Having a Screening Colonoscopy - About IBD Podcast Episode 138

Having a Screening Colonoscopy – About IBD Podcast Episode 138

Colon cancer is being diagnosed more frequently in younger people. It’s now recommended that most people get a screening colonoscopy at the age of 45. For people who  have a family history of colon cancer, the first screening should be when they are 10 years younger than the family member was when they were diagnosed.

My guest is my husband, Michael Tresca, who recently had a screening colonoscopy after turning 50. He details his experiences in using a newer prep and how he managed the process. 

If there is a person in your life that is due for their screening, I hope you’ll share this with them. And if you’re someone who is involved in administering screening colonoscopies, I hope you’ll listen to get an unfiltered perspective.

Find Michael Tresca at World of Welstar:

Find Amber J Tresca at:

Find Mac Cooney (mix, sound design, and theme music) at:

Episode transcript and more information at: https://bit.ly/AIBD138

These show notes contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, Mal and Tal Enterprises, LLC may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.


[Music: IBD Dance Party]

Amber Tresca 0:00
Hi. I’m Amber Tresca and this is about IBD.

Amber Tresca 0:07
I’m a medical writer and patient educator who lives with a J pouch due to ulcerative colitis. It’s my mission to educate people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, about their disease, and to bring awareness to the patient journey.

Amber Tresca 0:18
Welcome to Episode 138.

Amber Tresca 0:21
After a diagnosis of IBD a colonoscopy tends to be a pretty common procedure. But this episode is not about us frequent fliers. This is about having a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer, colon cancer is being diagnosed more frequently in younger people. For that reason, it’s now recommended that most people get a screening colonoscopy at the age of 45.

Amber Tresca 0:40
Getting someone you love to get a screening colonoscopy can be a challenge, which is completely understandable. But a colonoscopy is not only for diagnosis, it can actually prevent colon cancer when polyps are removed. My guest is my husband, Michael Tresca, who recently had a screening colonoscopy after turning 50. He details his experiences and using one of the newer preps and how he managed the process.

Amber Tresca 1:03
If there is a person in your life that is due for their screening, I hope you’ll share this with them. And if you’re someone who was involved in administering screening colonoscopies, I hope you’ll listen to get an unfiltered perspective. And for everyone else, you might find a tip in here for you.

Amber Tresca 1:18
But I can also guarantee you a few laughs

Amber Tresca 1:24
Hey, Mike, welcome to about IBD

Michael Tresca 1:27
Hi, this is exciting. I love to be guest on your show.

Amber Tresca 1:30
I can’t remember how many times you’ve been on the show

Michael Tresca 1:32
two times, not counting but

Amber Tresca 1:35
wow. Okay, great. I suppose I should remember that better than you do. All right, we’re gonna go with it. We have a real, genuine reason for being here. And that is because you are prepping for colonoscopy, you are 50, you’ll be turning 51 soon. But given that the age was reduced to 45, for a screening colonoscopy, and given that it was probably at least 10 years since your last one. It was time for another one. But insurance said no. Until you were actually 50. Correct. So that’s why we’re doing this now. And you do have a family history. Can you tell me what you recall about that? Because it’s like a lot of families. I think it’s not really openly discussed. So you don’t have perfect clarity, but we know a little bit.

Michael Tresca 2:30
My grandfather, my maternal grandfather died from colon cancer. So yeah, so that’s the history. And sometimes I forget about it, because I don’t remember as a kid, there’s actually a picture of us together. Shortly before he passed, that we were sort of told to take with him. Because he was he was in pretty dire straits. And he had a he had a pouch at that point.

Amber Tresca 2:53
He had an ostomy. I have asked, but it doesn’t seem that anyone even really knows the particulars of it. All I know is that he had an ostomy it was very difficult for him. And that he did die young. I don’t know that the cause was actually the colon cancer, right? Did you tell your physicians about your grandfather having colon cancer?

Michael Tresca 3:19
My general, my GP who I adore, we have the relationship. He knows everything. So yeah, he’s aware. He was one of the ones who essentially told me earlier and recommended, you know, go get screened. And as soon as I turned 50, he had a checklist of things. So, you know, I don’t know that it was an overt concern. But certainly he was like, Yeah, as soon as you turn 50 It’s time. I don’t know that I thought to mention it the first time when I spoke to sort of for the consoles. But the second time now this whole round, of course, I’m qualified by age. Anyway, I certainly brought it up because I did remember it then.

