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Diagnostic path - feeling at sea

jhgregg
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2018

Hi all,

I feel at sea in choosing a diagnostic path forward without clearer advice from my GP.  I’m posted overseas for work in a country where it’s evidently routine and easy to add all sorts of different blood tests at will to your blood panel.  But the GP seems simply to shrug and say that sometimes the tests may be indicated and sometimes not.

It’s admittedly hard for me to articulate my symptoms to the doctor.  I’ve had localized twinges, mild soreness, or discomfort (I tend to think I wouldn’t go so far as to say “pain”) in my lower left abdomen for 7 weeks or so which sometimes seems to move and sometimes seems to present more when I twist my torso or compress the area by raising my knee.  When I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago he went right to suggesting colonoscopy, but I haven’t had a recent physical (43 year old male) and right now we have a comprehensive physical with standard blood panel, occult blood test, abdominal ultrasound, x-ray, etc for tomorrow.  But he says my symptoms aren’t distinct and consistent enough for him to strongly prefer one path over the other.

I’m imagining that regardless of tomorrow’s results, if the discomfort persists I’ll end up doing a colonoscopy anyway.  It’d be my first.  But having had no serious health issues before I find myself caught between the anxiety of not knowing and the anxiety of pursuing a whole set of tests that the doctor can’t tell me clearly are indicated or not.  Am I a hypochondriac?  I’ve not faced this situation before and wonder if others have had similar thoughts.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5004
Joined: Jan 2013

Here is a questoin. Are you prone to blowing every ache and pain, out of proportion? If the answer is no, then I would say you are not a hypochondriac.  Your body is telling you something is wrong. It may not be Cancer, and we're all praying that it isn't, but something is wrong, so doing what you have to, to find out what it is, is not a bad thing. 

Good luck tomorrow with all the tests, and pray that something innocuous shows up and you can go your merry way and never have to visit our forum again. 

But, if you find that you have the dreaded C, then we are here for you, every step of the way. 

Tru

Twinzma
Posts: 223
Joined: Jan 2018

For years and years and years I had a sharp pain in my side that would come and go. Test after unplesent test I finally found the right GI. He found that I had a hyper active Galbladder. Most doctors even dismiss this as a normal condidtion. He sent me to the right surgeon and I have been pain free for several years. I actually had one doctor flat out tell me I needed physciatric care! YOU know your body and when something is wrong. If you don't get an answer or resolve, seek someone else until you do. 

Since this will be your first colonoscopy know that it isn't as bad as the prep. The fluids you are given the day before are not pleasant and then you are in the bathroom for hours as your insides are completley void of all waste. When you wake from the procedure you will pass lots of gas, not painful but embarassing. 

Ugur
Posts: 62
Joined: Mar 2018

Colonoscopy is the only answer to your question. I know it sounds like a very unpleasant procedure, but trust me, having cancer is way harder to handle. The earlier is the better in this situation. 

I am 28 yo male, and I had horrible abdominal pain with an unusual diarrhea. I visited two different doctors about it and nobody predicted such diagnosis before colonoscopy. All my test results were looking like I was a healthy person before the colonoscopy. 

If I were diagnosed just 1 month prior than the reality now, the things could have been much easier in many aspects.

Right now, I am a stage 4 colon cancer fighter and waiting for my first unexpected surgery.

I hope you won't have to hang around here, but if you will, we are here.

Good luck with your diagnosis and even if you have something else, keep us posted

Ugur

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 1015
Joined: Aug 2013

Before I was diagnosed at 49, the only symptoms I had were occassional spashes of blood in my stool, and an ache on my right side that I later learned to be appendicitis. 50 was the standard age to get checked, but my 80yo father was diagnosed when my symptoms were occuring. Then I learned my dad's sister had died of CRC, and I knew I should have been checking for it much earlier. The price of ignorance about my families history has cost me a ton, physically, emotionally, and financially. If I were in your place, I'd get all the tests and the scope. The hassle involved with that is tiny compared to the hassle of being late to find out. Good luck...................................................Dave

BRHMichigan's picture
BRHMichigan
Posts: 368
Joined: Jul 2017

I agree. I also should have had a colonoscopy years before I did at 53. After diagnosis I found out my paternal grandfather had CRC, although he survived it. But also two maternal uncles died of CRC, and my maternal great grandmother had it. How in earth wasn't this info shared with all of us? No clue. 

Of course, many have no family history of it, even more reason to go for it. I didn't mind the procedure at all. Even the prep really isn't that bad 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5004
Joined: Jan 2013

The older generation (we're heading there) did not speak of such things.  My non-biological grandfather died of Bowel Cancer, and I remember it never being mentioned because, well, bowels are gross. 

Allot of lives lost to the inability to talk about our bodies. 

Tru

BRHMichigan's picture
BRHMichigan
Posts: 368
Joined: Jul 2017

That is a great observation, Tru. My mother was one of 10 children and we all knew there was cancer in her family, but didn't discuss specifics. Because of my diagnosis, one of my nephews opted for an early colonoscopy and they found some polyps. Had he waited...? 

jhgregg
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2018

Thanks to those who took the time to respond.  I’m likely having a colonoscopy as soon as it can be scheduled but am waiting for the doctor to get back to me with some of the lab results from my physical and an indication of what the wait would be.

In the meantime the general physical seems to have turned up nothing out of the ordinary, including upper gastic endoscopy - though I am waiting until at least Wednesday for FOBT and a few other lab results, as I said.  Obviously that test is important.  The main thing that is so challenging is the waiting.  I don’t think I manage this sort of stress well, which is probably what really motivated my original post in the first place.

zx10guy
Posts: 240
Joined: Dec 2013

You had an upper endoscopy but didn't get a colonoscopy?  Doesn't make any sense.

Also, I don't understand why you have to wait on the results of a FOBT.  My GP did it right in the office and was able to tell me right away that it had come up positive.  That's when he immediately referred me to a GI specialist.

jhgregg
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2018

It just so happens that in this country (Japan) acomprehensive physical often includes upper as a matter of course, due to the high jncidence of stonach cancer here.  Colonoscopy has to be scheduled separately based on indications.  In my case I agreed w my GP that we’re scheduling it on the basis of the lengthy unexplained abdominal discomfort.  As for the FOBT, I admit I can’t be sure but I did note that unlike the card test I did once prior these samples went into a solution in the bottom of the collection kit.  To be sxamined in the lab kater.  Not sure if this description makes senseto others here but it’s certainly the case that some thjngs are just done differently here.

zx10guy
Posts: 240
Joined: Dec 2013

What's your ethnicity?  If you're Asian, then I agree an upper endoscopy would probably be in order.  I'm Asian coupled with having found H. Pylori in my system made it necessary for me to go on medication and also have an upper endoscopy.  My GI doctor who is also Asian said H. Pylori is a risk factor for stomach cancer along with being Asian.

If you're not Asian and don't have H. Pylori, I don't understand why your doctor is treating you as an indigenous person.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6347
Joined: Feb 2009

Not sure why the endoscopy, but you definitely should have the colonoscopy.  That will help determine if there is anything in the colon that isn't picked up by other tests.  Not all blood tests are accurate for indicating cancer in the colon.  If they do the scope and find nothing, then maybe an MRI might be the next step to determining if something is going on.  Hope you get the answer to the problems.  Thanks for keeping us informed.

Kim

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