My life was changed this month, and I hope that by sharing my experience, it may save yours. I turned 50 in June and decided with the producers of The Dr. Oz Show
to get a colonoscopy to demonstrate to the audience what is recommended and what they could expect. To be perfectly candid, if I didn't have a show to do, I probably would have put it off months, perhaps years. I had no risk factors—no obesity, a nearly perfect diet, no tobacco or alcohol consumption and no family history. I knew the odds as they related to my circumstances and worried about colon cancer about as much as being struck by lightning on a sunny day. But I had signed up for the role of teacher in hosting my show and, out of deference to demonstration, found myself at home drinking a solution to clear my bowels in front of a field production crew the evening before the colonoscopy.
Thinking back now, those were some of my most arrogant moments. I didn't see myself as a patient. I saw the whole process as a twisted form of cinema verite while delivering the ultimate lecture. In fact, part of me just wanted to get it over with and move on to "more important things" like my daughter Daphne's
upcoming wedding at that time, just two weeks away. I had a routine to keep. A 24-hour bowel cleansing and sedation was disruptive. There can be no greater oblivion in a person's life than when self-importance clouds your sense of mortality.
Dodging a bullet and taking control of our health