OPINION: Going where no human has gone, or wants to go
THIS week an intrepid explorer will go somewhere noone has ever gone before.
They will enter a place untouched by mankind. And the one who will make that journey has my sympathy.
This week I'll have a colonoscopy, a procedure involving a flexible four-foot tube that's inserted into my back side and then moved around a bit so they can see what's going on.
The idea doesn't thrill me.
Four feet doesn't sound that long. Until you remember that it translates to 1.2m.
And if you remember that your school teachers used to bang around a 1m ruler, and consider that something longer than that is going to be inserted into you, it's enough to make you wince.
I'm not expecting them to find anything. I'm hoping that the gastroenterologist will walk away from my thoroughly-explored rectum and tell colleagues that it was the most boring procedure he has ever done.
"Nothing to see here," he'll say, sighing.
That's what I'm hoping for because I know what it means for them to find something interesting.
And I don't want that.
My father right now lies in a bed on the Gold Coast, feeling like garbage and probably cursing the flood of chemotherapy toxins being pumped through his body.
It was only months ago that a gastroenterologist explored his bowel - he followed doctors' orders and booked in his examination when it was due.
They found a fast-growing tumour had sprouted along one of the walls of his bowel.
Expertly wielding the blades, the doctor whipped out a chunk, sewed a few things back together and left my father with a happily-working system.
But while they are sure any traces of cancer would have to be tiny, the speed at which this other one grew alarmed the doctors
Their solution is to flush a horrifying cocktail of poisons through his body.
They ravage my father, but more importantly they ravage the cancer.
It seems so primitive, so inexact. We can't really target problem areas, so the solution is just to pump this monstrous stuff everywhere.
They know it sucks and they know there's no other option.
He knows his suffering is for a greater good. He wants to grow old to see my daughter, his granddaughter, start walking, talking and arguing. He wants to be there alongside my mum, the woman he married more than 40 years ago.
By having this flexible tube inside me, I hope to tell my dad that everything is OK with me.
Once his chemo is done later this year, I hope he'll tell me the same.
We both have a lot of living to do. And it's a living made better if we're lucky enough to have each other.
If he can stomach the brutality of these body-wrenching poisons, I sure as hell can handle a doctor exploring my final frontiers.
But I'll be having words with him if I find a tiny flag in there.