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Please don't reply unless you have at least one good thing to say about a colonoscopy. UPDATE: post 97 :)


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Well, not that everyone was waiting on pins and needles for an update, but I thought I'd update you all anyway.   :)   I did go through with it -- it's done!!  There have been very few things in my

The prep and anticipation is much worse than the actual colonoscopy.  It's not a huge deal! 

Found my Dad's rectal cancer. Probably has given him a few more years. He's 78, just finished surgery/chemo/radiation. Surgery left him all clear.

I used to work for a GI doctor who performed a lot of colonoscopies.  I'm not sure why people are so fearful of them.  Unless they changed the procedures, you'll be knocked out and the recovery seems minimal.  I do have to say though, listen to the doctor when they tell you how to empty your bowels!  It's not a pretty sight for anyone and then you'll have to do it twice.  He was pretty annoyed when people came in for the procedure, went under and then all he could see was fecal matter.  I mean, why bother?  

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Don't cancel. Colon cancer is usually one of the easiest to treat, *if* discovered early enough. I know personally five people who died from colon cancer, including my father. Don't cancel the colonoscopy. It's a mess the day before, but the day of is easy peasy.

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Other than lots of gas, I had no after effects.

 

My nurse told me not to be shy about passing gas as I'd be much better off. So I tooted away with a smile knowing I was doing good.  :laugh:

 

Oh yes, I completely misread the instructions and did not fast for 24 hours, AND I ate nuts and seeds the day before the procedure. Everything was totally fine. The dr could see everything perfectly.  I did do the bowel cleaning stuff correctly otherwise.

Edited by wintermom
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I have to do this too.  My doctor told me that they have reduced the amount of icky stuff you have to drink from 1 gallon to 1/2 gallon.  And he agreed that the prep was worse than the actual event--through which he was knocked out.  

 

 

ETA:  OK, so it is hard enough to make the call. but now I am sitting on endless "please stay on the line" land.  Bleah.

 

Yes, making the call was hard enough!

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Honestly I wake from the propofal nap feeling like I've had the most relaxing night of sleep, and the hydration from IV always refreshingly hydrates my complexion. So there's that.

 

I think I'm up to six or seven now, with a family history of intestinal cancer. The peace of mind is worth the discomfort.

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I have to make an appt. for my first one, too.  I had an intestinal blockage over the summer and my doctor wanted me to have a colonoscopy soon after I was released from the hospital, but we couldn't make it work due to my daughter's DE schedule.  She is too young to drive herself and DH couldn't be in two places at one time.  I've been so busy and have put off calling to make the appt. during her winter break but will do it by the end of the week after reading this thread.  Thank you!  Maybe there will be a few of us having our first one done around the same time!  :)

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I had one at 40 because my mom’s one at 50 found cancer, though she didn’t need chemo. The prep was annoying but not bad at all, really. I did the miralax. I was nervous but it wasn’t a big deal. At all. They found and removed three polyps, so that was good. It really, really wasn’t bad.

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I had to google what exactly this was (I mean, I've heard of it and I know people in my family have had it, but I never knew exactly what it was or how they did it) and what age you're supposed to start getting it. 

 

The more I read, the tighter my "cheeks" clenched in reaction. But then I came back to this thread and read all about long naps and great drugs. I'm not ashamed to say, I'm not only unafraid now .. I may even be looking forward to it! LOL Or maybe not, but at least I'm not fearful of it. What a wonderful PSA and support thread :)  

 

I have another ten years or so to go. Here's hoping the tool gets more narrow during that time.  :huh:

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The propofol nap was lovely.

 

I couldn't keep the prescribed prep down, but the pharmacist gave me the instructions for Miralax and Gatorade and I was able to keep that down.

 

I got an "all clear' and don't have to do it again for 10 years. 9 years now--it's been awhile.

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My dad has never had a problem with them. In fact, as he's aged and the technology has advanced, he's commented that the whole process has gotten considerably easier. He tends to come out of anesthesia with the nurses giggling over him, he gets loopy and talkative.

Edited by BigMamaBird
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Wow, this thread has been absolutely amazing.  I want to thank ALL of you for your comments!  It has been so, so helpful!!  (Probably way more than you realize!!)  It has even brought me some laughs.  I'll be strong and will barrel through this.  First week of January.

