Monday, 26 January 2009

Poo Sticks!

If you're thinking that this is a post about A.A. Milne's story about Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh's game of throwing wooden sticks on the upstream side of a bridge and seeing whose stick passes under it first, think again. It's not! We're moving in a totally different direction and adding a whole new dimension and different spelling to the phrase Pooh Sticks.

A few days ago I received a letter in the post from the NHS. Crumbs I thought, time for the dreaded mammogram or smear test. Amazing how fast they come around. Unfortunately they're both due in the next few weeks and I'm trying to psyche myself up for them. However it wasn't. It was to inform me I was about to be invited to take part in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and that I would shortly be receiving a package in the post.

Apparently:

  • About one in 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime.
  • It is the third most common cancer in the UK
  • It's the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with over 16,000 people dying from it each year

The idea is that the tests pick up problems in people who have no syptoms.

The package duly came and included a test kit with full graphic instructions on how to use it. I won't go into detail but suffice to say it includes 6 cardboard sticks which have to be used for samples of you can guess what, on 3 separate dates. As if once wasn't bad enough!

Then I have to send it off to be tested. Thank goodness. I thought it was a DIY kit and I might have to do that too. The letter says I'll receive the results within a week. Pretty amazing really!

If there are any problems with the results I may have to repeat the test or go for a colonoscopy. I remember Pam's posting about her "dreaded procedure" so I'm hoping I don't have to do either. However if I do hopefully it will detect any problems early.

Now what else can they test us for? The mind boggles but I have to admit at least they're trying.

19 comments:

  1. That part is the easy part. I had done this every year for some time, no problems involved, except you are suppose to watch the diet (certain foods you should avoid) during the testing.

    Then on one of the test, they called me at work and said the doctor wants to see me, I say why, having forgotten about the test. Nurse said you have blood in the stool sample, and I said could it be hemorrhoids? She said no, this is a different type of blood and it was in all three days. So I go in to the office and they explain how I will have to clean myself out and etc. I do, go back and they do something called a flexible sig in the office. Everything is going along ok, when I hear my doctor say (under his breath) oh my god, and I'm thinking what?? So then the nurse takes a look, comes back around and stands there patting my wrist and I'm thinking what? Doctor swings his little stool he's sitting on around to my side and says, I don't know what it is, but it's a mass of something that will need to be taken care of right away. Then he proceeds to explain if it's cancer and if it's here, or there what they would do. I'm thinking, let's find out first what it is. Two days later I'm in having the colonoscopy done by a specialist. I had a polyp the size of a golf ball. It would get twisted and bleed. They removed it, tested it, it was nothing. Thank goodness. Then I had to have one every year for about five years, then they started going about three years between. Actually the proceedure is a breeze, it's drinking all of that crap so you will crap and get cleaned out that is the worse part and you want to make sure you are clean, so they can see what they are looking for and not have to go back and go through it the second time.

    Good luck, I'll be thinking about you.

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  2. Oh my I saw this title and just knew it wasn't going be about Christopher Robin LOL! Too funny, but also as you say good old NHS! Over here it's pretty much mandatory to have a colonoscopy around 50 for everyone. The Hubster has so far escaped, but I think is his 53rd year he might be about to run out of luck! Hope it all comes back clear.

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  3. Oh, yes, the old poo stick. I did that a few months ago, and my test results came back fine. I hope all well be well with you also.

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  4. I'd rather do the poo sticks. Doctor wanted me to have a colonoscopy 2 years ago and I never have scheduled it. In fact I haven't been back to the doctor either.

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  5. All of this is not a fun thing and I was told to come back in 10 years. They will have to catch me.
    patsy

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  6. dh turned 50 this past year, so our doctor told him it was time to have a colonoscopy, somehow dh managed to persuade the doctor otherwise. Dh has done the poo on the stick thing a couple of times, totally grosses me out, but imagine what it must be like for the lab tech???

    I hope it comes back okay for you.

    I have a feeling the doctor will be after me for a mammogram this year, but he can go whistle, that hurts!!!!

