Colonoscopy time for me

graywings123June 21, 2014

In my efforts to be a healthy senior, I have finally scheduled a routine colonoscopy. I had put it off for years because of the prep, but now that a prep product that has been available in Canada for years is now available in the US, I'm going forward.

I have been doing lots of reading on making the prep easy, and there are suggestions to go on a low residue diet for the days leading up to the prep - the theory being that the less stuff in your body, the less the prep has to remove, and cramping is reduced.

But wouldn't you know it, the healthy diet that is helping me lose weight is the stuff you shouldn't eat on a low residue diet. On the other hand, a few days of guilt-free donuts sounds attractive. And waffles for breakfast!

I've been the driver/waiter a couple of times for other people, so I know the system, and I don't mind anesthesia, so the procedure doesn't overly concern me. But the prep - ugh.

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DLM2000

Yeah, the prep is not pleasant, however I've never experienced any serious cramping. I think it may just depend on your system. I've had 3 procedures and 3 different preps - pills being my favorite but they are no longer recommended or perhaps even allowed here. What is the new one you're doing? You'll be fine, btw - I honestly think the anticipation is the worst thing about it.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:56AM
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violetwest

I didn't have any cramping either. And the worst was drinking the stuff -- not the elimination.

and we have a WONDERFUL endoscopy place in my town -- the actual procedure was most pleasant medical experience I've ever had.

and then they gave me photos of the inside of my colon -- which amused me quite a lot!

This post was edited by Violet.West on Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 10:58

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:57AM
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bestyears

The first time I had a colonoscopy, I swore I would never do it again -because of the prep. The procedure was a piece of cake. But the prep- I was terribly nauseous, vomiting, dry heaving, etc. ALL night... went to my appointment with a raging headache.

Five years later it was time to do it again, and I wouldn't even consider it. This was a dangerous idea, because I'd had polyps removed the first time. So after doing a bit of online sleuthing, I discovered Jacqueline Mitchard's recipe for a foolproof prep. (For those who don't know, her first husband died of colon cancer, and she's made it her mission to help prevent this dreadful disease). She published this recipe after hearing about people like me, who had such a terrible reaction to the traditional prep they swore "never again." I took her recipe to my doctor, who said it was absolutely fine. So, with great faith I made an appointment for another colonoscopy, used her recipe, and never had a single moment of nausea, headache, dry heaves, ANYTHING. It felt like a miracle....

Here is The Recipe -use it with whatever prep your dr. suggests.

Go easy with the food the two days before the test

Mix the prep with ICE-COLD Coca Cola or ICE-COLD Crystal Lite Lemonade.
Cut an ICE-COLD lime in fourths.
Take a swig. Bite the lime.
Repeat.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:06AM
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Sueb20

Yes, I read a tip about mixing with Crystal Light lemonade too -- the day AFTER my DH had his colonoscopy. He hated the prep and felt so sick. I said, you know, all you had to do was look online for ways to help make the prep easier! So now when it's my turn, I'll know. (I'm not 50...for three more months!)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:21AM
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forboystoo

I've never heard of a low residue diet before-hand.
Just stayed away from nuts and seeds.
No cramping here.
My last one required less of the prep drink
and the best part is that I don't remember a thing.

You might want to have a box of wet wipes handy.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:22AM
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jlj48

My husband just had one. He has Crohn's disease and has to have them yearly. This year they changed the prep. It was stuff you buy over the counter and mix with 2 bigger gatorades. MUCH BETTER than drinking the quarts of the nasty stuff from the pharmacy. It was the best prep he had done, although he hasn't had a gatorade since.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:27AM
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tinam61

I've had to have a couple before the recommended age. My husband and I will both be having them in the next few months. I've not had problems with the prep before, but it is alot to drink. My dr. has never favored the pills - I believe there is a danger to your kidneys. There is less to drink now and there is also the half and half method, but I think I would just prefer to do the whole prep the night before and get it over with. Just make sure you drink plenty of liquids. My sister had her first one this year and she got dehydrated - felt quite ill a few hours AFTER the procedure.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:00PM
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graywings123

The new stuff is called Prepopik. It's been available in Canada for years under the name Pico Salax. The advantage of it is that you only have to drink 5 ounces of the solution, followed by 40 ounces of a clear liquid of your choice over the next five hours. Then you repeat the process later in the day or the next day depending on the time of your procedure, drinking the 5 ounces of Prepopik and then 24 ounces of clear liquid. It's not bad tasting, according to a friend of mine who used it.

