Don't Ignore Health Issues

This is a discussion on Don't Ignore Health Issues within the Bob & Terry's Place forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Ever since I started carrying a gun, I have been doing my best to maintain situational awareness, train every chance I get and am trying ...

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Thread: Don't Ignore Health Issues

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    Don't Ignore Health Issues

    Ever since I started carrying a gun, I have been doing my best to maintain situational awareness, train every chance I get and am trying to lose weight and get into "fighting trim".

    By the way, I am 54 years old.

    Even though I am aware of the need to protect my family from bad guys, the thought of my health has always been on the back burner. After all, I have never had a serious health problem (broken vertibrate in my back but it wasn't as bad as it sounds). Never had major surgery or any serious diseases.

    However, during a physical about three months ago, my doctor recommended that I get a colonoscopy since I was over 50. So yesterday I did.

    The result was four pollops found. Two were over an inch long and were removed. The doctor said that the bad news is when they are over one inch, they usually are either 1) malignant or 2) agressive which means they have a high potential to turn malignant.

    The doctor said that the good news is that no matter what the biopsy says, I am in effect cured already since the growths were removed.

    If they do turn out to be malignant, I just need to have another colonscopy within six months. But he pointed out that if I had waited say another few years before getting the colonoscopy, the result could have been much different.

    I've never been one to run to the doctor every time I get a sniffle but this was an eye openning.

    It would be sad to take all of the precautions to protect myself from bad guys only to be felled by cancer.

    My wife's doctor recommended that she get one but my wife decided she didn't need to. After talking with my doctor yesterday, she is now going to schedule the procedure.

    So what I am saying is don't neglect your health as part of your overall protection plan.

    ...and here's hoping that you get good news, too!

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  3. #2
    Member Array steve_db's Avatar
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    Good advice Paul.
    I turned 50 this year.
    Earlier in the year, I gave in to my wife and family's encouragement to have a physical. (I had not visited a doctor in about 8 years - felt fine - in good shape and all that).
    Turns out I had thyroid cancer (had my thyroid surgically removed in April - caught it early and all is well).
    More recently a visit to the dermatologist - had a squamous cell carcinoma removed...

    It's rough getting older.
    I still hate going to doctors, but I'm glad I have health insurance and the doctors are there to help.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    Agree Steve.

    Gotta keep in good health if I want to fulfil my dream:

    To die at 120 years old after winning an international pistol competition.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Array Wayne's Avatar
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    True. Some people think that I go to the doc too much, maybe I do. Not for colds or such but if something doesn't "feel right" then I go.

    Guess I was awakened when I had a really bad cold w/high fever. I begain to feel better but was really tired but went to work anyway. About halfway through the day I went out to smoke (had to walk about 50 or so yards to the smoking area) and stopped halfway, something was wrong (and my breathing was difficult/heavy).

    Went to the base clinet, the doc listened to my lungs and then rushed me to X-Ray. X-Ray did a rush and gave me the X-Rays to take back to the doc.

    My lungs were about 1/2 full of water (flim? that stuff you get when you have pneumonia).

    A couple more days and I would have "drowned". Got a mega shot of penicillen and was out of work for over 2 weeks.

    I am hitting 40 in two years, my doc has already mentioned that I should get a colonoscopy for my 40th birthday

    Wayne

  6. #5
    Member Array 40FIVER's Avatar
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    This is not a rant Wayne, but hopefully he told you to quit smoking. Sorry if this offends you, its just probably the best thing any tobacco user can do. And to be honest, I'm a snuff dipper so I'm talking to myself as well.
    Charlie - 40FIVER

    Why I carry:
    "The heart is deceitul above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    Yup, I need to stay around to care for my wife. I decided to take up a free screening at a dermatologist about a mole that had changed. I'm still healing up from the surgery but I'm told if I'd let it slide a few more months it would have been major surgery and chemo.

