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How a Colonoscopy Saved My Life

The moment I turned 45 years old, I knew I would get a colonoscopy done. I have worked in healthcare for nearly three decades, so I know how important it is. Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the U.S. But a colonoscopy can help prevent that—and I’m living proof!

The process itself is so easy. It is now advised for everyone starting at age 45 and sooner for some people at higher risk. I made sure my husband got his colonoscopy done on time. Then, I scheduled mine for the first Friday after my 45th birthday.

I’m so glad I did. If I had waited, I might not still be here to tell my story.

Preventative Care Works

During a colonoscopy, your provider checks the inside of your colon for polyps. These cells are mostly small and harmless when found early. But some may turn into cancer over time. So, your provider may simply snip them out.

After the exam is over, your provider will let you know if they found or took out any polyps. In my case, the team told me they found a polyp but couldn’t remove it. I could hardly believe it—they said it was the size of a peach!

Tory image collage - with her family

I had no idea anything was wrong. I had no symptoms. I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort. No one in my family has ever had colon cancer. But this polyp was blocking 75% of my colon, so I had to have surgery to take it out.

That was scary for me, of course. But the Holston Medical Group care team was there for me every step of the way. They all worked hard to make sure I was comfortable and understood what was taking place.

Working at HMG, I know why we urge people to get preventive care like colonoscopies. My routine exam turned very quickly into a major surgery, but I counted it as a blessing. If I had waited, that polyp likely would have turned to cancer or blocked my whole colon.

I’m so thankful. A simple colonoscopy saved my life.

How to Convince Your Loved Ones to Schedule a Colonoscopy

Today, I’m on a mission. I beg all of my family and friends to get their colonoscopies once they turn 45. Luckily, many of them have. The exam may also have saved the lives of three of my friends. In each case, providers found cancer early enough to treat it.

So, here are a few tricks from my playbook to help convince yourself or your friends to get it done:

  • I didn’t have symptoms, and you might not either. Most people don’t have symptoms. But most polyps grow slowly and do not start as cancer. So, when your provider finds them early enough, more than 90% can be removed with surgery before causing problems.
  • Most insurance companies cover colonoscopies. Since the exam is part of preventative care, many insurance companies will cover the cost. Talk to your HMG provider. They can help you learn what is covered under your insurance plan.
  • Don’t sweat the prep. The biggest fear I hear is that everyone is worried about taking pills or drinking a liquid — also known as the prep — before the procedure. I can tell you that the prep and the procedure are easy. Think about it as 12 hours that can save your life.

Schedule Your Colonoscopy Today

I’ve had a lot of special moments since my colonoscopy. Looking forward, I hope to enjoy a lot of years ahead of me. And all because I scheduled my colonoscopy.

More than 15 million colonoscopies are done in the U.S. every year. That’s a good statistic to join. So, talk to your HMG provider today!

HMG has two outpatient surgery centers and an outpatient endoscopy center to give people high-quality, low-cost options. Talk to your primary care provider to help you schedule your first colonoscopy as soon as you turn 45. Most people can wait five to 10 years between colonoscopies, especially if you don’t have any polyps.

A few days after the polyp was removed from my colon, I started to feel like my normal self again. The fear that I had before the surgery was replaced with relief. Since my surgery, my providers will see me regularly over the next few years.

I can’t imagine what I might have missed if I’d waited to have my colonoscopy. The recommendation to get one at age 45 is saving lives. Mine is one of them, and I’m thankful!

  • Tory and her husband
  • Tory at Funfest
  • Tory and family
  • Tory with friends and family
  • Tory camping with her husband
  • Tory and her husband

Tory Lorimer is a Senior Practice Manager. She has also spent many years as a volunteer for various events throughout Kingsport and the Tri-Cities area.