Amber Tresca 3:53
And remind me of when you went in for the consultation. It’s now August. Yeah, was it? April May? Yeah. So it took that long to get it scheduled. And it’s not exactly perfect. We’re kind of shoehorning it in. The kids are starting school the day after tomorrow, that you’re having this. So it’s a little bit less than perfect for us as well. But we know how important it is to get it done. And so I think you just took the first opening that they had.

Michael Tresca 4:27
Yeah, that was there was certainly a timing concern. We obviously have been taking vacation. You didn’t want to do it in the middle of that. But I also liked the idea of sort of the end of summer this is clearly a a moment in time that signals the end of summer so I’m okay with it because I do feel like it’s never gonna be ideal. I did like that. I actually was happy about this time because it is sort of in between time while it’s not perfect. I do feel like if you’re going to do it, this is the time to do it.

Amber Tresca 4:55
And do you remember when I was talking to you prior to scheduling I Say this to everybody. Hopefully I said it to you. Do you remember what I told you to do as far as scheduling is concerned, always in the morning, as early as possible, get the first procedure of the day, if you can, or one of the first, because then there is not an opportunity for the whole situation to get backed up, no pun intended. And then you’re waiting around hungry, usually with an IV in for things to get going. And that’s not set against anybody. I’m not saying anybody is slow or that you know that anybody intends to do this. It’s just something that happens. And so for myself, when I scheduled things for the kids, for myself, it doesn’t matter what it is, I always try to get the first appointment of the day and get it out of the way. And then I have my whole day and I’m not waiting

Michael Tresca 5:51
at all different procedures obviously have different implications. This one, you know, there’s a lot of sort of prep time and recovery time. So for sure, I definitely wanted the morning. Alright, so

Amber Tresca 6:01
you’ve been through the procedure once already, both of us admittedly, our recollection of it is a little bit hazy. This morning, you have not yet begun the actual prep. You’re just doing the Okay, I had a little tiny breakfast and yeah, that’s all I get to eat for today before. So do you want to take me through you sent me to the store for your clear liquids for the day? Do you want to take me through, you know what you were interested in? In a clear liquid, let’s say for for this day?

Michael Tresca 6:35
I kind of overdid it. I think I wanted all of the above. Which is probably not uncommon because you’re like, Oh, I’m not gonna be eating what could I possibly crave? So you know, jello was one I love lemonade. So eliminate was another I keep craving broth for some reason. Just because I don’t know. I think that’s I have a memory of chicken broth or wonton soup broth. Honestly, the thing I worry about the most is the headaches really, it’s not really being hungry. The apple juice is appealing because it’s, it’s potentially got more some sugar in it. I mean, lemonade probably does, too, I’m sure. So stuff like that. And I think I may have put popsicles into, there was very little I didn’t ask for because, you know, for anything unless like ticket on, you know, worst comes to worst, we’ll just use it at some point later. But I did, I’ve had my supplies as much as possible. So I have some options. If I’m getting hungry or desperate in some way, shape, or form, which I don’t anticipate, but it’s good to have options,

Amber Tresca 7:30
right. And I usually like to have the broth on hand as well when I’m prepping. Because you do get to the point where you’re drinking clear liquids. And that could be water, but I hate water. Everybody knows that I water. So I’m gonna go for some duty, you know, what, after the procedure,

Michael Tresca 7:52
is this gonna be two episodes, or we’re gonna do two episodes, or

Amber Tresca 7:54
we’re gonna I don’t anticipate this being two episodes

Michael Tresca 7:57
like a cliffhanger at the end, like, what will happen when he’s back?

Amber Tresca 8:02
Well, a colonoscopy is essentially a extremely safe procedure. So I don’t want to do a cliffhanger or make it seem like, let’s see what happens. Because the expectation, and I think it’s reasonable for this is that everything will go as it should. There shouldn’t be any problems, you don’t have any other health concerns, and that you will be done and dusted. And home, sleeping it off. About nine o’clock tomorrow morning,

Michael Tresca 8:35
I thought it would be amazing to have a toilet flush transition noise between when I when I’m done. And when I come back.

Amber Tresca 8:44
Do you want to produce this episode? Right now?

