Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Shadow Of Your Well

Well, my well, actually. The days this spring have more sunny than not, a condition we welcome with open arms. The garden is loving it, the dog is loving it, and we are loving it.

Our real fake well casts a shadow on the walkway.

We've both been to visit the doctor for our twice annual checkups. There is nothing worrisome to report, thank goodness. And there's even a bright spot. I asked the doctor about colonoscopies (thank you Katie Couric), since I will turn fifty this year. He told me that they're not routine any more and that unless you have a family history of colon cancer, or some troubling symptoms, you don't need one.

Instead, there's a new test that's done using a stool sample. So much less invasive, so much less costly, and while it's still a relatively new procedure, he thinks it makes much more sense. And so do I! I should be getting a letter and questionnaire in the mail sometime in the next six months telling me all about it.

Right along with my letter from the A.A.R.P. If they can find me in France.

Now aren't you glad I told you all of that?


  1. You're very lucky! I have a very strong family history of colon cancer and polyps and I've had two colonoscopies already, one in the US and one here, starting when I was 30! They sure are a pain in the (ok ok, going for the cheap joke there!). Anyway, I'm glad they've come up with something less evasive for those that don't have the history!

  2. We get the same screening here if you're of a certain age, with a discreet cardboard testing kit sent through the mail.

    Let's just say I don't yet feel quite up to icing a cake.

  3. Congratulations for avoiding the colonoscopy!!

    May I ask you why you go for a twice annual checkup? Since you seem to be in good health, just one checkup wouldn't be enough?

    What's the A.A.R.P., by the way?

  4. isabelle, we go twice a year to get our prescriptions renewed (blood pressure, cholesterol). They're only good for 6 months, so we have to go back to the doctor twice a year. The AARP is the American Association of Retired Persons.

  5. ...and you can belong to the AARP whether you're retired or not. But you may have to be over 50.

  6. If only one person makes an appointment for a colonoscopy after reading your blog today, Walt, you will have done a very good deed! Thank you.


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  8. Walt, I just got my AARP invitation last week, too *LOL*.

    And.... I'm sorry, but I have to say that I'm amazed that in France, they're suggesting only doing the stool sample test. That prompted me to look into this online, because the stool sample test I knew of was considered very basic, and should not replace having a colonoscopy... now I see that there are two newer stool tests that are improved in accuracy, and at least one uses DNA testing. Still, from what I read today, though they are much more accurate than previous stool tests, they still don't have the accuracy of a colonoscopy. One article I read said that one advantage of the newer, non-invasive tests, is that more people might opt to have testing done, which might lead to information that could have them choose to get the more accurate colonoscopy.

    I guess that if there's no history in your family, every 5 years might be enough, but everyone definitely should have colonoscopies at some interval. My father had cancer of the cecum (which is, apparently, way up at the very top end of the colon, next to the appendix). It would not have been discovered by either the original stool sample test, or the other test that only goes in to a certain distance into the colon. The colonoscopy probably saved his life... the cancer was in a very early and slow-growing stage, and so he didn't even need chemo, but, had it not been discovered with the colonoscopy, it probably wouldn't have been discovered until it had come to a very invasive and deadly level. The colonoscopy is a bit of an annoyance during the prep day, but, as Ken knows, the procedure itself is nothing at all, since you're completely out for it. I'm having my second one in July. Remember, Katie Couric's husband was only in his 40s!

    If anyone is interested, here are two very short reports about new testing (in English):

    from in 2007

    from a Dec. 2008 article


  9. Ah, Walt. We know you inside and out.

  10. whew....because I'll be 50 in three years or so....and was already dreading it! As for the well, I used to stare down my grandmothers all of the giant snails/slugs in it.....they were HUGE!

  11. I agree with Seine
    So far as I know, colonoscopies are still the main screening tool. As an MD I insist on them. That should tell you something.

  12. Good comments (and advice) all. Thanks!

  13. I love the video! I wish you had a rooster crowing in the background. Maybe Callie needs a companion;-)

  14. aarp just won't take no for an answer...greg gets several notices in the mail a year from them. give it up already, he's not interested!!

    i love the photograph of the shadow.


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