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Wow, this thread has been absolutely amazing.  I want to thank ALL of you for your comments!  It has been so, so helpful!!  (Probably way more than you realize!!)  It has even brought me some laughs.  I'll be strong and will barrel through this.  First week of January.

 

Mine is Jan. 3 and it will be my first, too.

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I just had my first one last Friday after putting it off for a couple of years (I'm 51 now).  And please forgive me, I didn't read all the replies so may be repeating something.

 

Once I got to the hospital, I had a great time.  :) I don't know why, but I enjoy being knocked out.  It was supposed to be "conscious sedation" but I don't remember a thing.  It was like a nice deep nap.  I remember asking me to turn on my side, I adjusted my top arm and the next thing I remember is asking for chicken broth in the recovery room.  Then I got to veg for the rest of the day and I binge watched The Crown.  What's not to like?  :)

 

Righto about the prep.  It wasn't super awful for me.  I have two suggestions for this.

 

1) If it's the big gallon of drink, get the non-flavored version.  I did okay with the drink -- could chug down a glass no problem -- but the last swallow when the fake lemon flavor hung out on the taste buds for a brief moment, that's when I gagged and almost threw up. 

 

2) If you want, you could do a practice round in the following way. Do this on a morning when you don't have a lot going on and when you can be near a bathroom for awhile.  Put 2 tsp. sea salt (not iodized salt!) in a quart of warm water and stir to dissolve.  Drink it up within 10-15 minutes.  Tell yourself it's chicken broth as you drink.  Some people chug this entire amount, I usually take about 15-20 minutes.  About an hour after you finish this, you'll be using the bathroom a lot.  You can have something to eat once you start eliminating. 

 

I've done this a few times when I've done what's called The Master Cleanse. I think because of my experience with that, I handled drinking the gallon of drink better.  I think it also helped me that I was on an (unrelated) liquid diet for a bit before the colonoscopy prep, so there wasn't a ton to get out of my colon. I didn't lose any weight at all because of this, I think. 

 

 

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If you pass with flying colors, you can make the same bad joke as my Mom, .... "My Dr. says I'm a perfect asshole". 

 

Funny!  I said they should rename the prep drink "Bottoms Up."  :D

 

 

 

 

My good thing = My prep doesn't start until 6pm the night beforehand.

 

Do you have to do the low residue diet the five days ahead of time?  I actually drank raw milk for the first four days and then when I had to switch to clear liquids, I switched to a lemon/syrup drink for that day.  It think this made my prep time easier because there wasn't much in there. 

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Wow, this thread has been absolutely amazing.  I want to thank ALL of you for your comments!  It has been so, so helpful!!  (Probably way more than you realize!!)  It has even brought me some laughs.  I'll be strong and will barrel through this.  First week of January.

 

 

Well, you don't know how helpful this thread has been to me too. I've been putting this off for far too long. I never thought to ask for a Valium or something beforehand! I need to get back in to my GI doctor and then get everything going. I'll probably have to come re-read this whole thread once a week until the actual procedure. 

 

ETA: If anyone wants to laugh until they cry over colonoscopies, read this Dave Barry column. Make sure your bladder is empty first. 

 

http://www.miamiherald.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/dave-barry/article1928847.html

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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It saved my MIL's life. She got one just because her insurance changed and covered it for free. And they found a mass and it was malignant. She had to have surgery, but no chemo or anything. In a few weeks she was good as new. So yeah. Not pleasant, but worth doing.

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One of the benefits of ACA is that the screening colonoscopy is covered by insurance 100%. At least that’s how I understand it. “Free†being very loosely defined, given the rise in premiums to cover the “freeâ€ness.

 

At least I’ll get a little bit if the benefit. :0)

 

Also good to know, since our deductible is $4000. I didn't have the nerve to get in this year when we'd already met it, and I've been kicking myself. 

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Well, you don't know how helpful this thread has been to me too. I've been putting this off for far too long. I never thought to ask for a Valium or something beforehand! I need to get back in to my GI doctor and then get everything going. I'll probably have to come re-read this whole thread once a week until the actual procedure. 

