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Medical Memories

It’s been a bit silent here over the past few days because I was going through the ordeal surrounding my very first colonoscopy. I won’t go into the details here, because that’s most certainly not why you came. Suffice it to say that I do not have colon cancer as we feared might be the case, but there is still no better explanation for the symptoms I’ve been enduring for many months. Frustrating, but one has no choice but to live on in the interim. I am exceptionally grateful to the many friends who have sent positive thoughts or prayers my way as I continue on this latest medical journey.

What caught my imagination this time around was the post-procedure printout they gave me, complete with 4 full color photos of the insides of my colon. Wow… thanks. And me without anything to give them. I can now add these images to my growing pile of medical souveniers, which includes:

  • This series of 4 color photos of my colon
  • A series of color photos of my uterus and ovary
  • A pair of before-and-after digital X-rays from my shattered kneecap last year
  • An actual X-ray of my ankle, sprained
  • A lab report certifying that I am, in fact, a mutant (I boast a pair of DNA mutations that cause hemachromatosis, a blood disorder)
  • The piece de resistance: an 8.5 x 11″ color photo of the dermoid ovarian cyst I had removed in 2006, complete with a ruler to show the grotesque scale (over 4 inches long).

(I wish I could have seen my face after waking up from abdominal surgery back in 2006. I asked the nurses how the surgery to remove that ovarian cyst went, still drugged, and their response was “Ask the doctor about the color photos!” NOT the sort of response I was looking for. My morphine-addled brain conjured semi-incoherent images of some “Ovaries gone WILD!” videotapes, featuring my tumor. Luckily, that was not to be.)

What on earth do people do with these things? It seems strangely disrespectful to myself to discard these things, especially since such imagery would have been considered miraculous 100 years ago. I don’t see any scrapbooking sets at Target that would nicely complement internal photos – but I have half a mind to create a scrapbook of these items anyway, replete with sparkly stars and puffy paint. It seems like a deranged but valid way of reclaiming those memories – after all, each one of those images were brought about by some sort of need created by accident or illness. Yet in a way, many of the images can be viewed as comforting – I’d always assumed I had a normal uterus, but photographic proof is nice. Especially when everything else seems to be going haywire.

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