Colonoscopy - I did it!

trianglejohnJuly 30, 2008

Every once in a while someone posts a question about Colonoscopies and I wanted to post a comment about my recent experience. I had the proceedure done a few days ago. It was easy and nothing to be afraid of. I would do it again if there ever is a need to. Maybe my experience was different than others because I went to specialty clinic that just does colonoscopies and endoscopies, they line up a bunch of patients and kinda move us through like cattle - sounds harsh but it was very efficient and all the techs were very good at keeping you calm and reassured. Everything was explained very well so at no time did I get upset or worried - I understood what to expect. My only wish is that they wouldn't feel obligated to be so formal in their speech (in my world, a stool is something to sit on!).

The biggest problem was going without food for an entire day and night, and I'm a big eater. But I survived it, you can eat jello (no red or purple) and drink any clear liquid so I drank Ginger Ale and ate lime jello all day - after the first 5 hours it wasn't that big of a deal. I even traveled with some friends and they ordered fast food while I was in the car and it didn't bother me at all. I didn't do the harsh liquid prep solution, instead I was given 32 pills to take in two sessions, one the evening before and one session early the next morning. The pills are the same size as a vitamin pill and even though I hate to take pills they were not a problem. The effects kick in about an hour later and you get diarhea. It isn't the same as catching a stomach bug - no cramping or sickness, just runny "stools". I've had worse without taking pills. In an hour or so it was over and I was clean. The next morning you do it again before you go to the clinic. Once you get checked in they knock you out and do their thing. You wake up 45 minutes or so later and have someone drive you home, in a few hours you feel fine with maybe a bit of gas (they explained this at the clinic so I was expecting it,, actually I was expecting it to be much worse).

I think the people that have a worse time of it break the rules and eat something so their "runny stools" experience is more dramatic.

I pretty much a wimp, so I just wanted to say to anyone out there hesitating to have this procedure - Do It! Talk to your doctor about taking the pills instead of drinking the medicine. And just listen to them while they explain it all to you.

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I agree, a colonoscopy is nothing to be frightened of, the prep the day before is much worse than the procedure, a whole day on the toilet with nothing to eat.

You are in lala land during the procedure, the worst I ever felt was a bit of light cramping in my abdomen, but you never feel the "entry" of the scope. Definitely get this done, it can be a lifesaver.

I wish I had known about the pills last year when I had mine, drinking that liquid was the absolute worst.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 8:47PM
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I have had a total of 14 sigmoidoscopies and colonoscopies (a large polyp was found and they removed pieces at a time and biopsied each piece.) Fortunately, the latest one I had revealed no polyps. And I totally agree that the prep is the worst part - the actual procedure, especially if given good drugs, is no big deal at all.

Re: the pills. I've asked for them several times instead of the ghastly prep liquid, and am always told that they do not do nearly as good a job of cleaning you out, and for the best test results I needed to drink the prep. I gag easily, and do each time, never gets any easier.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 9:22PM
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I just had my 4th colonoscopy this year. I have to do the full liquid cleansing each time. The scope part is really easy.

I just say it is all worth it not to have cancer.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 1:20AM
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What kind of anesthesia did you have? My husband's insurance company doesn't cover general anesthesia, but they cover what's called "twilight anesthesia" which is not as invasive, and you're not as sick afterwards.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 8:46AM
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I thought they called mine Twilight but I was completely out. One minute I was talking to them (asking if they'd heard any good jokes lately...) and the next minute I was waking up in another room. Other people have told me of remembering the procedure and of not being completely out. I can't say enough nice things about the clinic I went to, though I don't know how far that praise goes since so few people reading this can travel to this town to have it done here. I can tell you that if anyone in the future tells me that the pills don't clean you out good enough I will whip out my photos from this current procedure and ask them how much cleaner I would need to be.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 1:47PM
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I am at risk for colon cancer so have colonoscopies every five years. The doc found a polyp during the first one so that was removed. The prep is the worst. The last time, after finally be fully "cleansed" and able to drink clear liquids, my DH asked if I would like some tea with cinnamon in it. Of course. BAD DECISION. Cinnamon will bind you up. So, then I'm having stools with cinnamon in them. Had to go get a couple of Fleet enemas as I was worried that all that work would be for naught and I'd have to do it all over again.

So,, no cinnamon. Fair warning.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 11:45PM
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All right, I am scheduled for both an endoscopy AND a colonoscopy on the same day at the end of October. Triangle John, what were the pills you took in lieu of the liquid hell they call Fleet? Was it a prescription or can I get it at a drugstore?


