Monday, December 2, 2019

My First Colonoscopy

I've been having some problems with my bowel movements.  So, I went to see a doctor, who told me I wasn't drinking enough water (which is false...I am drinking plenty of fluids).  She also referred me to a Gastroenterologist.  
After seeing the specialist,  he recommended a colonoscopy.  I'm under 45 years of age, but I have a family history of colon cancer, my cancer history of APL, my gallbladder removed, and a diagnosis of colitis when I was 18.  If you haven't had a colonoscopy yet, you have nothing to be afraid of.  Let me tell you all about my experience (the following may be graphic):
My doctor gave me a kit for what they call the "prep".  Your prep really begins about 7 days before your colonoscopy.  I was told no green tea, no vitamins, no ibuprofen 7 days before my test.  My test was on a Tuesday, so the day before I started my  "prep" kit.  On Monday (the day before), I was only allowed to consume a clear liquid diet. This meant water, clear, strained broth, 7-up, Sprite, or ginger ale, tea (not green tea) and apple or white grape juice.  There were a few other things I could have, but I had to make sure they didn't have pulp, were certain colors, or had food colorings in them.  Orange juice was not allowed, no orange gatorade, but blue jello was okay.  This seemed to complicated for me, so I stuck to ginger ale, canned chicken broth, and water on Monday.  No solid foods whatsoever.
*Note: Your experience and your doctor's instructions could vary.  This is just my experience, and I am not a licensed doctor nor am I giving any medical advice.  This is just my personal thoughts on my own experience.  Please ask your doctor and do not interpret this post as guidance or medical advice.
At 6 pm, I was to start the kit my doctor's office gave me.  It had a container that looked like a mason jar and held 16 fl oz.  There was also a box that had 3 pouches of powder in it.  At 6pm, I took one pouch of powder and mixed it with water to the fill line of the mason jar and had to drink it fully in 30 min.  It was the worst tasting liquid I have ever tasted.  It was similar to the taste I get in my mouth when someone flushed my port during chemo treatment.  Salty, sour, bitter but no flavor.  It was incredibly hard for me to drink this liquid.  After it was done, I had to drink another 16 oz of water.  
After about 1.5 hours, the fun began.  I had the urge to go potty about every 20 min for a few hours.  Its not painful, but its urgent.  After awhile, its just liquid and almost water.  As time went on, the spacing between bathroom trips began to increase, and I could fall asleep for a bit at a time.
Six hours before my test, I had to do it again.  I took the two remaining packets in my kit, mixed them with water to the 16 oz line of the mason jar and drank it all in 30 min.  This time, it tasted better, but it still was awful.  I got it down easier.  Again, I had to repeat and drink another 16 oz of water right after.  
30 min later: I had a bad feeling in my tummy.  I knew there was nothing in it except the medicine I just drank.  Before I could make it to the toilet, the vomit came out with such velocity.  I was cleaning up basically liquid (as I said before, there was nothing left in me at that point) for the next hour.  We lost an area rug, soaked right in and there was 32 oz of yellow watery fluid that rushed out of me.  I drank a bit more ginger ale and had to stop drinking any fluids completely 4 hours before my test.  
When it came time for my test, we arrived at the hospital.  It was smooth sailing from there.  I put on my gown in my room, put my stuff away, and BD was able to stay in the room with my stuff.  They hooked me up to an IV and took my vitals, and off I went.  The nurse was asking me about my Thanksgiving day plans and then she said she was going to start giving me my twilight anesthesia.  I felt a warm sensation from the IV and suddenly I was out.  I woke up and I was in my room again, and BD said I was gone for about 20 minutes.  That is super quick!!!
I was not allowed to drive myself to the test.  I had to have someone there waiting with me to drive me home.  Also, I was not allowed to make legal decisions, work or drive that day, so it was an automatic day off for me.  I was allowed to eat as soon as I felt I was ready.  I did eat a small sandwich when we got home, but then I slept the rest of the day.  I was not allowed to take Ibuprofen for 3 days after the test, because they took some tissue samples to biopsy.

The actual test was fine.  Nothing spectacular to report.  It was quick, painless, and easy.  The prep day (the day before) was not fun, and puking was the worst, but I felt fine as soon as it came out of me.  I was told to repeat in 5 years, which is good.  I'm hoping the "prep" kit 5 years from now does not taste as bad as it did.  I'm also told there are other kits out there, and they are all very different.  They do have the same goal, though: to empty your system so the doctor can see everything clearly.  

If you have a story about your colonoscopy, feel free to share it here.  The nurses told me not everyone throws up, but it does happen.  They said as long as what leaves you is liquid and clear or yellowish, and nothing solid is coming out, its okay.  I was initially worried I wasn't going to be able to take the test because I threw up so soon after taking the 2nd dose of the prep kit.  It all worked out though, and that's great.


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  3. My prep kit flavors were watermelon and mango. The watermelon wasn't too bad, but the mango was very sweet and thick. I also felt the prep was worse than the test but I'm very glad I had it done.