    Gill in Canada

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  7. Thanks for all your good wishes.

    Patty that must have been awful for you. The booklet is quite good and does say that if they find blood it's not necessarily cancer it could be due to other things such as a polyp.

    Bowel cancer is one that they have good rates of cure with especially if they catch it early.

    Well I'll go for all the tests, rather that than finding problems later. The mammogram isn't as bad as having my teeth cleaned by the dental hygienist. It just nips for a few seconds. It's the waiting for the results and then opening the envelope that's the worst bit.

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  8. What will they think of next? Isn't it fun getting older and getting poked and prodded. I'll be turning 50 this year so I guess I have something else to look forward to! Good luck.

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  9. At least you get tested there..in Ireland there is no NHS...you have to pay for everything and so most dont get it done.
    Bowel cancer is an awful thing and I think the test is brilliant. I had a mammogram this year..nips for about 3 seconds..nothing majoy.
    Love the title of this posting adn I think you have written it brilliantly..made me giggle (yes I know..I am a big kid lol)

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  10. Too funny! ANd at least they will catch problems early on! Good luck!
    Kris

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  11. I had never heard of these Pooh Sticks..ha ha. I did however do the colonoscopy and the other one where they look down the throat. These things are comical in a disgusting sort of way. If they weren't so expensive I would have every early detection test they make.

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  12. No one should die of Colon cancer, it is totally curable if detected early. Having a Colonoscopy starting at age 50 is the best thing you can do to avoid what could be a horrible medical situation. It isn't the most pleasant experience, but the alternative in unimaginable. The colonoscopy is the most accurate test for detecting Colon Cancer, far more accurate than the stick or a Sigmoidoscopy. The rule of thumb in America is... starting at age 50 have your first Colonoscopy, and if there is no evidence of cancer the recommendation is repeat the procedure at age 60. The exception would be family history then you may need to have one more frequently. I have to have one this year, and will gladly put up with the inconvenience, and minor discomfort. I might add that it is a silent killer, by the time most people have pain or symptoms the cancer is well advanced and frequently incurable. Chemo, surgery, etc.. is not my idea of a good time. My advise is be prudent, call your Doctor and demand he order a Colonoscopy for you. Last but not least, my Uncle John died a miserable death (Colon Cancer) at age 60. I'll say no more.

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  13. Oh, I think you've opened Pandora's Box on this topic. So sorry to read about all these sad stories. Cancer is such a brute. I pray for everyone who has been touched by it, here.

    I'd rather do the D.I.Y. than have to undergo testing in a clinic. I'll be 50 in a couple of years and am sooo looking forward to my first colonoscopy! (no, apparently now there's a home test for this as well - here, in Canada anyway). I think I'll send away for one and give it to my hubby on his 49th birthday.

    I much prefer "Pooh Sticks" the story - it makes me cry with laughter!

    Kat

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  14. Its wise to be checked although no fun. When I had my colonoscopy last year, the doc went into my small intestine I'm pretty sure....and I had a muscle 'blow out'near my waist! but went back in. It felt like a balloon blowing up and deflating and if it hadn't deflated I'd of had to have to have emergency surgery. That area still gives me uncomfortable pangs once in a while. So, if you have a colen....make sure they stay in the large intestine. Thats my 2 cents worth!

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  15. I love your blog, but I don't know why I'm here, except Cloody says I must comment. I'm sorry I don't speak Poo.
    When you follow a tough act I guess I'll just say," Me Too".

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  16. I'd take a poo stick any day. My results came back from my colonoscopy. I did have two benign polyps and have to repeat the test in three years. That's not bad. It is so worth it all to have the peace of mind.

    I've just had a stress test, nuclear stress test, and Monday I'll have an endoscopy. OH the joys of aging.

    Hope all goes well for you.

    ~hippo hugs~

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  17. Thanks for visiting me after my break :)
    I had this test done a couple months ago. Thankfully all was good. As others have said "the joys of aging"!!

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