Colonoscopy in a few days -- what to expect?

pammyfayJuly 19, 2013

Picked up the prep (Movi-whatever) for my first-ever colonoscopy. Big box. Scary big.
So assuming I get it all down and, um, all out, what's the "big day" like? I'm getting a tad nervous.

Walk me through it, if you remember it despite being "out," pls. (The anesthesia is the only thing I talked to the doctor about, never having been under any anesthesia before.)

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Hellion

The prep is the worst part, but make sure you take it all. If not they may not get good view and pictures and have to do again. Don't be nervous, they give you drugs now that you can't remember a thing! They give you the drug and the next thing you know they are saying you are all done. I had the movie prep also. I mixed mine with iced tea. Don't do that...use the crystal lite or something else suggested in the packet instructions.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 6:03AM
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grandmamary_ga

Well its no big deal. I've had several colonoscopy's. First of all the hard part is the prep and its not that bad. I know that many people are scared of this but its easy. So relax. Take the prep and then wait. Things don't happen too fast but when they do make sure you are near a bathroom and prepare to stay close by. I remember the first one the doctor came out to see me and said all good, now I'll see you in 10 years and go have some breakfast. I had no problems with mine. But have had a couple more because of different problems I have had and new doctors just want to check everything out. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 6:07AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Pammy, there is nothing to fear....believe me. The movi is the worst part of the whole thing. Keep it icy cold and it helps.

The day before.... you've been told to ingest nothing but clear liquids....it can be in the form of jello, bouillon tea, popsicles, etc. Nothing red or orange.....it's my excuse to eat banana popsicles all day, lol. A combination of things helped me. I made lemon and lime jello a day ahead just to have something solid.

You will be hooked up to an IV after you get taken to the procedure area. You'll be allowed to keep your socks on, haha! Everyone who has anything to do with your procedure will pop their heads in to speak to you. Ask any questions you might have.

Once you get wheeled to the procedure room, things happen pretty quickly. You'll be asked to turn on your side....you'll be told when they start to turn the good stuff on....and then you'll be back in your little dressing room with whomever drove you. You'll be more than ready to enjoy a good meal on your way home and you can pretty much eat whatever you want.

My husband and I have been through several procedures between the two of us, and have never remembered a single thing. You will be out...but you will not have the kind of after effects that you would with general anesthesia.

Again....the worst part BY FAR is the Movi. But follow your doctor's instructions and don't be tempted to listen to others who think they know better.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 6:26AM
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sleeperblues

Yup, worst part is prep. A word of warning. don't decide to take a hot bath because you are freezing after drinking all that prep. No matter the configuration of your bathroom, it's a long run to the toilet. Ask me how I know.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:30AM
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kittiemom

DH had his first last year. He says definitely the prep is the worst part. The soft food days were also difficult because of not being able to eat whole grains, fruits & veggies - the complete opposite of the way he normally eats. I bought him a lot of lemon & lime Gatorade, Jello, & sorbet. The procedure itself went very smoothly. He was definitely ready to eat on the way home.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:50AM
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FlamingO in AR

I had a colonoscopy last week. I also used the movi-prep. It was very hard getting that down even though I kept it ice cold and used a big straw. 8 ounces doesn't sound like much until you're drinking something that you just don't want to drink. Before I got the fourth dose down it was starting to work so don't have any plans on prep day. I ate very lightly the day before prep day and just had a little broth and jello on the real prep day.

Get some gentle wipes to help with soreness. Plan on spending lots of time in the bathroom. This prep works really fast and really well. I started my prep at 2 PM. I wanted to be able to go to bed at 10 o'clock and sleep so I just moved my schedule ahead a little bit. That worked out really well.

The actual day of the procedure, it's very easy. They gave me shorts and a gown and socks to change into. Everyone was very kind and friendly and professional and there was no embarrassment involved at all. I was a little dehydrated by then, because you can have anything to drink that morning, and that made me a little shaky and weak and tired. I hope your appt is early in the day!

The drugs were excellent. I don't like being out of control like that because you're really awake but you just don't realize it. DH said I talked to him for 15 minutes but to me, I was still asleep- I don't remember the procedure or the first bit in the recovery room at all. He told me some of what I said and it's all blank to me.

I was hungry when we left and so we ate on the way home but after that I didn't feel really great, a little crampy and sore, so I took a nap and just took it easy for the rest of the day. The next day I was probably feeling about 80% normal but the day after that I was perfectly fine.

So yes, the worst part is that junk you have to drink. I never thought it would be that hard to choke it down but it was. But once that's over the rest is easy. Good luck.

This post was edited by FlamingO_in_AR on Fri, Jul 19, 13 at 9:26

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 8:26AM
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chi83

I had one a few years ago and totally agree that the prep is the worst part. I vaguely remember opening my eyes during the procedure, looking at the screen and thinking "wow that's weird looking" before going out again, lol.

