Surgery Patient Urges Routine Colonoscopies

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Horizon Health

David Mahan of Indianola has advice for anyone who is experiencing what could be a serious health issue: seek medical treatment immediately rather than wait for it to get worse.

At age 63, Mahan said a routine colonoscopy years ago might have prevented his recent surgery in which half his colon was removed.

“Being a typical man, I didn’t want to go in for a colonoscopy,” he said. “I wish I had.”

Mahan began having digestive problems about a year ago, but put off medical treatment. The problems worsened this past summer.

“I was only able to eat about half of what I used to and would get full,” he explained. “I was having severe cramping with blood in the stool and started to get concerned.”

Mahan’s wife scheduled an appointment for him at the Chrisman Family Medical Center, where he saw family nurse practitioners Danielle Ireland and Samantha Volstorf. They, in turn, ordered a colonoscopy at Paris Community Hospital/Family Medical Center, a procedure Mahan had never had before.

Dr. John Nadeau, general surgeon at PCH/FMC, performed the colonoscopy in September. The procedure involved removing polyps and a small tumor in Mahan’s colon. But the colonoscopy also revealed a much larger problem for Mahan: two large tumors were found inside his colon and surgery was needed to remove them.

Dr. Nadeau performed the surgery called an open colon resection. It involved removing about half of Mahan’s colon that contained the tumors, and reconnecting the remaining healthy parts of the colon together. Fortunately for Mahan, the tumors were non-cancerous and had not spread outside of his colon.

“Dr. Nadeau was concerned the tumors would close up my colon completely so he did the surgery [October 1],” Mahan said. “The surgery went well. Dr. Nadeau always took the time to talk to me no matter how many questions I had.”

Following colon surgery, Mahan spent five days in the hospital and returned home October 6. It was the first time he had been admitted at Paris Community Hospital and called the care he received “fantastic.”

“Everyone went above and beyond,” he said. “I was totally impressed with the whole situation. They were very professional and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

He especially praised the nursing staff and certified nursing assistants who cared for him during his hospital stay. One nursing assistant, in particular, helped assure that his hospital stay was as comfortable as possible, he said.

“They really do care and everyone has a smile,” Mahan said. “The medical care is very good, but the rest of this stuff [a caring and dedicated staff] you can’t get anywhere else and I’ve been to several hospitals, unfortunately.”

Removing polyps can help prevent colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends a colonoscopy be done every 10 years beginning at age 50. People at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer should begin screening at a younger age, and may need to be tested more frequently.

Though Mahan was not diagnosed with colorectal cancer, he still urges others to be proactive when it comes to their health.

“I wish I had a colonoscopy years ago, but we get stubborn sometimes,” he said. “It’s painless and you don’t remember a thing afterward.”

Mahan said he planned to return to his job as an over-the-road truck driver approximately six weeks after his colon surgery.