About That Colonoscopy...

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I just had my first colonoscopy (welcome to 50!), and it was not so bad. Read on for an outline of the colonoscopy prep and procedure, along with my tips for getting through it.

Colon cancer is a preventable thing, and the best prevention is colonoscopy, where a doctor looks at the inside of your large intestine (rectum and colon), checking for growths and polyps. They use a flexible tube with a camera.

I scheduled my colonoscopy for last Thursday, after only hearing bad things about the prep. Here is what happened.

Prepping for the test

It is pretty obvious that your colon must be pretty clean in order to see anything, and the prep involves lots of laxatives and liquids. My doctor's protocol for a Thursday 12:30pm procedure:

  1. No blood thinners from Sunday, five days prior (fish oil, aspirin, nsaids, coumadin).
  2. No whole seeds, beans, nuts from Tuesday, two days prior
  3. Last meal is breakfast on Wednesday before 6am. Only clear liquids after (black coffee or tea, water, broth).
  4. Take 4 Dulcolax laxative pills at 1pm to start things moving.
  5. At 6pm, drink one liter bottle of prepared and chilled MoviPrep (laxative plus electrolytes), 8oz every 15 minutes, followed by 16oz of your clear beverage of choice.
  6. At 6am, repeat above. Then nothing until after.

I get up early anyway, so I had my Shakeology and one cup coffee with milk before 6, and then one cup black coffee. I was hungry later, but was OK with beverages. Teas, coconut water, broth.

I worked until noon, and was home by 1. After the Dulcolax, I had some cramping but no movement.

At 6pm, I started the MoviPrep, which is disgustingly sweet. My strategy was to use a straw and just slam it down the back of my throat. In between and after, I drank 16oz. of warm chicken broth and veggie broth, which helped get that taste out of my mouth. By the end of that, I had cramps and diarrhea (which is the point). Before the end of the night, I ran to the toilet about 12 times.

Not to be gross, but you really will be peeing out your behind, and that is what you want. Ultimately the liquid should be a clear  brownish yellow. I had that by 11:30pm and was able to sleep.

In the morning, I prepared coffee and did the same thing - slammed the laxative and then sipped good, warm coffee to get the taste out. Then I passed that fluid, and by my 12pm arrival at the doctor's office I felt fine.

Hubby came and was my designated pick up person. You are sedated for this, so someone needs to take you home.

The Colonoscopy

I went back, changed into a hospital gown and robe, and met with the anesthesiologist. Then they called me into the room, where I met the gastroenterologist and nurse. As I laid on my left side, they started the anesthesia.

I woke up 45 minutes later feeling fine. They made me eat some cookies with juice, gave me the report, and sent me on my way with hubby.

I was able to eat lunch, although I felt full quickly. I didn't poop for about 36 hours, which is normal. And when I did, it was fine.

My Results

I have no polyps or growths! I do have some hemorrhoids that I already knew about, as well as diverticulosis in my lower colon, which are pockets that can get inflamed. But because I eat so much fiber, they are not a problem.

And I don't have to go back for 8-10 years.

So, don't be scared! The colonoscopy is not so bad, is 100% covered by most health insurance, and really can save your life. Just go!

In my next post, I will share my favorite ways to sneak in as much fiber as possible into my day. And look for a great giveaway from GoMacro bars!