 

ETA: If anyone wants to laugh until they cry over colonoscopies, read this Dave Barry column. Make sure your bladder is empty first. 

 

http://www.miamiherald.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/dave-barry/article1928847.html

 

I think I'll be re-reading this thread more than once!  And thanks for the article link -- very sweet.

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It saves lives.

 

My dh was so stoned and happy during his that he was laughing and joking. When compos mentis he is pretty squeamish, but when the proctologist offered him the chance to watch along on the tv, he happily agreed that sounded like great fun. It's the only thing he remembers about his.

Ok, I have only read as far as this post. LMAO.

 

I have had many, many colonoscopies - and the last one sounds a lot like your DH’s. It actually was on my birthday, and I have these bizarre memories of the doc and techs singing happy birthday. Soooo strangely weird.

 

After that, my GI doc had me do the kind where you swallow the tiny camera and wear the wireless belt for a day. That’s a whole different kind of weird, there.

 

I greatly prefer the pill prep over the powder. If doing powder, the kind that doesn’t require drinking an entire gallon is second best to the pills.

 

Really, it’s over fast and it’s not that bad.

Edited by Spryte
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I had mine earlier in the year and was terrified because of my dh how complained about how horrible the prep was.  I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't that bad.   I had to drink 16 oz and then two more 16 oz of any thing I wanted over the next hour (even Coke was allowed).  That was the night before and then in the morning about 3 hours before procedure I had to repeat.  It wasn't that bad.  I took my laptop into the bathroom with me and watched Netflix - LOL!

 

The worst part for me was all the waiting at the medical facility.  You know, you get there and then sit for an hour and a half waiting for them to take you back.  I hate that because that's when my nerves get all jumpy.

 

 

I gave my dh a hard time about all the complaining he did before his.  In his defense, he had a different prep and had to drink more.  He was up all night the night before, I wasn't.

 

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I think the pain varies from person to person. I had mine without anesthesia and, while there was some discomfort (felt like cramping) during part of the procedure, I was able to handle it fairly easily. I enjoyed watching and asking questions. My doctor told me there are no pain cells in the colon, which is why I didn't feel anything when they cut out the polyps. Other than lots of gas, I had no after effects.

 

My dad never gets anesthesia with his either.  He wants to see the entire procedure and discuss with the physician.  

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One of the benefits of ACA is that the screening colonoscopy is covered by insurance 100%. At least that’s how I understand it. “Free†being very loosely defined, given the rise in premiums to cover the “freeâ€ness.

 

At least I’ll get a little bit if the benefit. :0)

 

That was my understanding and then I got the bill from the anesthesiologist.  $700 or something like that. So my "covered" colonoscopy wasn't covered unless it was done without drugs which wasn't an option I was given.  They get you coming and going . . . 

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My dh met with his doctor yesterday and they scheduled his colonoscopy for tomorrow!!  I was really surprised at the speedy scheduling.  This is his 4th one, I think.  He has a family history, so he started at 35.  I, on the other hand, haven't had one yet, but need to schedule it and I'm appreciating all the information on this thread.  

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One thing I hadn't added, is that there is only one surgeon in our town and he's a friend of ours and he does absolutely everyone's colonoscopy around here.  He certainly has a "different perspective" on all the 50+ people in our town!  Although in reality he probably doesn't think twice about it.

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This is probably TMI. but I enjoyed the prep phase. I have irritable bowel and usually suffer from weird constipation cycles so it was nice to have an effortless clean-out. This probably makes me weird.  :lol:

 

I just sat and looked at my Baby Blues comic strip books, listened to a little music, no big deal. I wouldn't mind doing one every 3 months or so.

 

 

(I had the pills type of prep and could choose my own beverages)

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I wouldn't mind doing one every 3 months or so.

 

 

Google "master cleanse salt water flush" and you'll see instructions for doing this very thing.  You shouldn't do it too very often, but it's easy to do.  2 tsp. of sea salt in a quart of warm water.  Drink within 10-20 minutes.  You'll get a very similar effect as that which you get from the colonoscopy prep.  If it doesn't work (if you're not using the bathroom a lot about an hour later), the amount of salt may need to be adjusted. 

