Hi all, I apologize for not posting in a few days. I actually found myself back at the doctor’s office this last week. I swear, I have never visited the doctor more often than I have this past year. Is my body trying to tell me something or what?
Warning: if you don’t care to have intimate knowledge of my ass or bowel movements, stop right here. The short story is I’ve had some bleeding issues, have seen a doctor and am monitoring the situation. If you want the long story, keep reading.
This time, and forgive me if this is TMI, I had to go back because I passed blood (for the second time) during a bowel movement. Lovely right? Each time its been about a quarter sized amount. This last time, I also passed more blood later that evening without even trying to go to the bathroom. I saw my doctor and he prescribed some suppositories which I haven’t used yet because he thinks that I might have torn something that might need a “rest.” He also advised me to increase my fluid intake and fiber so we’ll see what happens.
I don’t know what to think about this. I know that obesity puts me at a very high risk for a variety of cancers; breast, uterine (my PCOS increases the risk for this as well), kidney and colon among many others. When I was working for the American Cancer Society, imagine me having to sit on the other side of the phone talking to someone about risk factors for various types of cancer and finding obesity in the list almost every time. I doubt seriously they pictured a 400+ pound woman reading off that list to them. So, while I know it could just be a hemorrhoid or a small tear, the fact that it could be something else is also nagging at the back of my mind. For whatever reason, my doctor did not refer me out for a colonoscopy; he didn’t even do a digital rectal exam (not that I was looking forward to one).
When I got home, I did a little research about having a colonoscopy when you are obese and was not surprised to find several articles indicating that obese patients have a 25% LESS chance of being screened or referred for a colonoscopy compared to non-obese patients. This is the case even though obese patients are at a greater risk for colon cancer. I’m sure a small percentage might be due to the fact that a colonoscopy can be more risky and difficult to perform on the obese. Unfortunately, I am also just a little bit more convinced that it probably has to do with the fact that most doctors aren’t all that eager to have us drop our drawers and assume the position for them. I also think that obesity affects people’s perception in such a way that they don’t take obese people as seriously as they might a non-obese patient. Maybe I’m being too harsh…I don’t know, I could be wrong. It would be interesting to see what sort of barriers to colonoscopy referral these scientists identified for obese patients.
Anyway, so I’ve been thinking a lot about my health the last few days. All the other ailments I’ve had in the last year, the fact that I’m certainly nearing that age when age alone is a risk for numerous health issues. Right now I have obesity, age, and history as a smoker (I smoked for 10 years but quit when I got pregnant with Tanner..going on 14 years smoke free!) as risk factors. Not that I’m necessarily a hypochondriac, but when you have all that looking you in the face, acting as if you were going to live to 100 would be complete denial. My health is probably one of the number one reasons I’m trying to get this weight off. I think part of my reasoning for being so open about this problem in my blog is to keep me accountable. Even with all I know, I can feel part of myself just wants to hide my head in the sand and explain the bleeding away with some benign problem. Deep down, I know that I can’t take any chances with symptoms like this and will need to follow up if they don’t resolve.
I went ahead and made an appointment with my gynocologist for early july. I haven’t had a gyno exam done in several years so it needs to be done and I figured that if I’m still having problems with bleeding, she can check that out too and we’ll see if she thinks I need a colonoscopy or something. As of now, I’m still having the bleeding even with soft stools so no telling what is going on.
With all that said…I have done reasonably well on my diet and exercise this week. I will work on increasing my fluids and fiber rich foods (something I need to do for weight loss anyway) and hope for the best.