Posted 03 August 2016 - 09:05 AM
I've been really impressed by how knowledgeable and helpful the members of this website are so I thought I would share the panic I am currently going through and hoping to receive some help/support. After reading other stories, this appears to be mild, but still, when this gets in your head, it stays there and doesn't stop spinning.
I am a 42 year old male. Healthy. 6'0. 185 lbs. I never get sick. So when this has happened, I am not used to this so I start to panic.
I have never had any issues with my stomach, bowel movements, constipation, blood in stool, etc. Occasionally deal with diarrhea.
A month ago, I specifically remember eating something for breakfast and right when I was done, I remember thinking to myself, wow, I got full really fast. I've never had that feeling before. The bread I noticed was weird, and very thick. Overly thick. I started to feel bloated and the next day I felt bloated, full, lack of appetite, diarrhea. These symptoms lasted for about 6-7 days where little by little, the bloating and diarrhea went away and then I regained my full appetite. Never did I see blood in my stools.
Thereafter, I was perfectly fine for two weeks. Normal bowel movements (I take Metamucil at night - one small teaspoon). Normal appetite. The last week of the above two weeks, we had a family vacation that involved heavy drinking throughout the day. Rum and cokes on the beach (not sure if this is relevant). Anyways, so last Thursday, I felt the bloating come back. Same exact symptoms as before. Today is Wednesday and I am now improved and this week is tracking in the same exact pattern as the month ago.
I went to my Doctor on Monday and he ran a CBC blood test. All came back normal.
I went to a Gastro Doctor on Tuesday and he believes I have IBS but still wants me to do a Colonoscopy. I have it scheduled in 2 weeks.
So, as I am sure everyone here knows, when you start looking at symptoms and reading the internet, your mind goes insane and instantly you have colon cancer.
Couple of other facts:
No family history of colon cancer - my father had a polyp removed at 62 (died for completely other reasons).
No red blood in stools ever. Sometimes I have seen dark brown but I don't believe it's the level of black.
As I reach the end of the week with the symptoms, I feel a little stuffy and feel like I have some mucus in my nose.
I have never had any pain in my stomach.
My Gastro kept telling me one of the symptoms of colon cancer is "change in bowel habits". I have always had 1 or 2 bowel movements a day, including during these 2 episodes. Does "change in bowel habits" mean, like changing from 1/2 to 4/5 or 5/6 or something like that?
Doesn't the CBC blood work, by being normal, show there is no internal bleeding so if I do have some type of cancer that it is not advanced?
He believes that first incident possibly triggered something in my body and now I will have IBS. I don't have a problem with that vs any type of colon cancer.
I have a friend who said the colonoscopy is overkill in this considering the symptoms I have been showing.
Does anything I have typed lead anyone here to believe it could possibly be colon cancer? I just don't see it - especially having 2 episodes that appear to be the same exact pattern.
I would appreciate any comments while I wait for my colonoscopy in 2 weeks.
Posted 04 August 2016 - 03:02 AM
Don't read the internet. Even doctors can't diagnose without running a battery of tests. If symptoms are minor then doing a colonoscopy may not be justified.
Posted 06 August 2016 - 10:36 AM
I was diagnosed 40 years ago with a barium enema. I had a colonoscopy 12 years ago and wont be getting another unless I get a red flag eg I start bleeding.
The fact is colonoscopies are not risk free - 5 out of 1000 have serious complications with perforation (often leading to death) in 1 in 1000. Getting one is based on risk vs reward. Most people diagnosed with IBS using the Rome 3 criteria have just that with at least a 95% confidence. Yes - cancer can sometimes mimic IBS and without question there are people out there diagnosed with IBS who have cancer. But the interesting thing is this - studies have shown if you meet the Rome 3 criteria the chance of you having Colon cancer is the same or even lower than the general population:
Bottom line here is if you have been diagnosed with IBS you don't have any greater chance of having colon cancer than anyone else. At 42 your risk is low - I think its about 1/1000 so risk vs reward may not be there. If it sets your mind at rest go for it - but I personally would get a flexible sigmoidoscopy which is nearly risk free and decide what you want to do after that.
Posted 06 August 2016 - 06:55 PM
Bill - I am obtaining a 2nd opinion this week. After looking back at my meeting with the Doctor and becoming more educated in the matter - Im not 100% convinced he had my best interests in mind. Your post certainly adds to my education. Thanks.
Posted 07 August 2016 - 12:11 AM
After looking back at my meeting with the Doctor and becoming more educated in the matter - Im not 100% convinced he had my best interests in mind.
He likely does.
Its just that in medicine there is a gut feeling aspect to it. Is setting you mind at rest with a colonoscopy worth the risk. There is no hard and fast rule on this - its up to your doctors 'intuitive' feel on it and past experience.
In my case I go to pieces when I get tests done. My doctor knows this and balances getting them done against the stress it causes me. Make no mistake though - if I need a test it gets done. I went to pieces 12 years ago when I got my colonoscopy - but I needed it then. I saw a psychiatrist to cope, went on Xanax and got it done. But most patients are not like me and getting the test done often reduces stress.
Sure - get a second opinion or switch to a flexible sigmoidoscopy - but there is nothing definite about this - it all quite grey.
For what its worth I would simply get a flexible sigmoidoscopy done. It has much lower risk and you do not need to go under anesthesia which also increasses risk. For example one study showed 1 perforation in 40000 sigmoidoscopy's vs 4 in 2377 colonoscopies - and that's just perforation. At your age the risk vs reward of a full colonoscopy IMHO just isn't worth it.