Edited by milovany
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Google "master cleanse salt water flush" and you'll see instructions for doing this very thing.  You shouldn't do it too very often, but it's easy to do.  2 tsp. of sea salt in a quart of warm water.  Drink within 10-20 minutes.  You'll get a very similar effect as that which you get from the colonoscopy prep.  If it doesn't work (if you're not using the bathroom a lot about an hour later), the amount of salt may need to be adjusted. 

 

Really?! Does this work better than, say, magnesium (I have Natural Calm), or the OTC products? I have a similar condition to jewellsmommy and struggle to keep things balanced. Sometimes it would be nice to just start from scratch, IYKWIM! 

 

:leaving:

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I'm not scared of the procedure, but I'm scared of being really hungry during the prep.  I didn't see anyone mention that yet unless I missed it.  

 

My prep instructions have always allowed jello, broth and liquids.

 

I've never felt desperately hungry during the prep or anything.  Of course, I wanted to eat, more accurately I wanted to eat something better than jello or broth, but that was more out of boredom and habit than real hunger.  I always get so bored of jello that by the end I choose not to eat anything "solid" rather than force down more jello.

 

Wendy

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I had one a couple years ago and it was SO EASY!!!!  They gave me something to relax me, I felt NOTHING and don't remember the procedure. I do remember being pampered by the nurses before and after and feeling very comfortable.  The hardest part was eating jello and drinking gatorade during the prep the day before, since I don't like either.  lol  I also had clear broth which I did like. 

 

Couple of tips:  I chose to not eat huge meals the day before my prep day.  Not necessarily to lessen my trips to the bathroom, but eating light helped prepare me for a day of not eating solid food.  Also, knowing I would be using the toilet a lot, I used Desitin to help prevent irritation.  And moist baby wipes instead of toilet tissue.

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Really?! Does this work better than, say, magnesium (I have Natural Calm), or the OTC products? I have a similar condition to jewellsmommy and struggle to keep things balanced. Sometimes it would be nice to just start from scratch, IYKWIM! 

 

:leaving:

 

 

I don't see how it could work any better than it does. Plus it's not the type of laxative that you can get addicted to (OTC) that you take when you're eating food regularly. I will say that I do this one when I'm on a temporary liquid diet, so I don't have a bunch of stuff in my colon. I haven't done it when I've been eating a regular diet. I don't think it'd matter, but I'm just saying I can't say what the final results will be or if the salt/water combination is as effective with food in the colon.   You DO want to do it on an empty stomach and if it doesn't work the first time, I'd try adjusting the salt (I would think more, but I don't know!) and trying it again another day.  I've only had it not work once and I don't know why it didn't. 

 

Edited by milovany
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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, not that everyone was waiting on pins and needles for an update, but I thought I'd update you all anyway.   :)

 

I did go through with it -- it's done!!  There have been very few things in my life that I've been so nervous about.  It was fine.  I think if I had to do it again (which they do recommend in 10 years), it will feel even easier because I know what to expect.

 

One thing I worried about was drinking half a gallon of Gatorade.  I don't do well with sugary drinks -- I get light-headed and shaky and feel sick.  The surgical nurse informed me that I didn't need to use Gatorade, so I used unsweetened herbal tea.  Wow, that was actually pretty easy!  I watched a French mini-series -- La Mante, and drank my herbal tea for four hours.  

 

The night was... long.  I didn't sleep much.  But it wasn't horrible.  An acquaintance my same age had died unexpectedly a few days earlier from a heart-attack, so that definitely gave my situation perspective.

 

A good friend picked me up at the crack of dawn to drive me to the hospital.  Once checked in and gowned, we were all casually chatting (and the surgeon is a friend of mine) after they put the needle in my hand, when I started feeling sleepy.  "Are you already giving me the sedation?" I asked.  And then I woke up in post-op.  Don't remember a thing!

 

My friend picked me up, I went home, ate canned chicken noodle soup, and slept all afternoon.  By evening I was back to normal.  No side-effects at all.

 

And yes, my results were all good, so that's very good too.   :)

 

Thank you all so much for encouraging me to stick with it!!  I'm really glad I did.  I encourage everyone else who is putting this off to do so too.

