.  Sat down and "adjusted" things.  My "problem" is that you are not supposed to pee while you are giving your sample and that's not easy (at least for me.)  (See there was a reason why I said this was a TMI post.)  I actually had to pull out the "assembly," try to squeeze out every last drop and then "reassemble" and go for it.  While this wasn't uncomfortable, it was a little awkward.  When you are finished you have to "disassemble."  Then you have to "scrape" the sample with a probe from a tube that is included in the box and seal the tube.  Then you take the collection container and fill it with a liquid that they have supplied.  (As per the instructions I didn't drink the liquid!  Who would?  Don't answer!) Then I sealed the collection container (hopefully as tightly as they wanted because...well even I don't want to think about that), labeled the container and the tube with name, date of birth, collection date and time (5:40ish AM if you want to know) and sealed it all back up into the box.  (So be careful when you open the box because you're going to need it to send back).  A return label is included (and all that information is in ANOTHER booklet, but this one is only 4 pages) so you can ship back (on their dime) to have all this fun stuff processed.  The whole process is relatively easy, but definitely a bit intimidating.  However, I'm thinking it's a LOT less scary than a colonoscopy (at least from my point of view.)

 Of course as I write this, the happy box is sitting on my front stoop waiting to be picked up by my UPS man.  I am confident that everything will go well and that I will get the results back that I want/expect.  (Or at least I'm pretending to be confident.  At this point I refuse to think about it.  I've got too much else going on in my life to obsess about positive/negative results.  Of course now that I've said it...you know I'm going to be obsessing.)

 So there you have it...my TMI adventures in boob and poop.  Perfect reading for a Monday, right?  If you've stayed with me this long, thank you and I'll try to make my next post less disgusting and more fluffy.  Just like this random kitty photo.





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