As a vegetarian, non-smoker, fit and not overweight, I feel good about my health. Other than some back and elbow ailments from playing competetive paddleball, no complaints. I was never in the hospital and never had anesthesia.
At age 50 my doctor handed me a prescription for a colonoscopy as he did for the next seven years after my annual physical. My mother and sister have been pushing me in recent years. I am not normally a procrastinator but fear of the unknown of “being under” was the culprit.
Several months ago my mom asked me if I can drive her to visit a cousin in a nursing home in our old neighborhood. She let me pick the day and time. I picked her up and we decided to have lunch first at a local diner. We approached the block and found a spot right in front of her former physician.
We walked in and the receptionist recognized her and alerted the doctor she was here. He spent 20 minutes talking to us despite an office full of patients. Then we walked down the block ready to cross the street to go to dine. On the corner was a hair stylist that we both went to many years ago. We were both hungry and decided to stop after eating.
I looked at the time and said let’s say hello now. So we walked in and he gave us a very warm greeting. His customer was just getting up from the barber chair and I recognized him as the father of a friend I grew up. He did not recognize me and reminded him who I was. I then asked about his son. He said his son was fine. I then remembered he had two other sons that were twins.
“How are the twins?”, I asked. He said looking very sadly, “one of my sons died earlier this year”. Without telling me how, he said to me, “Brian, if there is one thing that you need to do in your life right now if you haven’t already done it is get a colonscopy.” So I surmised his son died from colon cancer.
I left the salon and over lunch was still thinking about this encounter and how everything had to align for me to have met him at the time I did for me to receive this message. Deciding to visit on that day, getting the spot in front of the doctors office and spending so much time there and then deciding to go to the salon before eating.
“Mom, I am going for the test”, I told her. The next day I made an appointment for the proceedure 2 months in advance. As it turned out the prep was a bit uncomfortable, the proceedure was painless and my time in neverland was very peaceful.
When I sat down with the doctor, he told me I was the poster child of why one should go for a colonscopy. I had four polyps removed, all benign, but one was larger than the rest. He said to come back in two years.
Two days later, I got a call on my cell phone and recognized the telephone number as the doctor’s office. I figured it was their office doing routine follow-up. Wrong… it was the doctor.
With a lump in my throat, I asked what was wrong. He told me I am fine but he had to talk to me about something. The larger polyp came back pre-cancerous and if I waited much longer to get the colonscopy it would have likely turned into a serious problem and I am a very lucky man.
So I look towards the heavens in gratitude that the message I received in the Brooklyn hair salon was no coincidence and that I am being watched over. And may this be a message to any person who has yet to have the proceedure that is coming of age.