    I'm also one of those evil ex smokers guys. No rant either but you can quit, it ain't easy but it's worth it and you will feel better! And 40Fiver, let's just say I once worked with an oral surgeon in the military. Quit now before it hits cause the cure is mighty ugly for oral cancer!
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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    Paul, I would encourage you to get a second opinion. When they remove polyps during a colonoscopy they use a wire "snare" that removes and cauterizes the polyp. About 3 years ago, after ignoring (and explaining away) all of the outward signs that I had a problem, I experienced some of the worst pain I have ever had. After a trip to the emergency room, xrays and a followup with a specialist, they declared that I had perforated diverticulitis. Although they wanted to do a colonoscopy, to do so would have risked shoving the scope through a weak portion of my colon. After 6 weeks (after everything healed up), I had a colonoscopy. They found 4 polyps, 3 of which could be removed. The larger one, which was less than an inch was left to be removed surgically, although they did a biopsy on the spot. The larger they are, the deeper they penetrate into the colon wall. It turned out the large one was malignant and I was scheduled for a colectomy. My surgeon told me that a polyp that size could not be completely removed during a colonoscopy. I wound up having 13" of my colon removed, which left me cancer free. Even so, I was offered a round of chemo, which I declined. After a couple of years of blood tests and repeated colonoscopy procedures, the careful watch is over, concerns about a recurrance are not. If your doctor is not a specialist in colorectal surgey or a surgical oncologist, by all means get a second opinion regarding the likelihood of removing all cancerous tissue during a colonoscopy. It's your life that is at stake.

    And, like Paul said, don't neglect your health or any signs that you may be having a problem. A colonoscopy is no big deal, despite some of the uncomfortable things any of you may have been told. Being a "tough guy" and avoiding the colonoscope could wind up costing you your life....
    Bumper
    Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.

  9. #8
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    Tell Me About It...

    Quote Originally Posted by steve_db View Post
    Good advice Paul.
    I turned 50 this year.
    Earlier in the year, I gave in to my wife and family's encouragement to have a physical. (I had not visited a doctor in about 8 years - felt fine - in good shape and all that).
    Turns out I had thyroid cancer (had my thyroid surgically removed in April - caught it early and all is well).
    More recently a visit to the dermatologist - had a squamous cell carcinoma removed...

    It's rough getting older.
    I still hate going to doctors, but I'm glad I have health insurance and the doctors are there to help.
    There are a couple of things that I have noticed lately...

    What doesn't hurt, doesn't work!
    ...and...
    Most body parts are getting either too tight, or they leak!


    Your experiences may vary...

    ret
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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  10. #9
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up Bumper.

    I have an appointment with the doctor in about two weeks when the biopsy comes back. I'll follow up on this. This particular doctor is one of the most highly respected Gastrologists in the DC area but you are right. . . it's my life and I need to make sure everything is OK.

    Man! What's the point of getting old if you are too old to enjoy it?

    What REALLY get's me is that if my general physician hadn't mentioned that maybe I should get the procedure done, I wouldn't have known anything about it until it was too late.

    I think you make a good point, Bumper. We need to actively take charge of our medical treatment and health planning.

    A second opinion would be a good idea.

  11. #10
    Member Array steve_db's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulG View Post
    A second opinion would be a good idea.
    speaking of second opinions -
    My doctor told me "you're fat".

    I said "Doctor, I'd like a second opinion".

    My doctor replied "OK, you're ugly too".

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array Nick's Avatar
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    The colonoscopy is a necessary fact of life and it's no big deal. Had mine at age 57 last February. The only thing was that both the doctor and the anesthesiologist were female, late 30's, and cute. Seemed a shame to be in that position with them.
    Last edited by Nick; November 3rd, 2006 at 03:04 PM.
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    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    We lost my mom in a very short time to colon cancer back in 2001.
    One moment, she was seeing a doctor for a bulge in her abdomen, which they initially thought was a hernia -- but then they realized it was out of place for where a hernia would be. Some tests were done, and then she told me over the phone that they had diagnosed her with terminal colon cancer. It had already spread, utterly undetected, to her liver (and who knows where else).

    About a year later, I decided that even though I was only 31, I wanted to have a doctor take a look at me and at least establish a baseline for what I looked like inside, to compare with later if need be.