I had to call around to a few gastro doctors to find one who uses it.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:08PM
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RoseAbbey

I have never had one and I am sixty! In Canada you can have one only if your fecal occult blood test comes back positive is what I have been told. I did have to prep though about twenty years ago when I was tested for cancer in my large and small colon. I had diarrhea for almost a year so I finally went to my dr. They found nothing and I was told it must have been due to stress (I was under a lot of stress then) I remember the prep though how awful that was. You couldnt eat for 3 days prior, only have water and then drink 3 bottles a day of this vile ether tasting liquid. I was so weak at the time of the procedure that I fainted!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:57PM
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bonnieann925

DH and I just had our recently. The prep was so much easier. All the prep products could be picked up at CVS-Laxatives, stool softeners, Gas-X, The low residue diet is KEY! We both found this prep much easier than drining that horrible gallon of goop.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:20PM
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dedtired

I chugged the gatorade with Miralax, preceded by a stool softener. Had to eat only clear stuff ahead of time. After that, it was only a matter of sitting on the throne until everything passes. Bring a book. It was not in any way painful, just unpleasant. The actual procedure was nothing.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:33PM
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tinam61

Gray - what you listed is what my doc calls the "half and half".

tina

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:37PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I had mine about 8 yrs ago. The prep was not pleasant, but I didn't get sick. However, my little bottom got so sore from all the material coming out and the wiping. Vaseline is definitely your friend. I also went on a low residue diet for a day before...I think 2 days before would be even easier.

Also they gave me fentanyl as anesthetic and it had the effect of wiping out my memory entirely for a couple of hours after the procedure. It was good that DH was with me as I had no recollection of what the doc said to me....I had no recollection of the drive home or the phone call I answered or anything else. Very weird.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 6:23PM
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LucyStar1

For my first colonoscopy which was about 12 years ago, I got so sick from the prep that I didn't think I was going to be able to leave the house to have it done. I had my second colonscopy last year. I took Miralax and Gatorade and I was fine. I think it was the electrolytes in the Gatorade that helped me to not get the sick like I was dying feeling.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:31PM
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gsciencechick

I have to have another one this summer. Last year I had my first one, and there was only one polyp, but it was pretty large, so I have to have a repeat to check they got it all.

I did not think the prep was bad other than it tasted like alka seltzer. It was a split prep where I drank the stuff in the evening and then in the early hours of the morning. I drank a lot of Gatorade during the day. The worst part of that for me was no solid food. There is only so much Gatorade, apple juice, and broth one can drink. I felt like I had no energy. By the end of the day every type of food commercial on TV looked like the most wonderful food ever.

I asked the dr's office about the low residue diet. I can see why they said I didn't have to bother because most Americans eat that way. If you eat healthy such as a lot of fiber, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, etc., you may want to look into it. Just Google low residue diet.

Need to call probably this upcoming week to see when I can get it done.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:17PM
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Faron79

My 1st one was last December.
Yeah...for a day or 2 before, there was a strict "menu" to follow. Wasn't bad though...

Then "the prep" started @ 9pm the night b4....24hrs. ahead of scheduled procedure. It was a gallon jug of "Go Lytely"...LOL!
Uffda!
It was hard to keep chugging that stuff! I should've tried the Crystal-Lite! I did use some 7-up & apple-juice too though.

Actual procedure?
Like a breeze! Lightly slept thru 95% of it I think!
My result was totally boring thankfully! Only 1 small polyp removed, & tested as nothing. So...I don't have to return for 10 years they said!

Faron

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:29PM
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annac54

I've had two. Both of them were scheduled for first thing in the morning. I figured I could cheat a little bit on the timing of chugging the prep on the first one and waited till I got home from work to start. Bad idea. Just could not stomach drinking the whole thing that quickly.

