Monday, December 28, 2015

Day 2, Scheduled For Surgery

Joe and his wife Alexandra Christmas 2015
I hope everyone had a great Christmas this year, as I know I sure did. It was filled with laughter, fun, games and most importantly, family. God surely has blessed us in 2015.

On December 10th, I had a scheduled first time visit to a gastroenterologist in Tavares, FL. As some of you may recall from my last blog, I was visiting my family doctor for the referral needed to get up to this point for a specialist appointment.

The appointment on the 14th of December went great. I met Dr. Baskar of the Lake Gastroenterology Associates. The visit with him was short and sweet. He informed me I am a high risk patient, and in much need of a colonoscopy and endoscopy. Taking my hemophilia into account, Dr. Baskar has coordinated an effort with my hematologist a plan of action based on two possible outcomes. An extensive Factor VIII treatment regimen if polyps are found, and a lighter post-procedure regimen if no polyps are found.

Fact: Being HIV positive for over 30 years results in one being a high risk for colon cancer, (coupled with over 30 years exposure to hepatitis C and severe hemophiliain my case). My goal is rewrite the rule books based on colonoscopy screenings for HIV patients not from 40 years of age, but at 35. Many factors play a role in our increased risk, including long-term exposure to HIV antivirals, compromised immunity from exposure to HIV, and it's just the nature of living with the disease for over 20 years.

So the date has been set for January 7th, 2016 in Leesburg, FL. The hardest part of all this that I face is the drinking of the giant jug of electrolytes and no solid food diet. I'm not used to not eating at least something small prior to taking my morning HIV medication, so this should be interesting. Dr. Baskar has informed me that if polyps are found, they will be removed. This is a good thing, and now after months of waiting, we'll finally have a baseline procedure for a 36 year old hemophiliac with HIV, formerly cured of Hepatitis C.

Part of me is naturally nervous and anxious, but the other part is relieved that this procedure has finally been scheduled. I'll know once and for all the results, given my family history of colon cancer as previously stated. I will report back a couple days prior to the procedure to give everyone an update.

This is the final post of 2015, and I just wanted to thank the Hemophilia, HIV and Hepatitis C communities for all their support, warmth and encouragement the past year of blogging and advocating. My goal is simple, to live transparent, so hopefully you can be educated, well versed and ready to tackle any problem that may arise in your own life. As we close 2015, let's not only reflect on the blessed year we've had, but a new on the horizon. God Bless!

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