    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 4:06AM
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Part of what I took was bought over the counter. I guess it was just a regular laxitive. I didn't keep the package but I believe it was called Ducolax. The only thing different is that they had me take more than what was reccomended on the package. These pills were taken first before the clean out pills which I thought were called Movi-prep but I didn't hang on to any of the packaging for them either. Whatever clinic you are scheduled to visit can tell you. When I got my perscription it had both the liquid and the pills listed at the top with a simple check box beside each. The doctor checked the pill area. It wasn't something that I got to choose but I believe if you ask them they might allow you to choose, especially for your first visit.

There are all sorts of techniques to taking the liquid (that people have told me), chilling it, drinking it with a straw, mixing in Crystal Lite non-red flavoring... again, the nurse assigned to answering your questions can explain it all to you. I don't think there is any difference in the outcome - they both clean you out real good. Some doctors just prefer the liquid over the pills.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 11:04AM
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Good post - this is something people put off and shouldn't. I have to have colonoscopies every 5 years due to family history of colon cancer. I've had one polyp removed but subsequent times had none. I understand it is still important to have the follow-up as my mother's colon cancer had formed from a flat lesion rather than a polyp.

Did find out I had diverticulosis with one small area of diverticulitis for which I took antibiotics.

I've always had the twilight anesthesia which was fine - I was awake but didn't care! No bad feeling from it later at all.

Had both the ducolax (first) and then Miralax prep mixed w/64 oz. gatorade - less than I had to drink the first times.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 6:53AM
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The colonoscopy I was supposed to get at the end of October is pushed back to December, and they did give me a prescription for pills instead of the nasty liquid. I dread drinking that more than the procedure itself! Thanks for the tip!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 1:49AM
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I can't beleive all this hullabaloo over a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy for a human is like an oil change on a car. Routine. Of course there are risks in any hospital procedure, I'm not dismissing that. But if all goes right, the worst part is the prep.

My advice to anyone is: the night of your cleansing, wear adult diapers to bed.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 5:32PM
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Well, I wish mine would have been that easy!! They didn't put me under and I wondered why. The doctor said he couldn't continue with it as there was a sharp "curve" so they sent me to xray for the "old time" test(forget what they called it) that they used to do before the colonoscopies. I had to drink a terrible white liquid, then waited a while, then they did xrays. I would have preferred the colonoscopy to that! That was my first test. Everything was ok but I wonder how they would take off any polyps if they had been found. None were found thankfully. I do get IBS every so often.
Hope this doesn't scare anyone away from getting a colon test...I am probably the only person that that has happened to! lol

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 10:39PM
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I'll ditto what OP said, it's not nearly as bad as I'd feared. So much depends on what you do leading up to the test. I'd read a few tips that were helpful:
I'd read that some good foods to eat the day or two prior to starting the "cocktail" include: Scrambled egg whites, dry white toast, green tea, grilled chicken breast, plain baked potato, lemon Italian ice, apple or white grape juice, graham crackers, baked fish, rice, banana, plain bagel, coffee with sugar only, Lemon or lime Jell-O, Chicken noodle soup, crackers, Beef or chicken broth, ginger ale. Avoid fats, dairy products and high fiber foods.

Use a straw to drink the "magic cocktail" and put it as far back in your mouth or throat as you can in order to avoid tasting it. I had to drink my 32 oz. Gatorade & Miralax mixture 8 oz every 10-15 minutes. Set the timer as the time goes by fast. Don't answer the phone :)

Also, keep some vaseline with the tp as the cleaning out period can create a sore bottom.

The people at the clinic are very aware it's a sensitive procedure and that modesty is an issue. At no time did I ever feel exposed or uncomfortable. The staff was terrific. I remember being asked to roll on my side and then don't recall anything until waking up 30-40 minutes later.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 4:28PM
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I had one but no drugs - it was a nightmare and I'll never let them do it again. Knock me out or forget it!!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 11:40AM
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I think the "twilight" medicine is Verced. It's is an amnesiac drug. Meaning you don't remember anything. My husband not only doesn't remember the procedure, he doesn't remember getting coffee after or the ride home.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 7:47PM
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This morning I was telling my husband I need to have a colonoscopy since it's been 6 years since my last one.

This afternoon I found out that my sister has colon cancer.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 1:57PM
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