I try very hard not to intervene on people’s feelings. Everyone has choices to make, and everyone is in a unique position that no one but themselves can understand. BUT…
I read a “letter to the editor,” or some sort of editorial the other day about people avoiding colonoscopies because they felt ‘uncomfortable’ about being ‘exposed.’ Specifically, they wanted some sort of special shorts to help cover regions “unassociated” with the procedure. I guess if the one thing holding you back from a highly recommended procedure is that someone may see your junk, then by all means, go find some special cover-up.
However, I think the larger concern here is the lack of either trust in the health care profession, or lack of understanding of the reality of what you are getting screened for. I feel like sensationalized stories of “this one doctor somewhere took advantage of someone one time maybe” has taken over our culture. While you shouldn’t be blind or ignorant of bad situations, I’ve found that I am almost never left alone with one doctor, and probably for this reason. Plus, these specialists do this for a living and have seen thousands of patients (literally). You should want them to be thorough and look and compare any sort of irregularities; they know better than anyone one of what is normal.
Part of me laughed when I considered privacy when going through my experience, and have decided to share my most favorite of my least private experiences:
- After my first surgery, being so emotionally drained that I refused to learn to empty my colostomy bag while at the hospital. Any time I needed it drained, I called whatever nurse was on duty and sat spread eagle while they emptied my bag in the toilet.
- My mother wiping my butt… as a 26-year-old.
- Learning how to describe my bowl movements at any given time of the day, as well as showing doctors and friends the waste in my bag (the lettuce incident – ha!).
- Getting an x-ray of the j-pouch by having a team of nurses give me an enema, while having my roll to each side so they could get a picture from all sides. Literally, a team of nurses working to hold a lubed plastic tube up my butt while a flipped around on a table.
- Going to the ER in Lincoln for pain, so much so that I thought I had ripped part of my stitching between my rectum and my small intestine. Explaining to the hospital that I was checking myself in because my butt hole hurt. Having a doctor and nurse stand side-by-side to look and poke at my butt hole. The icing on the cake was as I’m getting dressed, having the nurse ask how she knew me. Not the right time… you literally just had your finger on my butt.
I know most people who have lived major illnesses have similar but unique experiences. I guess the moral of my rant is that if privacy is the main concern with your health, consider yourself lucky. Sickness is not private. Sickness is not “comfortable.” Ask questions and don’t be afraid to have people look at your butt hole.
Another tangent that has been getting the best of me is the sun-slavery so many people are proud of. It’s getting warm out, so the frequency of pool selfies, and photos of legs at the lake are increasing, and it makes me bitter. I think what gets to me the most, especially from people I’m close to, is that it is a continuation of the thought that, “it won’t happen to me. I’m invincible.” Well, I’m your statistical anomaly, your prime example of the small percentage. While I can give you five reasons I shouldn’t have had stage three cancer, I can also give you five things I’ve done that probably increased my risk.
On top of that, I feel like it’s a complete disregard of the emotional and physical pain I endured for 9 months, and still deal with today. I’ve even had a friend directly acknowledge the correlation between tanning and my cancer, saying, “I know I should be more concerned about tanning since you’ve had cancer.” Every snapchat I receive and photo that is posted of people laying out, feels like a direct slap in my face while the person on the other end thinks, “cancer, it’s not THAT big of a deal.” I know it’s not even a thought to them, but to me, it is personal.
We are all physical beings that will die from something. By tanning (I’m lumping this with the stupid things people continue to do like smoking and drinking alcohol (yes, I know I still drink)), you are increasing the likelihood that this will be the disease to take you. Although I’m not supportive of covering yourself in chemicals or staining your skin either, at least you aren’t directly causing damage to your largest organ. It’s 2015 people. Stop living out trends we had when we were in high school and start appreciating your own bodies. I wish I would have sooner.
I’ve been watching posts revolving around the skin cancer selfie that has been circulating. I’ve been waiting for some of my more legit channels to call out some sort photoshopping on the graphic, but they aren’t. They are posting it.
Skin cancer is a REAL CANCER. I know people who have had chemotherapy for skin cancer. I know people who had skin cancer recur, and have had tumors the size of golf balls removed from their armpits. I know people who had skin cancer that were given months to live.
I also want to emphasize that cancer isn’t the only thing we should be cautious of. One of my good friends was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I embarrassingly knew little (and still don’t know enough) about this disease. I know that it is similar to cancer, in that some people are just more genetically predisposed to it, but I also know that there are things that people do to increase their risk (being inactive, too much sugar, etc).
I had a conversation yesterday with someone whose cousin has gone blind because they refuse to acknowledge the consequences of Mountain Dew on their diabetic body. It’s easy to think about how foolish this person must be, but we all continue to engage in risky behavior, even when the consequences are glaring at us. As I see more of these behaviors, I get angrier and more pissed at how easily we accept them.
I’m pissed we are ignorant to the facts in front of us. I’m pissed at the fact we err on the side of danger, and love to flaunt it. I’m pissed that we are focused on the “experience” of healthcare, and avoid the reality of what we are doing to ourselves.