How Do YOU Spell R-E-L-I-E-F?

Been meaning to post this since last week:

When I was sick with a respiratory crud back in January, my doctor ran some bloodwork on me. It showed some unexpected results:

I was anemic, several points below the minimum normal range. [mild alarm] So my doctor had me do a stool sample card.

Which tested positive for blood. [moderate alarm]

So I got scheduled for a colonoscopy and endoscopy at the Scottsdale branch of the Mayo Clinic. (I'd had both procedures previously in 2004, with negative results, but had been figuring it would be 2009 before I was due for a repeat exam.)

Two polyps were found in the large intestine, snipped, and sent for biopsy.

The good news: The polyps were benign.

The bad news: They were the type of polyps that can turn cancerous if left alone for five or ten years. The endoscopy of the esophagus also showed a small patch of Barrett's Esophagus tissue, which can also turn cancerous over time, at the entrance to my stomach.

So: Relief that my anemia wasn't from cancer. (Best guess is that the anemia was caused by irritation from the aspirin and ibuprofen I'd been taking fairly regularly; I've switched to Tylenol, and the bloodwork readings have improved, though not quite to normal range yet.)

But a certain measure of annoyance that, damn, something else to have to keep an eye on. (The doctors recommended a fresh endoscopy every 2-3 years, and colonoscopy every 5 years.) After having fretted most of my life about my family's wretched history of cardiac problems, now I have to keep a cancer-watch too? Damn.

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