Michael Tresca 8:49
I’m giving you notes. That’s

Amber Tresca 8:51
alright, note taking.

Amber Tresca 8:53
But what would you say to the people who are hesitant for whatever reason about scheduling that appointment and about getting the process started? I’m going to ask you this question now. And then I’m going to ask you again, after the procedure. What would you say now?

Michael Tresca 9:10
So I certainly I think my perspective probably of time has changed. And you know, to your point, there’s definitely obstacles that I can see why people put it off. But conversely, I mean, look, you run this podcast, you know, we try and live what we’re talking about here walk the talk. I think it’s critical. The family history is critical. One of the things that’s great with my general practitioner, he really doesn’t. We don’t have it. It’s not a dialogue. It’s like go do it. Right. He’s not like, do you think you want to do it now? I’m like, No, let’s do it.

Michael Tresca 9:39
So it’s just a process. It is important. It’s part of aging. You certainly don’t want the alternative as someone who had it in their family, which is to be surprised by a medical event as you and I have been, and I don’t want to go through that ever. I would want to put you through it and I don’t want to be put through it. So in anticipation of that with that expect against under our belt. Yeah, thank you, I will, if my biggest problem is something doesn’t taste great, or I’m a little inconvenience, I think I can, I’ll manage.

Amber Tresca 10:09
So to put it in a nutshell, would you say that coming away with a clean bill of health as far as colonoscopy and colon cancer and any other associated things that might be found, incidentally, during the colonoscopy is more important to you than the inconvenience and perhaps the difficulties of the actual prep, which includes making something maybe a little bit unpleasant tasting? And then, of course, going to the bathroom a lot?

Michael Tresca 10:45
Yeah, yes. Yep. That sounds good. Let’s just repeat what you said.

Amber Tresca 10:51
Well, we will always use what I said, whether or not we use all of what you said, is up for grabs.

Michael Tresca 11:00
Yeah, I’ve made my peace with that.

Amber Tresca 11:01
What is it that you want to eat? When you’re finished? Because I will go and get it. And then I will pick you up?

Michael Tresca 11:09
You know, I don’t know. I think we were really disappointed last time I did it because I really wasn’t hungry. Coming out of it. And part of that is just sort of the circumstances, right? You’ve waited long enough not eating and then it turns into this other experience. It’s not just raging hunger, I’m sure maybe that comes back as the drugs wear off. Maybe a turkey burger. I think maybe that’s why

Amber Tresca 11:29
you could eat a turkey burger at night? Or do you want it later in the day?

Michael Tresca 11:36
Probably later in the day? Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be hungry. I don’t know. I mean, I could be totally wrong. Yeah. If it was for me, I didn’t think about that. If it’s for breakfast, it would probably be an egg bagel sandwich. But you know, I mean, it’s just it’s I don’t think it’s that exciting. I just don’t anticipate being super ravenous, maybe I will be. I know, she’s like son of, you’re ruining it for me. Eat something and enjoy it. And I love what you’re doing. You have to do that every day. You watch me enjoy. I love your cooking. So you know I I do it. So it’s not quite as exciting to me, I imagine.

Amber Tresca 12:18
Well, now I think you’re just bartering for better treatment during the process.

Michael Tresca 12:21
Who knows? You know, I’m relying on your turn.

Amber Tresca 12:25
That’s what I’m saying. Like, I remember one of the times that I was NPO, which means nothing by mouth in the hospital. And I don’t know how long it had been going on for but many days. And one of the nurses said to me, you know, the patients tell me sometimes that at a certain point, they just stopped feeling hungry.

Amber Tresca 12:48
And I’m not a violent person.

Amber Tresca 12:54
But I was I was really frustrated. I was really frustrated in that moment. Because while not being able to eat while having to fast prior to any procedure or for being on bowel rest, because that’s what they did for ulcerative colitis back in the day. I did not ever stop feeling hungry. Never. And in the hospital, you’re watching people eat in front of you, at least at home, you can sort of keep that away. But yeah, so coming out of a colonoscopy or a pouch Skippy, I absolutely am hungry, and I want something to eat right away. Because it is very uncomfortable. And I don’t like not having my faculties around me, which is what happens when I don’t eat for a little while. And the headache. It gets into your eyes for me like all of that

Michael Tresca 13:48
maybe a chocolate glazed doughnut, a chocolate glazed doughnut. That’s an easy, like, not super complicated. That will be a good one,

Amber Tresca 13:57
At this point, prior to starting to drink your prep, which is a split prep. And prior to actually having the procedure. Do you have anything encouraging to say to anyone who is on the fence? Who is not ready to schedule their colonoscopy? Yeah.

