Thursday, November 3, 2011

And how's YOUR weekend shaping up??

(Warning: this post may contain slightly TMI.)

Sunday morning, I will wake up. I will eat nothing solid all day. I will drink lots of Gatorade and clear fluids, and maybe eat some Jello.

Mid-afternoon, I will take a few tablets. Awhile later, I'll mix a packet of crystals into some water & drink it. And expect to spend some time hanging out in the bathroom with some reading material. Repeat procedure until there's no reason to spend time in the bathroom anymore.

When I wake up early on Monday morning, I will take my blood pressure pill as usual, but with only a small sip of water -- no more. No food, no drink at all. Dh & I will leave the house around the usual time, but instead of driving to the commuter train station, we'll drive into the city.

Monday morning, I'm having a colonsocopy. My first. Woohoo!!

I hasten to write that there is nothing wrong with me that has prompted this procedure (& I am hoping very much that things stay that way, knock wood). The only thing "wrong" with me is that I turned 50 earlier this year, & my family dr generally sends all his patients for their first colonoscopy at this age (unless they have a family history of problems, in which case, you go earlier). If I get a clear bill of health, I won't have to have another one for five years.

Dh had his first colonsocopy a few years ago, & points out, "If I can do it, you can certainly do it!" True -- dh & drs are not a very happy combination. He frets endlessly before each appointment (which I have no doubt made for him) & then until he gets the results. His colonoscopy & even his prep were relatively uneventful -- except for the fact that he didn't react well to the sedative they gave him -- got up before he was supposed to & came out to where I was waiting, then had to make a hasty retreat to the bathroom where he was promptly sick, and spent the next two hours in the recovery area, dozing on & off. He has a note in his file to use a different sedative the next time!

Several of my friends have had them & similarly assure me it's nothing & the prep is the worst part. And a few friends, who have had several procedures over the years, also assure me that even the prep is a lot easier than it was 10-15 years ago.

The last time that a nurse popped a needle into my arm (my wrist, actually) & started the flow of drugs that would lull me into blessed stupification, was August 7, 1998, as I laboured to deliver my small, silent daughter. Demerol, I think it was. I was similarly sedated when I had my wisdom teeth out about 20 years ago, & I was put totally under several times when I was a kid & being checked out for kidney & ureter issues (which thankfully have not been an issue for me as an adult -- but which I now know are very likely co-related to the bicornuate uterus I was diagnosed with during my pregnancy). Maybe that's why I have the slightest case of the jitters as the weekend approaches.

Or maybe I'm just dreading the thought of going through an entire day without food, lol. I can get pretty cranky when I haven't been fed. To add to the fun, Aunt Flo is scheduled to show up sometime within the next several days -- and with her always impeccable sense of timing, you just KNOW it's probably gonna be Sunday night or Monday morning. (The nurse at the clinic assured me that they can still do the colonscopy regardless.) And asprin (including ibuprofen, my usual security blanket that gets me through one of Aunt Flo's visits) is verboten the week before a colonoscopy. Tylenol, maybe??

The silver lining, in my mind? I don't have to go to work! -- at a very busy time of year, lol. (You know I HAVE to be pretty busy & stressed at work to be looking forward to a colonoscopy as an excuse to get out of the office, lol.) Friday (11-11-11) is also Remembrance Day here & a holiday for me, so I will only have a three-day work week. Yay!

I realize that most of you are younger than me & probably haven't reached an age where a colonscopy is part of your regular medical routine -- but have you ever had one? Stories, advice to share?


  1. Umm, no. I have had a gascrospy, which is the tube down your throat to check for ulcers.

    That was 10 kinds of awesome.

    I'll be thinking of you!!

  2. I've had two, as I have a family history of colon cancer, so I knew immediately what you were talking about! My mother had it 25 years ago, and I was told to start being checked ten years before she was diagnosed. My sisters have both adopted the "head in the sand" approach to prevention have never been checked.

    I found the prep much easier the second time, and didn't have to starve for too long (can't quite remember). I think I was allowed clear liquid such as clear apple juice or clear chicken broth and barley sugars (do you have them?) before I had to go completely nil by mouth.

    I was not given a GA, so actually remember the procedures, and remember them being uncomfortable, but I was obviously sedated enough that it didn't bother me. I had my first colonoscopy two days after September 11, so at the end, when I was told all was clear, I remember feeling so lucky, with this tremendous sense of safety and security.

    Also, I don't think a cup of tea and sandwiches have ever tasted so good as those I had after that first procedure.

    You'll be fine. I understand concern about the bad memories, but I hope you'll find it is so different that your brain won't make the connection. Good luck!

  3. Nope, I haven't, but I will certainly be thinking of you. Glad you can look at the silver lining of a day off! Always a good bonus. Rest up.

  4. Oh dear. I turned 50 recently. I guess this means my turn will be soon. I hope it goes well for you. My husband had one some time last year and it really wasn't all that bad. He followed all the rules they gave him, so the cleaning out process was not too horrible. Good luck to you!

  5. I haven't yet had one, but my mom and many family have... as my grandmother had bowel cancer. (Come to think of it, maybe I need to have a baseline done now just in case.)

    Anyway, I was with Mom during the prep day and boy, she was an unhappy camper. She drank rather vile looking stuff and she spent her day going back and forth to the bathroom. My advice: find the SOFTEST bathroom tissue you possibly can and/or wet wipes to use. Your bottom will thank you.

    Keeping fingers crossed that it goes well and I know you'll be pleased to eat something yummy when it's all over and done with! Celebrate with a really nice dinner!

  6. I've had, um, more than my share. They're really not that bad. Really.

    Except for that time my blood pressure while under sedation dropped sooo incredibly low that the doctors got a wee bit scared and decided they'd have to redo the procedure the following day. That was totally awesome.

    Good luck!

  7. Routine or not, it sounds uncomfortable. I really hope AF doesn't show up!

  8. Haven't had a colonoscopy, but have done the bowel prep for surgery I had a couple of weeks ago. I wrote about it in great detail, I'm sure to the dismay of many of my readers. :)

  9. I've had a scope before (three times to be exact) and while it's not pleasant, the prep is far worse! Be prepared to spend some quality time in your bathroom. :)

    Good luck!

  10. I'm 38, but have had too many colonoscopies to count (being a 9-year colon cancer survivor). The prep isn't even the worst part anymore, since they don't make you drink as much as they used to, but the starvation is horrible!! Make your husband promise to either eat stuff you don't like, or make sure you are far away from the food and the smell of food!

  11. I hope it all went well and you are recovering now.

  12. Hi there, just thinking of you today, and hoping it was ok. I haven't undergone this myself but I have heard the prep stories ....


  13. So late on this, but wanted to say thank you for posting about doing the prep and getting your colonoscopy. I do research with families at risk of colon and / or rectal cancer, and I feel like sometimes the topic is rather taboo. Every time I see that someone is discussing colonoscopy and colon cancer, I want to thank them - yes, the prep is awful, but the potential benefits are enormous. (I see from your next post that all turned out okay, which is even better!)