Saturday, August 11, 2012

Post Treatment Colonoscopy A Good Outcome With A Few "Inconvenient" Surprises

My colonoscopy uncovered a precancerous polyp which my physician removed as a matter of routine. This outcome was not unexpected, since I had similar results with my two previous colonoscopies five years and ten years hence. This was welcome news nonetheless because of the uncertainty introduced by the intervening proton radiation.

Thanks to my wife and her conscientous record keeping, I was able to compare the photographs of my current colonoscopy with those taken in 2006. What I saw caused concern. Comparatively the current photographs showed substantially larger and considerably redder blood vessels. In two of the five photographs, it appeared as if bleeding had occured. Accordingly I contacted by physician; the phone discussion developed as follows:

Comment: Please explain the differences between the current photographs and those taken in 2006.

Response: What you see is the result of radiation. Such damage to the colon is concommitant to all forms of radiation.

Question: Is there a difference between the effects of proton radiation and photon radiation?

Response: In my 30 years of practise you are my first patient to have undergone proton radiation. I would say that comparatively speaking you have a considerably milder version of what I typically see.

Comment: Two of the photographs were particularly red; please elaborate.

Response: Those particular areas appeared atypical and required a degree of probing and compression; consequential bleeding occured. No doubt these areas have completely healed by now and should not be a concern to either of us at this point.

Question: How much of my colon has been damaged?

Response: A very small segment in the area of the prostate.

Question: What kind of problems can I expect in the future?

Response: Inasmuch as you have experienced no problems in the past, e.g., spontaneous bleeding, it is unlikely you will experience any problems in the future.
Question: Is the damage to my colon temporary or permanent?

Response: I would be very surprised if it looked much different when we reexamine five years from now. I do not expect further deterioration nor do I expect much improvement.

In conclusion I would say (1) There has been permanent damage to a small portion of my colon that I did not expect based on my (limited) research to date and (2) It may be something or it may be nothing. Perhaps this entry will generate enlightened comment.



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