Ah, the dreaded colonoscopy. The mere mention of this procedure makes everyone cringe. The good news is that colon cancer is one of the most easily detected and curable cancers with early intervention. Also, when you have the procedure, if there are no polyps, then you are off the hook for 5 or 10 years depending on your family history.
This might be too much information but I wanted to share my experience and some tips for making this necessary procedure easier for you. At 56, I had my first colonoscopy last week and I was dreading it.
My test was on Friday, so my official prep day was Thursday. I actually started preparing on Wednesday by changing up my food a bit, eating less veggies and more easily digestible foods. Dinner on Wednesday evening was gluten free spaghetti. I also made sure I had plenty of clear liquids on hand – Gatorade, Sparkling Ice Lemon Lime and Bia Cocofusion drinks. And plenty of water. I purchased chicken broth and veggie broth – both came in handy.
6 AM Prep Day
You roll out of bed knowing that you will have a clear liquid diet – ALL DAY. I rarely think about food much anymore but when you can’t have it, it seems to be the only thing on your mind. All morning, thoughts of cheese grits and plain Lays potato chips were floating around in my head.
I worked from home on Thursday. Had a couple of calls and a file. I took it pretty easy.
Started my day with two cups of coffee with Truvia in them. Hunger came around 10 AM so I fixed myself some chicken broth*. I’ll be honest – it just doesn’t taste the same without the addition of soup or stew ingredients, but I powered through. I was never without something to drink during the day. The broth helped to alleviate the hunger and fill the void in my stomach.
I had been dreading this moment. Luckily, my doctor recommended Clenpiq Solution. There are many unpleasant stories of other methods and products on the internet. Clenpiq is 5 ounces of cranberry flavored prep and tastes sweet but not too sweet. It did not cause any of the unpleasantries that I read about.
Took a few minutes to feed the fur babies, got my pillows on the bed situated along with the remote, covers and my book. I decided that once I took the prep and the required 40 ounces of clear liquids, I would retreat to the bedroom (close to the bathroom) and spend the evening in there. About 30 minutes after taking the prep, my trips to the bathroom increased. I will share that I did not have any cramps, nothing explosive – I just went to the bathroom at regular intervals. It was more annoying than it was horrible and by 10 PM I was asleep.
Time for the second dose of prep and 24 ounces of water. This time my trips to the bathroom were more frequent but around 3:30 I was back asleep.
6:15 AM – Friday Morning
Woke up and got myself ready to head to the Franklin Surgery Center. We arrived at a little after 7 and I was in the OR prep area around 7:45 AM. The staff was amazing. All very chatty, funny and they made me feel completely relaxed. The nurse had warned me to bring extra socks (it was the only thing I could leave on) so I had regular socks on and I put warm fuzzy sock over them. I am cold natured. The nurses brought me three (3) warm blankets and tucked me in like a burrito while I waited to be carted off to the OR.
The hardest part for me was the dang IV in my hand. I have small hands and small veins. It was a bit painful but the worst was the anesthesia going in. I remember it burning and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery.
Everything looked great. The doctor removed a small polyp and I have to go back for another procedure in three years.
What I learned in preparing for my Colonoscopy
- Be prepared – plan to have an easy day. Stay home if you can.
- Have lots of clear fluids (other than water) on hand including broth
- Be ready for the thoughts about food that will pop in your head
- It’s not as bad as you think it will be
- You will be glad when it is over
- Have someone take you, stay with you and bring you home
- Have some of your favorite foods ready when you come home so you can eat them! Scrambled eggs and toast never tasted so good!
- Rest for the next 24 to 36 hours
Here’s to regular checkups and procedures that reduce your risk of cancer!
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*I saw where someone suggested straining the broth from chicken noodle soup and drinking that. I think this would definitely be more tasty. My husband has his colonoscopy on November 5th. I am going to try this for him.