Michael Tresca 14:14
Well, I mean, you said it being a colonoscopy buddy, I think is probably very educational, right? So going through it or working with someone who’s gone through it, or even just helping somebody else really dispels a lot of sort of the mystery around this. So I think that’s great. And then certainly talking to your GP was very helpful. The other thing I’ll say, though, is just a lot of sort of old information about the way this used to be around the taste around the drink. There’s people who either did it a long time ago, or they’ve heard about it, or they did do it and it was gross, you know, years and years decades ago. And so they’re not looking forward to it and there’s more options now.

Michael Tresca 14:52
You know, my conversation with with the doc he was like, oh, yeah, like, it’s way better. Like it’s just way better, you know? So there’s a lot of that to where I think people have preconceived notions because that’s probably been either their experience or someone they know. And that’s not true anymore is so engaging with the whole process and anybody in the medical community who’s qualified to talk about it goes a long way, right? Just dispels a lot of that stuff, to see the improvements. And that’s true for a lot of these medical procedures. We’re like, oh, it’s it’s gotten easier, or they’ve done you know, it’s better. Or if you have a challenge with drinking, there’s other options. I didn’t think that was available before when I first did it. So yeah, all that adds up to, it’s not something to be avoided. I understand why people don’t like it, sort of getting exposure to it goes a long way. And it certainly makes it easier for me.

Amber Tresca 15:40
So you would say, I’m going to boil it down. Talking to your doctor, asking for the option that’s right for you for prepping, and for the day of the procedure. And then also reaching out to a trusted person that you know, who has had the procedure recently, are the two things that you would say are important to do as you prepare for this process?

Michael Tresca 16:05
Absolutely, yeah. Cohen, there’s got to be a shoot name for colon, buddy. But yeah, I really do think it’s a life goal, have people in your life who can take you to your colonoscopy, I think that’s a great thing, and bring you your favorite sandwich or food. If you have somebody like that you’re blessed. And I think it’s a good thing to have. And again, if they can do it for you, you can do it for them. And I think that’s a great, great thing as well was sort of dispels a lot of the mystery.

Michael Tresca 16:32
It is normalized more to that’s the I think the other thing too, is it’s just gotten easier for you know, I’m not shouting it to the world. But I also when I say I have to have a day out, and then people go oh, you know, I hope everything’s okay. You’re like actually it’s Oh, okay, no problem. And by the way, I had it too. So it’s certainly normalized. Part of that is aging to your point. So, as we all get older, it’s a little bit more common. I don’t know, I have no idea the history of this prior, but my feeling is it definitely wasn’t, unfortunately. So that helps to

Amber Tresca 17:02
No, not at all. And my first one, I had the prep where you’re drinking, kind of like a gallon of liquid. Yeah. And I was 16. I’m such a rule follower. And such a completionist. I drink that whole guy. I drink it all. You

Michael Tresca 17:20
drank the whole thing,

Amber Tresca 17:21
drank it. And I had significant colitis, I probably did not need

Amber Tresca 17:29
to prep. I did not need to go that hard. I was already having diarrhea all the time. Anyway, I did it. And it wasn’t wonderful. But I wanted to get better. I want it to get better. So

Michael Tresca 17:43
that’s a very Amber’s story.

Amber Tresca 17:47
Yeah, yes. Well, all right, any final thoughts on this side, the pre prep, pre procedure side of the colonoscopy,

Michael Tresca 18:00
it sure does help to film the record a podcast before you do it. I feel like I’m doing it for all of you. This is really nice. Like, you know, if I was just doing it on my own, I feel like I gotta get through. But this is great to talk about it and sort of prep beforehand. So I feel like I’m doing it for the greater good, not just for me. But yeah, I would say just do it. Just do it. It just needs to get done. We want to stay healthy. And frankly, because we try to be physically fit. To me, this is part of my regimen. You know, it’s just like walking to be fit or trying to watch what you eat, which I fail at all the time. This is the right thing to do, because it’s part of a healthy lifestyle. So we’re all we’re all in. And that means sometimes you have to have a camera up your butt.