Where I had it done, afterwards they wheel you into a room with other people and tell you that you can't leave until you pass gas! Luckily I was still pretty out of it but I think it's hilarious that so many people were in there doing the same thing.

The prep is the worst part and the meal afterwards is the best part!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 9:25AM
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jayokie

I have to get my first-ever colonoscopy scheduled soon (my work schedule is double crazy). Appreciate the tip of starting @ 2 pm so you can get some sleep. I can't stand broth so will have to stock up on something I can have once I get the directions. I've always heard the prep is the hardest....good to have that confirmed.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:30AM
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chisue

Eat lightly the day before the prep. You'll be hungry at first on the day OF the prep, but once the laxitive starts working, you won't be thinking about being hungry. As Sleeperblues says, you may get cold while you are 'cleaning out'. You are going to go, and go, and go.

I put two of the citrus flavor packets into my prep and didn't chill it very much. Position a straw towards the back of your mouth so less prep mixture can be tasted by your tongue. (Not so far back that you gag.) After each 8 oz. I sucked on a Lemon Head candy until it was time to drink the next 8 oz.

Drink the WHOLE THING. You don't want the doctor to say you're not clean enough for the test and have to do this again!

You'll be dehydrated when you arrive for the procedure, but they will start an IV quickly to re-hydrate you -- probably in your left hand.

I tell the anesthesiologist *in advance* that I don't want Versed -- the 'wipe your memory' drug they often use. I believe they give me Propofol (sp?). With Versed, you may wake disoriented and not remember *anything*, including what the doctor tells you after the procedure. With Propofol, you're alert as soon as you wake up.

Your doctor will come in to tell you what he saw and what (if anything) he did. He may have found pre-cancerous polyps and removed them, in which case he will probably want to examine your colon again in 6 - 12 months. He may have *pictures* to show you! He may find zip, nada, nothing except a healthy colon, and you're good to go for years without another procedure.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:37AM
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susanjf_gw

lol..wait till you have one in hospital... had gone into er, they admitted me and then left me starving till the drs made up their minds, lol...was given a few clear things that at least got the hunger part under control then plopped this gallon jug in front of me! gross! this time i'm taking kidney friendly supprep...yes, i'm repeating everything cause I waited too long and had to be be rechecked for any pollup stems they might have missed! so count yourself very lucky!!! I must admit this anathesia was much easier to come out of than when I had lumpectomy...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 11:00AM
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SunnyDJ

I've had one and will soon be scheduling for another...I think the main thing is not to eat a heavy meal the day before the prep..And also keep very soft tissue or wipes handy.....I didn't feel like eating but after my daughter had her's, we stopped to eat and then she just didn't feel her best, so kind of watch what you eat....

Also, just think, if they take pictures, you can always send them out as Christmas cards.......

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 11:43AM
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mboston_gw

I had mine on a Wed., Tues. was prep day but on Monday I ate my regular breakfast then went on a clear diet for the rest of that day. Had broth, jello, drank tea with sugar, and so prep day wasn't so bad. No cramping as soon say they have when they eat alot so that they won't miss eating on prep day.

Two suggestions - I could use crystal light instead of the packet of stuff they included for flavor - check and see if you can. Makes it taste better. I was also allowed to chew gum inbetween so that helped with the aftertaste. Popscicles are great as is jello. Definitely use a straw.

Coat your bottom with vaseline once the prep starts working. Helps with not getting sore.

Whatever you do follow the directions... a friend was scheduled to have one and she decided to eat a small amount of a Ceasar salad on the day of the prep. The doctor asked her afterwards, was the salad good - he smiled and said, well good I'm glad you enjoyed it cause now we will have to reschedule you again sooner than later.

Some people say they have alot of gas afterwards but I didn't and I felt fine the rest of the day. Didn't do much and ate lightly that day as I was afraid to overload my stomach. Resumed aerobics class the next day.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 3:05PM
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matti5

On prep day, set up a little table in the potty room with magazines, book, lap top, etc.. My best tip is using gentle wipes and A & D ointment. Things will get very irritated, very quickly and both are soothing, especially the A & D ointment.

My prep said to start at 3pm, but I started earlier because I wanted to get to bed by 10 or so.

I remember nothing of the procedure and felt loopy all day, but in a good way :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 4:19PM
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southerncanuck

I have to go every year, this will be year 11. I don't know what all the fuss is about. It is the most pain free procedure I have ever had.

