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Welcome to 50

August 21, 2015

I went in for my “welcome to 50”, first colonoscopy, expecting a clean report. Unfortunately, that was not the case. They removed a 2mm polyp and a 4 mm polyp, but said a 25 mm polyp would need surgery to remove. The next week I met with a surgeon, who didn’t have the final biopsy, but the preliminary biopsy said all 3 polyps were cancerous and about 2/3 of my colon needed to be removed. I was in shock. Fortunately, late that same day the surgeon called with good news that the final report stated that all 3 polyps were precancerous, but I would still need surgery to remove about 1/3 of my colon. I set up the surgery for the following week, just wanting to put the matter behind me.

Again, as fortune would have it, I ran into a friend who is a doctor and I told him about my case. He thought surgery was a very aggressive approach for my situation and suggested I get a second opinion. At the same time, my mother contacted her physician and he mentioned that California Pacific Medical Center was doing amazing work in the removal of difficult and large polyps. I canceled the surgery and made an appointment to see my primary care physician to get his opinion. My doctor sided with the surgeon and thought surgery was the best option. Assuming doctors know best, I rescheduled my surgery.

Well good old mom sent my information to California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) and they called the night before my surgery telling me that they could definitely remove the polyp without surgery. I was in a panic as to what to do, but Dr. Chris Hamerski who was at CPMC at the time said if it were him, he would not have the surgery. I went with my gut feeling and canceled the surgery for the next day. Surprisingly, I didn’t have any problem with getting a referral to CPMC or with my insurance even though it was out of network.

Dr. Binmoeller performed my procedure, and he has a unique ability to convey his confidence and wealth of knowledge, while at the same time being comforting. He went into detail on the procedure but in terms that were easy to understand, and spent the time to answer any questions. From my perspective, the procedure was the same as a regular colonoscopy, but from Dr. Binmoeller perspective, it required intense concentration and precision. He was able to remove almost all of the 25 mm polyp with one cut, and removed the rest with a second cut. He explained the fewer the cuts, the better the outcome.

I returned to CPMC 6 months later for a follow-up colonoscopy to make sure there was no regrowth and everything had healed correctly. Everything had turned out well. He also used a newer method called “underwater colonoscopy” which uses water instead of air to inflate the colon. This allows for better access to the entire colon and allowed them to find 4 other polyps that were not discovered in past colonoscopies.

I could not be more pleased with my outcome and with my interactions with everyone at CPMC. I would highly recommend that anyone facing the prospect of having surgery to remove a polyp, to get an opinion from Dr. Binmoeller and his staff at CPMC. They literally saved me from having part of my colon removed and a life time of unknown side effects.

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