[Transition: About IBD Piano]

Amber Tresca 19:11
Hey, Mike, welcome back.

Michael Tresca 19:14
Wow, it, it feels like just seconds,

Amber Tresca 19:18
A long time. But then no time at all. All right, now we’re going to talk about what it’s like to be on the other side of the procedure. Now that you actually did the prep, you went through the procedure. And all of that were a few days later now so you can have some perspective on it. So now I’m going to ask you to go through all of that. So first off, let me ask you, how you found the prep process and if anything was difficult for you.

Michael Tresca 19:51
So for me the food issue, in fact is the reverse. I actually don’t feel hungry. Part of it is is the plan view itself? I guess it just, by the end of it, I really didn’t want any foods. So it was a little bit that I wasn’t hungry. There was occasionally sort of psychological pangs of hunger, but for the most part, I was to just kind of bloated. So that wasn’t a bigger problem. The challenge is always is routine, right? So everybody else is eating.

Michael Tresca 20:22
I think we talked at one point, were you gonna go out this way, I don’t see you eat. So we sort of got around that by having think we had Chinese food. So I was able to sort of have broth. And that felt good. I still sat down and sort of participated, but didn’t eat anything substantial. So I thought that was a good compromise, I could see that being a challenge for some people, which is less the food, it’s more the routine, and then sort of having to be like a hermit and not have food in your face, which is, it’s tough. It’s just hard because it’s, you’re already struggling with it anyway, you got all these other things going on. And then you don’t want to make people also suffer along with you, and not be able to eat in front of you. So I thought that worked out well. But that was really the only piece I didn’t find fasting particularly difficult.

Michael Tresca 21:09
The thing I worry about, which I think happened last time was I had a headache. And I didn’t get a headache this time. Partially because I think we were well prepared. I mean, you really, I think I asked for everything on the list. And you got me everything. So I had quite a few choices, which was great. It didn’t feel like I was just missing out. In fact, there’s probably mood for more food choices that I normally have when I eat lunch and dinner and breakfast at home. So it was it was quite a bit. And I felt like that wasn’t the issue. It was just more than routine. Right?

Amber Tresca 21:36
So you had enough clear liquids on hand that you felt like you could sort of scratch that itch by choosing something that was either a little saltier or a little sugary. Exactly, right. Alright, so let’s talk about the actual prep, because that was plan view. It’s a split prep, it was I think, 16 ounces of liquid that you’re drinking twice a certain number of hours apart. I’ve never used that prep, this is your first time using it. How did you find it and maybe compare it to the last time that you prepped and what you did, then

Michael Tresca 22:08
I think the first thing to acknowledge is I probably didn’t do everything right, which is also typical for me. So I thought I knew what the instructions were we had quite a few different conflicting not conflicting, but certainly not agreeing instructions. There was the instructions on the the from the pharmacy, there were instructions with the plan view itself. And then there were instructions from the doctor’s office.

Michael Tresca 22:27
And of course, the doctor’s office tells you to just follow what they say. And they started to blend together after a bit as terms of timing and all that. So one of the things you’re really not supposed to do, which of course I did was take it as quickly as possible. And there’s almost anxiety in taking because it does not taste good. It has a very weird bubble gum, sort of Gatorade taste. And the smell isn’t great. It’s not it’s not terrible, but it’s sort of unnatural, I think is probably the way I’d put it. So it just feels like it’s something you shouldn’t be drinking.

Michael Tresca 22:57
And that kind of causes a little bit of a reaction sort of, viscerally when you smell it or start drinking in the first course wasn’t a big deal. Partially because I didn’t know what I was in for. And it didn’t bother me as much. But honestly, after using it, I was a little bit like okay, knowing I had to do the second one that started to build some anxiety. And the second one was a little tougher course partially because I knew what it tastes like. And I was sort of in for it. The second one I drank too fast, and I almost threw. So I drank it too fast. And one of the ways you get around that is you do not guzzle it like I did. So I think it’s absolutely manageable. So, but then it was done. And what was also interesting is the first round, I really didn’t go, I was like it’s kind of not working was little concerning the second round, absolutely working full speed ahead, which is challenging, because we were doing the actual procedure in the morning.