Second one was not as bad. Took half a day off so I could start in plenty of time and stretched out the time between drinks to the max recommended. Found if I washed my mouth out with ice water and also drank some after each round of prep, I could handle it better.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 12:49AM
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SheeshareeII

Oh my goodness...... ... I never realized the prep was such a process!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 12:53AM
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ratherbesewing

Graylings:I also had the 6 Oz prep followed by water. It really wasn't that bad - the second dose took a little effort to get down (my 2nd dose was at 2 AM). My friend gave me a hint to use a straw when drinking the prep--it helps you to avoid the taste buds.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 6:21AM
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olliesmom

I've had four colonoscopies. Each one, the drinking solution had gotten better, but still tastes awful. I drank with a straw too, which really helps. I just have to let the anesthesiologist (sp?) know that I get sick very easily and they put something in it, and it's worked. Except the first time, I did get sick since they didn't know. I have never gotten sick during the prep-just would gag after drinking it.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 10:19AM
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pammyfay

Yeah -- if you have a liquid prep, gulping it down extra cold with a straw will help. Also: Someone here or on the Kitchen Table board recommended 2 things, which I appreciated and were beneficial: Trade up for a very soft TP, and baby-rash cream or ointment will be very soothing.

Also remember that you can't drive to the place yourself -- and you need somebody there to take you home, as well (my place doesn't allow you to take a bus or cab, either).

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 1:26PM
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gsciencechick

Sheesharee and others, please don't let the prep scare you from having this important procedure done. I had NO symptoms or family history yet had a large polyp. Just schedule it for a time where you can take a couple days downtime for the prep and the procedure days, again, making sure you have someone to take you and bring you home.

They said I could resume my normal activity, but the next day I was not quite feeling up for Spinning, LOL.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 2:03PM
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outsideplaying_gw

Mine was also about 8 years ago and my experience was almost exactly like gsciencechick's. Two small doses of a drink that wasn't too bad in early evening and early morning. But I was ready to gnaw my arm off by 2 pm the following afternoon! I do not like Gatorade anyway, Jello lost it's appeal after the first 3 cups and I just wanted something to chew! Went to our favorite Thai restaurant and they strained some of their broth for me. Best thing I 'ate' all day. Next time I am going there first and getting a quart or two of the stuff.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 2:13PM
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violetwest

A great pre-procedure recipe is Dr. Weil's garlic broth, which is an easy light soup I make frequently. Makes a nice change from sweet stuff!

.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garlic Broth

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:57PM
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forboystoo

Outside~ I know exactly what you speak...
I only like the blue Gatorade and that's a no-no.

I picked-up my favorite broth based soup and strained it.
Keep the goodies to eat the day after !!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:23PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Of course, to me, the real stunner is how much comes out. I swear I didn't eat that much! But I guess it really adds up....great incentive to start a diet or at least spend some time thinking about portions.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 10:04AM
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tinam61

I think the problem is Annie - how LONG the food can stay in your system (some have more problem with this than others), than the actual amount, although that would certainly be a consideration.

tina

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 10:18AM
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sc-irish

At the time, I delayed.....and delayed having mine done. When I finally got around to it....I found out I could have possibly avoided the outcome had I done it in a 'timely' fashion. Following the directions for 'go-lightly', procedure done, THEN I hear there are issues. Surgery will be needed. In my fog (thank goodness DH was at my side) I made some reference to having the surgery 'when we return next summer'. Nope! This was a Wednesday, and surgery was scheduled for Friday!!!! Thus.....another prep session was in order....only this time, I got the pills! So, so much easier. The end result was that I lost 1/3 of my colon.....but all is good. I kidingly commented to my dear Dr. that this must be the same sort of prep that all the movie stars use just before the Academy Award shows......since I never felt so svelte in my life!!!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 8:48PM
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awm03

Gosh I didn't have any of the problems some of you guys had -- no cramping or vomiting or heaves. I drank some kind of lemon flavored liquid in the evening, and kept good reading material on hand to wait out the purge.

The one thing I'd do differently is to start the flushing procedure a few hours earlier. I was up at 1 am draining the last bits, and had to be up at 6 am to begin the colonoscopy. I'd rather have had a few more hours of sleep.

But on the whole, I was surprised by what a big deal it isn't.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 8:17PM
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hhireno

To help reassure those who haven't done one yet, I didn't have any of the cramping or heaving problems either. The thought of the whole thing is 100 times worse than the actual prep or procedure.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:25AM
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olliesmom

I had no problems except drinking the solution the first time was like 5 huge bottles, and then me getting sick because of anesthesia, but I have learned to let them know before that I get sick with any type anesthesia, and they remedied it by putting something in it. Probably most people don't have that problem anyway.