 

P.S.  I did allow myself one glass of white wine during my day-before liquid diet.  I figured as long as I had extra water to compensate, it'd be fine.   :)

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Thanks for the update! My husband is getting his first colonoscopy soon and is nervous about it. I'm going to tell him about the herbal tea because he would definitely prefer that over sugary drinks.

 

The herbal tea really made a difference for me.  I don't know how my body could have possibly tolerated half a gallon of Gatorade!  I had lemon-ginger herbal tea.  :) 

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Thank you for the update!  I'm glad it went so well for you!

 

Were you very hungry on the prep day?  That is my biggest concern with the prep.  

 

Strangely, I wasn't very hungry, and I'm the type of person who generally needs to eat as soon as I'm hungry!  I had coffee with honey and cinnamon first thing in the morning when I woke up, and then really made an effort to fill my stomach all day  -- with chicken broth, herbal tea, decaf coffee, chicken broth again, etc.  Also, I didn't plan anything that day, and probably already had the mindset that I wouldn't be hungry.  I didn't start to get really hungry until the middle of the night, but by then I knew the procedure was only a few hours away so that didn't seem like such a big deal.   And I could eat as soon as it was over!  

Edited by J-rap
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Strangely, I wasn't very hungry, and I'm the type of person who generally needs to eat as soon as I'm hungry!  I had coffee with honey and cinnamon first thing in the morning when I woke up, and then really made an effort to fill my stomach all day  -- with chicken broth, herbal tea, decaf coffee, chicken broth again, etc.  Also, I didn't plan anything that day, and probably already had the mindset that I wouldn't be hungry.  I didn't start to get really hungry until the middle of the night, but by then I knew the procedure was only a few hours away so that didn't seem like such a big deal.   And I could eat as soon as it was over!  

 

Thank you!  I hope that's the case for me, too!  Like you, I need to eat when I'm hungry!  

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Well, not that everyone was waiting on pins and needles for an update, but I thought I'd update you all anyway. :)

 

I did go through with it -- it's done!! There have been very few things in my life that I've been so nervous about. It was fine. I think if I had to do it again (which they do recommend in 10 years), it will feel even easier because I know what to expect.

 

One thing I worried about was drinking half a gallon of Gatorade. I don't do well with sugary drinks -- I get light-headed and shaky and feel sick. The surgical nurse informed me that I didn't need to use Gatorade, so I used unsweetened herbal tea. Wow, that was actually pretty easy! I watched a French mini-series -- La Mante, and drank my herbal tea for four hours.

 

The night was... long. I didn't sleep much. But it wasn't horrible. An acquaintance my same age had died unexpectedly a few days earlier from a heart-attack, so that definitely gave my situation perspective.

 

A good friend picked me up at the crack of dawn to drive me to the hospital. Once checked in and gowned, we were all casually chatting (and the surgeon is a friend of mine) after they put the needle in my hand, when I started feeling sleepy. "Are you already giving me the sedation?" I asked. And then I woke up in post-op. Don't remember a thing!

 

My friend picked me up, I went home, ate canned chicken noodle soup, and slept all afternoon. By evening I was back to normal. No side-effects at all.

 

And yes, my results were all good, so that's very good too. :)

 

Thank you all so much for encouraging me to stick with it!! I'm really glad I did. I encourage everyone else who is putting this off to do so too.

 

P.S. I did allow myself one glass of white wine during my day-before liquid diet. I figured as long as I had extra water to compensate, it'd be fine. :)

White wine is a good idea! I’ll be filing that one away for future reference.

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I'm glad you went through it! I hope others will be encouraged by your experience. Like I said in an earlier post, I lost a parent to colon cancer so I'm a huge supporter of early detection.

 

I'm really sorry.  

 

ETA:  It was really everyone else on this thread who did the encouraging!  But I think it's a great thread for anyone to read who is nervous about it.  And again, I'm so sorry for the loss of your parent.   :grouphug:

Edited by J-rap
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Thank you!  I hope that's the case for me, too!  Like you, I need to eat when I'm hungry!  

I'm not a fan of Jello brand jello, so I made my own with white grape juice and Knox gelatin. It's rather filling and didn't make me feel full of sugar. That and broth were enough to keep me satisfied. 

 

And since I couldn't eat, no one expected me to do anything in the kitchen - another bonus!

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