    So thinking not much of it, I made an appointment with a gastroenterologist, who scheduled a colonoscopy after discussing my family history. I was asymptomatic for anything, by the way.

    As I was lying on a bed in the recovery room, Doc comes in holding my chart and says, "Well, it's a good thing we did the test on you because we found three polyps!"

    They were removed, of course, and biopsied. They were all benign, but I had to go back for another colonoscopy two years later, and they found one polyp that time. Now I go back a year from now (what will be three years since the last one). I'll be watching for this for the rest of my life -- I can only hope that I continue to have medical coverage for however long that is.

    If you have any doubts, GET testED. It's not that bad at all. Hey, you're asleep for the actual procedure. The worst part is drinking bad-tasting stuff (laxatives) on the day before, and fasting for 24 hours prior. (Oh, and self-administering one of those mini enema bottles.)

    I am very young to have had the test, and very young to have come so close to the possibility of colon cancer. I am just thankful that pride didn't get in the way of getting checked. Don't let it be your downfall, either.

  14. #13
    Member Array KravJeff's Avatar
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    Great advice, and persional stories ...

    I was in my 20's when my mother had her first heart attack (she was only in her 40's) ... Since then (I'm 37 now) I've been a bit paranoid about my health, but it's caused me to be more aware as well. I found out that I have high blood pressure back then (thanks family!) which has been treated succesfully now for about 15 years - Without Mom's health problems, I'd have been suffering the silent effects of that all of this time (and likely for years to come) until I had a heart attack or stroke of my own - Probably young like her. Point being - It doesn't even have to be something as serious as polyps or skin cancer. An annual physical, in addition to excersize and a heatlhy diet (I still eat like crap) is a good idea for everyone, at any age.

    $0.02

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    Quote Originally Posted by peacefuljeffrey View Post
    About a year later, I decided that even though I was only 31, I wanted to have a doctor take a look at me and at least establish a baseline for what I looked like inside, to compare with later if need be.
    Interesting, Jeffrey, when I went in for my first appointment with the specialist, I sat in the waiting room with people mostly in their 60's to 80's. At 51 I felt a little "out of place". So much so that I convinced myself that I was too young for it to be anything serious cancer. Then a younger guy came out, made another appointment and left. Thinking he was there for something else, I commented to the doctor when I went in that I thought I was too you for any serious colon problem. The doctor said he had just seen a patient that was 33 and had biposied with colon cancer. Although they recommend that you start having this procedure at 50, if you suspect something, go in and have it done. If that guy would have waited until he was my age, well, he wouldn't have made it to 50.....
    Bumper
    Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde; Beware the anger of a patient man.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    My doctor, a youngish guy himself, told me when I went in for my first consultation that he understood the feelings of family members who have lost someone to this disease. They often want to rush out and get confirmation of a clean bill of health. He was sympathetic.

    He also told me that insurance would not cover the procedure (something like $1k or $2k!) unless I was symptomatic of something. I understood what he was getting at.

    Me: "*AHEM!* Doc, y'see... I've had this discomfort and a little blood in my stool lately and I'm worried..."

    Doc: "Well, Jeff, let's have you schedule a procedure with the receptionist! We gotta get that looked at!"



    And the rest is history.

    Doc told me that people in my age group are at the outside edge of the bell curve for incidence of colon cancer, and just because some my age might get it, that doesn't make insurance companies willing to throw the net so wide as far as who they'll cover for routine checks with no symptoms.

    By the way, the doctor told me that while many polyps will not become cancerous, all colon cancer starts as a polyp. And a polyp that is going to become cancerous generally takes 4-7 years to do so.

    I was told that generally, they start checking family members at an age 10 years younger than the member who died of the cancer. Mom died at 59. I should have been 49 when I first got tested, according to the big brains in medicine. Lessee... at 31 I had four polyps that were who-knows-how-old. Let's say they were one year old. Six years of growth and they'd be seven years old, ripe for becoming cancerous... and I'd have been only 37, not nearly 49. Un-freakin-believable.

    So, ya swallow your pride and ask them to stick the thingie up your butt, because it just may save your ... well, your butt!

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