I think the amount you drink and the solution has gotten so much better over the years. The last three times I had it done, was no big deal at all.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:37AM
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golddust

Just got my letter yesterday. It's time for another colonoscopy. Time flies, doesn't it?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 9:14AM
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graywings123

It's over! My colonoscopy went fine. The Prep-o-pic was as easy and good tasting as reported. I highly recommend it, even if you have to do as I did - calling around to find a gastro doctor who is familiar with it.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 7:53AM
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tinam61

Thanks for reporting back Gray! Glad all went well. I'm not sure what my doc uses (no pills I do know that), but I will ask. I'm not willing to change docs, but hopefully they use that!

tina

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:55AM
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gsciencechick

I am scheduled in a couple of weeks for my repeat procedure.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 4:21PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

So glad for the good news! Thanks for the update. I'm thinking it'll be my turn soon...

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 4:59PM
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bestyears

Well, just went in today for my third colonoscopy in ten years. What a freaking disaster!!!!

This doc uses MoviPrep. I asked him about the Piko Salax at my first appt. with him, but he said he didn't feel it was reliable (which could simply mean he hasn't looked into it of course). Anyway, I explained this was my 3rd time around, that the prep had been horrible the first time, but that the second time, after doing some reading, I'd figured out how to better handle the prep, and it was much better (see above post). So I said, I'd like to do it the same way again, of course. But no, he MUCH preferred the MOVIprep, nobody really has problems with it, and I couldn't use Coke, but Sprite was okay. He seemed so confident that I agreed. MoviPrep is apparently the new style where you take the first liter at 4pm and the second liter at 2 am. Despite following directions to a T, NOTHING had happened by 9 pm -a full 5 hours after the first dosage. So I called the nurse hotline number he'd given me, and the nurse told me to take the second dose right then. So of course I did, right to the letter, and trust me, it wasn't easy sucking down another liter of this hideous stuff on top of the first liter and the 16 oz of clear liquid after. I was ridiculously bloated. Nauseous too, and eventually got a searing headache. I slept from about 10-12, and then the second dose started to work -which meant I was then up, down, up, down all the rest of the night until I left for the hospital, with a horrible headache and nausea.

When I got to the hospital I explained my prep experience, and that I didn't feel I was as fully cleaned out as I had been the first two times, but together the doc and I decided to give it a go. He seemed fairly dismissive of my headache, (said the general sedative they were giving me would take care of it quickly, but he did put meds in the IV for my nausea. And then it turns out that he couldn't complete the procedure because sure enough I wasn't cleaned out enough. And guess what, I STILL had my raging headache. I think the worst part was that he really seemed to think that I probably hadn't done the prep right. Wants to do it again, STILL with the Moviprep, but this time adding an extra 1/2 day on the front end of liquid only diet (instead of just one day), and also I have to drink some magnesium sulfate with the Moviprep. The part of my colon he could see had no issues. Honestly, I can't imagine talking myself into doing another one anytime soon, and it will definitely be with a different doctor.... ugh!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 5:59PM
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graywings123

I'm just coming back and reading your post, bestyears.

My decision was to doctor-shop for one that would accommodate my desire for an easy prep. It took about a half-dozen phone calls around my city, and then lots on-hold time to get to the phone of the specific doctor's nurse to leave a message, then waiting for call-backs from them to find out what prep the doctor used.

This procedure is important and yet invasive and it requires a lot of preparation by the patient. It seems to me that the medical societies for gastroenterology would encourage the doctors to try what is clearly an easier prep.

I also think that doctors could suggest things like eating a low-residue diet in the week leading up to the prep. There is nothing in the prep directions about that, but yet doing that and eating lightly makes it an easier prep.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:44AM
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osagecounty

MoviPrep is apparently the new style where you take the first liter at 4pm and the second liter at 2 am. Despite following directions to a T, NOTHING had happened by 9 pm -a full 5 hours after the first dosage.

I had a similar experience, but after the second dose which I took about 4 hours early things started moving. I think I'd rather go back to the old way of doing it even though it means drinking much more liquid.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 11:26AM
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tinam61

I've had the same GI doc for several years (had gallbladder removed, ulcerations at one point, etc.) and am so thankful for her. She knows of my mom's pancreatic cancer and watches me a bit more closely because of that. I see her yearly. I've also had to have a few of the upper scopes done due to pre-ulcerous (erosion) conditions. She is great as is the staff at the hospital's endoscopy center and really work with you to make the procedure as bearable as possible. Let's face it, it's not going to be pleasant. If they cannot do the colonoscopy (I go to a teaching hospital if that makes any difference), they send you upstairs and do the camera pill test.