Michael Tresca 23:50
So you’re really not sleeping, there’s no way to sleep, you just can’t, you’re gonna be in the toilet so often and so frequently, after a certain point, you kind of give up leaving the bathroom, but a lot of this dialogue that you get, because it’s a lot of text from all of these places that aren’t 100% agreeing with each other is procedure, but not your end goal. Right, your end goal is to essentially be clear, and not surprisingly, I think I probably did get dehydrated. I started to get cold. So that’s something when I mentioned it to the nurse, they’re like yeah, you got dehydrated, like I don’t know how you get around this like there’s sort of you’re trying to sleep you’re trying to prep you’re trying to go I was fairly confident going in that I was okay like the drugs do what they did even though I may have not been perfect on the timeframe.

Michael Tresca 24:33
I certainly guzzled it too fast the second time I did what I did, I got to the end result which is what they want. So that made me feel better. I imagine a lot of people have a lot of anxiety going in. Not sure if you know because that’s the worst thing go through this and not do it right.

Amber Tresca 24:47

Michael Tresca 24:47
So that’s one thing the other thing I think which they don’t talk about at all really bugs me and maybe I missed it is what you should dress for this procedure. It’s kind of sweat pants, and you know, but all comfortable like because I’m going to be either removing it or are sort of moving it around. So that’s the stuff that I feel like people actually worry about.

Amber Tresca 25:04

Michael Tresca 25:04
So for me, because I’ve been through it once before, that was not a concern. And of course, I happen to live with an expert. So it helps a lot.

Amber Tresca 25:11
All right. So tell me what happened. When you got to the Endoscopy Center, you were saying that you weren’t sure that you were dressed appropriately or properly. But what was that like? And then what was the recovery process? Like?

Michael Tresca 25:24
Yeah, so the process was pretty straightforward. We actually know the center, which was great. So we’ve been there. My nurse she had, she was the one who had called me earlier because there was some shifts and timing. And she had asked me if I had any questions, very nice person, set me up, essentially, had me sit down and talk me through all their stuff. And they were very respectful. I have to keep pointing out though, like, you are not 100% Because at that point, you hadn’t eaten for a while. But it seemed like it was pretty straightforward, which was you sit here, we’re going to give you a drip, and I IV drip they so they do need to find a vein?

Michael Tresca 25:59
I’ll tell you the problem that cropped up, not surprisingly, was I was cold, because I was probably dehydrated. So they had difficulty finding a vein. They did find it but there was a little bit of like, oh, geez, you know, so they it took a while. And then you sort of wait there. So you know, you’re in this sort of It’s a curtain room. And she let me use my phone for a little bit. But you put all your possessions in a bag. I was like, I just want you to know my whole life is in this bag. Don’t lose this bag. She laughed. She was like it’s true. And they walk you to the what do you call it? What is that called the

Amber Tresca 26:30
endoscopy endoscopy suite.

Michael Tresca 26:32
So now you lay down and then it’s a whole different group of people, right? So now as the anesthesiologist, my doc came in at the end, there was another nurse, they introduced themselves and they are just rocking and rolling. Right. So there’s not a lot of chitchat, they said they gave me air. So they put that up your nose. And they’re sort of buzzing around you while you’re getting ready. And of course, now you’re you know, you’re kind of been hanging out a little bit kind of on your side.

Michael Tresca 26:55
And then the anesthesiologist came over and he introduced this gentleman’s name, and he says, any questions and I said, Do you want me to he’s, I’m gonna start the anesthetic. Do you? You know, are you okay? I said, Oh, do you want me to count down? He laughed. He says you can try. So I did. I tried to count down from 20. And then I got a very strong smell in which I don’t know as a side effect. I don’t know if that was actually a smell. But it was sort of interesting, just before one out that was kind of italic. And then I was out. And I know I was out because I woke up still counting. Like, I was still going 21 And I was like, wait a minute, I’m not even in the room. Now I’m in a outpatient room, I guess.

Michael Tresca 27:34
And a different nurse met me there and said, Okay, how are you? Oh, yeah, I should say the doc showed up before this just before and he was like, how you doing? And he’s like, are you hungry? I was like, No, I’m just kind of thirsty. He’s like, I’m gonna I owe you a like a nice beverage. I was like, You’re not giving me anything. You’re not Yeah, I’m not even gonna see you again. Okay, but thanks. I appreciate that. So he was very nice. And, you know, because again, how long have you talked to him for about 30 seconds, as they’re all moving around.

