Each year, Michael Moore and his friends travel to balmy Costa Rica for days of paddleboard surfing along the glorious coast.

The laughs, drinks and waves almost became a missed opportunity for Moore this year after a visit to the doctor turned into a referral for a long-overdue colonoscopy.

Dr. Daniel Hall

Hoping to get his blood pressure under control, Moore saw his primary physician, Dr. Daniel Hall of Novant Health Oceanside Family Medicine and Convenient Care in Shallotte, North Carolina.

When asked about his last colonoscopy, Moore hesitantly responded to Hall with “never.”

At 65, Moore had yet to receive a colonoscopy. The procedure is advised for people 45 and older. “I waited so long because we feel like we’re indestructible,” he said. “You don’t have any symptoms and so you just put it off.”

Hall has heard that before. He strongly encouraged Moore to get the screening, and Moore complied.

Dr. Charles Rice

“Preventive medicine is very important and colonoscopies are recommended solely for preventive services,” Hall said.  In this case, that push lead to the procedure and the discovery of a large mass on Moore’s lower intestine that needed to be removed immediately.

Dr. Charles Rice Jr. of Novant Health Gastroenterology Brunswick encouraged Moore to schedule surgery to remove the mass as soon as possible.

With his mind still on his impending trip to Costa Rica, Moore worked with Dr. Mark Tillotson of Novant Health Surgical Associates in Carolina Shores to make sure he’d recover in time to hit the tropical waves of Costa Rica in March.

Tillotson removed a foot of Moore’s colon and his appendix to make sure there were clean margins.

Dr. Mark Tillotson

Moore believes that Hall saved his life by strongly advising him to get his colonoscopy. He also credits Rice and Tillotson for acting quickly so he had enough recover time for his trip.

“I’m glad it worked out for Michael and he followed recommendations because a lot of times people don’t listen,” Hall said. “It really was a team effort among Michael, the other doctors, the nurses and myself.”

With the colonoscopy and surgery behind him, Moore is looking forward to continue the tradition of the trip to Costa Rica along with a new tradition — a routine colonoscopy.

Colonoscopies are an important part of preventive medicine when getting older. Get the preventive screenings you need and talk with your physician about getting a referral for the procedure.