Finding a good doctor, one who will listen to your concerns about the test and work with you to make it easier, not dismissing your concerns, is important. Bestyears, I hope you are able to find someone like that and that your next experience is much easier!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 11:43AM
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maire_cate

I had my second colonoscopy last week and my GI prescribed the same prep the Graywings used. It was a breeze compared to the gallon of Go Lightly I used for my first prep.

When I told my GI how much easier this prep was he agreed and said most of his patients have preferred it. All I can say is thank heavens it was easy because I now have to get another colonoscopy in 18 months. I had 3 benign polyps but apparently they were in an area where malignant polyps tend to form and they were a little more difficult to remove.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 5:32PM
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bestyears

I saw my primary today, and was hoping she might say that was a "good enough" colonoscopy, which of course was foolish thinking on my part. She did give me the name of a gastro she likes a lot, and when I logged onto the Prepopik sit, did a Dr. search, and lo and behold, this new gastro is listed. Phew. So I'll probably schedule it in the next month or so.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 8:28PM
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graywings123

Bestyears - the list on the Prep-o-pik website is just a list of gastros in your area. You have to call the gastro and ask if they allow you to use the product for the prep. The first three I called from that list did not use it.

And it takes some time - you call the office, explain what you are trying to find out, then they transfer you to the doctor's nurse and you listen to a long recorded message, then you leave your message and wait for a phone call. At least that was my experience four times over before I found a gastro that said yes.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:15AM
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oldfixer

The last one had better tasting prep, but didn't change the time needed to keep things moving. The actual procedure is simple.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:33AM
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jasdip

Hubby had his prostate removed the end of May due to cancer. I remember him drinking a large bottle of some kind of liquid and some pills. And to drink lots of water. He also had to give himself an enema.

We're in Canada too and I haven't heard of that easy, good-tasting prep. I didn't know you could drink colas, either.

But he had absolutely no problems with cramping, headaches or any other abnormal symptoms, and everything moved quickly.
He's had 2 penile scopes, and he'd much rather have those than colonoscopies any day!

This post was edited by jasdip on Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 8:06

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:42AM
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gsciencechick

Sorry to hear of your experience, bestyears. The MoviPrep worked for me in a matter of maybe 15-20 minutes. It was fast.

Good luck with the different prep.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:46AM
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bestyears

oh gosh graywings, thank you! I will definitely do that then before making an appt.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:34AM
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gsciencechick

I am already home from my repeat procedure. Wow, that was fast. We had to arrive at 6:30, and we were home by 8:30. DH made breakfast. For me, still, being without solid food for 36 hours is the worst part.

Good news in that the large polyp removed last year is totally gone and no more additional. Recheck in three years which is standard. He said with the type of polyp I had, if it were not removed, I probably would have had colon cancer by my mid-50's. So, do not mess around with this and get screened. I had no symptoms or family history.

Going to take it easy the rest of the day. DH is home with me. We'll probably watch some movies.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:14AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Glad for the good news gsciencechick.

I had forgotten about this...just for fun...

Here is a link that might be useful: Dave Barry on colonoscopy

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:42AM
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tinam61

Great news GS! It is a very important test. I know you are glad to get it over with!!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:12AM
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gsciencechick

LOL, the Dave Barry article is awesome. Here the the previous one on the Colossal Colon.

Still working on getting my energy level back and resume my normal eating. I don't have to go back to work until Monday. I re-scheduled my weights workout for tomorrow. But I can't say enough how relieved/happy I am given the outcome of yesterday's procedure.

Here is a link that might be useful: Colossal Colon

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:55AM
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bonnieann925

GS-great news! My DH had a similar polyp. His doc recommended informing his siblings, which he did. They all had colonoscopies to be sure.

Graywings, as I posted earlier, a low-residue diet is key. I am sorry your doc did not include that in the prep instructions. That is one of the top items in the check-list our GI doc sends out prior to the appointment.

We have come a long way to eradicate colon cancer, due to public awareness on the importance of a colonoscopy. The prep has improved so much. I don't understand why some docs do not send out detailed directions on how to eat for the week prior to the procedure. That's sad. There really should be no need to suffer!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 7:03PM
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