Michael Tresca 28:01
So woke up didn’t see him. See the nurse kinda is like you have to sit up right now is like, okay, but I was tired. Like, really out of it. So I kind of was sitting there trying to wake up and she was like, Don’t fall asleep. And I was like, Okay, well, you know, I’m pretty knocked out. When we were in the waiting room. We saw someone come into the waiting room. So I thought that’s where we’re going. But they walked me straight to the car. You were ready. And we were whisked away to home.

Amber Tresca 28:27
Then literally you pull up and I didn’t even see your nurse. You were on your on your own. Yeah, I had asked you the last time we recorded what you would prefer to eat when I picked you up, so I went and got an egg sandwich since it was like nine o’clock in the morning. And a donut had those for you. You ate I think the egg sandwich when we got home. And then you went right to bed and lay down and you were out. Yeah, yeah. And you slept most of the day.

Michael Tresca 29:01
I think probably the thing that I underestimated most of the I don’t remember this last time was how much that anesthetic knocked me for a loop. So that was the biggest thing which was felt different was that I not only was out that day, I didn’t feel right all day. And I really actually didn’t feel great the next day. Not not bad, but sort of just disconnected and woozy. And I was surprised how strong that was.

Michael Tresca 29:29
And like one of the things I did try to ask was when are we going to have a discussion about how it went right now I know they’re not going to you know, they obviously sent things out for biopsy or whatever. So you don’t get sort of immediate answer. I knew about it before the care team reviewed the data because of the patient portal. And I think if that goes differently, where a person has very bad results, that is not great. So now I don’t know maybe there’s some breaks that get put on it where it doesn’t get shared with you first. But it was more than a day after I saw the results that I got a call.

Michael Tresca 30:05
So I knew well at first I didn’t need the call. The call was confused me, actually because I was not clear on why they were like I was like, okay, but the call didn’t contribute anything. They were like, Yeah, you’re good see in 10 years. But for me, if there had been something problematic in the scope results, I would not want to find out by looking through a patient portal.

Amber Tresca 30:29
Yeah. And I don’t have an answer to that. Actually. However, I would say this, it is very likely if there was something concerning that someone was speak to you before you left, the Endoscopy Center. So I think the fact was, is that you are over 50, you had a little polyp. That’s kind of to be expected. They removed it, it didn’t look concerning at all, there wasn’t really anything of note. So for you, like it might have been a little different than it would be for someone who had something concerning.

Michael Tresca 31:05
Right? And you don’t know, you don’t know, because you’re yourself. And if you haven’t gotten through this, you don’t know what’s normal or what isn’t. So now I’m remembering the nurse said, One polyp was removed. That’s normal. Not a big deal, I think on the way out, but it was Jimmy, I was just like, I didn’t know what was going on. So it was kind of there wasn’t a lot of the continuum of care from going in. Two coming out, was felt a little disjointed.

Michael Tresca 31:34
So it’s good. I think the point I guess I want to make is it’s so important to have a partner with you who’s on it, right? Because they need to be aware, because I certainly was not able to advocate for myself in any way, shape, or form. And I don’t think anything that was said to me was going to be retained or really, that I would be like, Oh, this is what they said. And that makes sense. And this is what happened. So it is really it was really important that you knew what was going on because I didn’t for sure.

Amber Tresca 32:01
All right, now you’re on the other side of this, you’re done for 10 years,

Michael Tresca 32:05
10 years, baby 10 years,

Amber Tresca 32:07
Hopefully, you can go that long. And there’s no other reason for you to need to go in for a procedure like this. Do you have any thoughts on the whole process of screening for colon cancer?

Michael Tresca 32:20
Well just do it. There’s one, I get it, I guess it’s not fun, I think I would probably try and do the prep a little differently. But it’s sort of interesting, because 10 years is a long time. So first of all, the drugs can change, the procedure can change, there’s so much in 10 years that could change between now and then they could just scan you or something I don’t know. So it is it is a long time between visits to sort of be like, well, let me do this differently.

Michael Tresca 32:47
But yeah, I certainly would try and follow the directions from the doctor’s office versus trying to read all this other stuff, frankly, you know, it’s almost like don’t even look at it compared to the doctor’s office, because that’s what they want you to pay attention to. There were other things that didn’t do, right. They were like don’t you should not supposed to have any Metamucil which I regularly have. They don’t want you to wear any kind of Cologne miss that. Conversely, obviously, it was still a success, even though I screwed some of that stuff up. It’s not like, you know, we failed the exam.

Michael Tresca 33:18
But there’s probably things that could have been, you have done to be a better patient. But there’s also probably things they could have done to be a better care team, in my opinion in the way they sort of conducted themselves. This is a place that does a lot of them. And it felt like that it felt like a little bit of a factory. So there wasn’t a lot of nuance if you’ve had any concerns that were unusual, or if it felt like if you had an actual circumstance, but I assumed to your point, if there was I would have been treated differently. I just don’t know. I don’t know.

Michael Tresca 33:47
So I guess maybe my I said luxury that I was like, Well, I just kind of went in there and nobody talked to me and I went home and it was good. That was the end. But yeah, I would say that doing it is absolutely to have the peace of mind was critical, right? Just because it is one of those things that you don’t want to if this was the reason that you said, Oh, I don’t like the way something tastes to not, you know, potentially avoid some really bad situations down the road. That’s not a good excuse. So absolutely. I’m glad we did it.

Amber Tresca 34:20
Prior to actually going in for the procedure. Do you think you should have asked more questions?

Michael Tresca 34:26
Maybe if some of these things didn’t occur to me right for the one of the problems we had was that this was scheduled so far out by the time we did get around to it, it was like Oh, yeah. So and then I was getting a barrage of sort of messages and emails. And then they moved the time slightly. I did actually have a good dialogue with the nurse who gave me a different set of directions than what the text said.

Michael Tresca 34:50
So there was also that to where you know, you’re just like, Well, wait a minute. Now that’s a fourth source saying something slightly different with timing and when did you know she was like no don’t need anything that day at all, which is not what the instruction said you could have breakfast in history. So you know, you start to get really wound up, and especially if you’re somebody who wants things a certain way, you know, this is all about giving up control, honestly. So yeah, I mean, I also think at a certain point, there’s only so many questions you can ask and you just have to go well, did my best you do your best see on the other side? And that’s the way I see it.

Amber Tresca 35:24
All right. Well, we did do our best, and everything turned out fine. Well, thanks, Mike. I think this didn’t turn out exactly how I thought our discussion would. My whole point of this was for people who have any concerns about the process to sort of demystify it for them. But people who are having a screening colonoscopy for the first time, there’s obviously there can be a lot of concern, a lot of worries.

Amber Tresca 35:54
And so I wanted to give more information so that it can seem a little less intimidating. But I think what this has turned into is also something that I hope that healthcare providers will take away some of the pitfalls, I don’t think it’s anything really knew, I think these are things that we already know. But that during the process communication needs to be clear that perhaps patients would like to have someone with them after the procedure, or at least maybe to see their doctor if they could, and that there needs to be a little more attention paid to you as a person.

Amber Tresca 36:37
And a little bit less feeling like you are going through a process, like on an assembly line is what I would say. Totally agree. Thank you so much. And we will make sure that we get this hopefully in front of people who can benefit from the information. So thanks a lot.

Michael Tresca 36:54
Thank you.

[Music: IBD Dance Party]

Amber Tresca 37:01
Hey, super listener. thanks to Mike Tresca for agreeing to be interviewed for this episode. I promise he did enter into it willingly. Mike can be found across social media as world of WellStar, where he publishes a variety of information and materials for tabletop role playing games. I will put his information in the show notes.

Amber Tresca 37:19
Also, thanks to you for sharing this episode with someone who can benefit from the information. Even though you’re listening to me, maybe with headphones on. I want you to think of this as a two way conversation. We are a community.

Amber Tresca 37:33
You can follow me across all social media as about IBD. You could also go to about ibd.com and contact me there

Amber Tresca 37:41
links to a written transcript. Everyone’s social media handles and more information on the topics we discussed is in the show notes and on my episode 138 page on about ibd.com

Amber Tresca 37:52
Thanks for listening.

Amber Tresca 37:53
And remember until next time, I want you to know more about IBD.

Amber Tresca 37:59

About IBD is a production of Mal and Tal Enterprises.

It is written, produced, and directed by me, Amber Tresca.

Mix and sound design is by Mac Cooney.

Theme music is from Cooney Studio

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