A bladder cystoscopy for a male, now that's painful, monthly injections deep into the knee and hip joint now that's painful. A colonoscopy is a walk in the park and the happy juice is a bonus. Reminds me of the 70's.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 9:59AM
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jannie

My doc recommended a three day prep. For 2 days before, eat lightly, not a lot of vegetables and meat, day before fast, liquids only. I drank a lot of broth and soup stock. No red liquids or cola or coffee. Take the pills they give you and drink the prep solution as the doctor prescribes. Be ready to hit the bathroom every half hour. For the day of the procedure, just relax.You'll be sedated so you won't even remember the "procedure"..Try to schedule it for the morning. Last thing I remember was talking with a nurse. Then it was all over, I was groggy but hungry. Hubby drove me to a diner and I enjoyed a big breakfast. Not that bad.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 10:21AM
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Vickey__MN

Okay, I'm going to add .. Buy some desitin..keep "that area" lubed so it doesn't get too sore. Otherwise lots of good advise. Oh..invest in good soft toilet peper..dont go cheap this one time if you usually do, and some buy the adult versions of diaper wipes. You'll be happy the next day.

This post was edited by vickey__mn on Sat, Jul 20, 13 at 18:47

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 6:27PM
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duluthinbloomz4

All good advice. I feel like a veteran, have had one at the recommended intervals since turning 50.

The best thing to remember though, is... the least glamorous procedure known to man can pretty reliably catch any problem early on and spare one from losing a foot or two of colon or prevent a horrible death from colon cancer.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 7:46PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

I agree with Southern Canuck. I skipped the advice and suggestions offered by friends and decided to tough it out in every respect. No added toiletries or special materials of any kind. I bought some 7-up, thinking it might help with the large volume of fluid to consume and wound up sticking just to water.

AND....it was a cinch from start to finish. I thought I was about halfway done with the cleanout before realizing I was all done. The procedure itself was simple, I woke up at the halfway point and watched the TV screen with the doc.

I'll violate my own view and offer one bit of advice - drink the liquid at room temperature, you'll get a stomach ache before finishing if it's cold.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 9:12PM
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Hellion

Pammy? How ya doing? You wrote this post on Friday. When is the procedure? I am sure you got detailed instructions on what to do before the procedure and hope you followed them.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 7:28AM
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pammyfay

Hellion -- getting ready to dash to the store for some Desitan ointment or similar. (Thanks for that tip, folks!)

It'll be done on Tuesday. So today's being spent just picking up around the house and cleaning the bathrooms.

Will be eating light today and tomorrow. Jello's in the fridge; chocolate is waiting on the counter for the day after the procedure!

What I want to know now is, why do those manufacturers of the prep stuff make them taste so bad? I bought some Crystal Light lemonade to give me some relief after chugging the stuff, but really -- can't they figure out a way to make them more palatable?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 1:23PM
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FlamingO in AR

I bought some of the instant lemonade too but didn't use it- it already tasted like lemon but seemed a bit thick and salty, too. Tasted just like what they would give you to induce vomiting. ð i figured nothing was going to make that crap taste better. Mine was so cold that I got a brain freeze from chugging it so after the first dose, I let it sit on the counter. It works fast, be advised. And be sure to follow it up with more water after you've gotten down the 4 cups

After all the prep, I didn't care that I couldn't eat. Food was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to go to sleep.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:58PM
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Tally

Expect to feel cleaner than you've ever felt before.

Expect to remember them putting in the IV needle.

Expect to remember waking up.

That's all folks!

Oh, and expect to treat yourself to a really special meal afterwards. I always get the first appointment of the morning and I make hubby take me out for a HUGE breakfast after.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 9:35PM
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Hellion

Eat a normal sized meal. You will be very hungry and no stomach upset at all, but trust me....eating a meal larger than normal may not be a good thing.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 5:14AM
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jannie

And remember you are doing a VERY VERY GOOD THING for yourself. I've had 2 relatives die of colon cancer. Both could have been "nipped in the bud" but they were afraid of doctors. One actually bragged that he would never have a colon exam.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:38AM
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pammyfay

So I'm a couple hours away from heading to the medical facility. Thank you all for your advice!

Here's something for the next person a little antsy about the procedure: Among all the forms they have you fill out is a family medical history. I thought I knew a bit about our history, but it's surprising what relatives just forget to tell you (whether it just skips their mind, or they come from a generation where you referred to diseases as, say, the "C" word). I didn't even know that at least one sister has had some polyps -- which is extremely important to know!

Also, I knew that my maternal grandfather (whom I never knew) had diabetes, but I didn't know until 2 days ago that he had colon cancer, as well. (You'd think my sister would've said something once she knew that I'd scheduled my procedure!)

Needless to say, both of my sisters will be put on the hot seat next time I talk to them. I'm going to find an extensive checklist on family medical histories online and go line-by-line with them.

(PS: The MoviPrep was gross but I didn't have a problem getting it down; some sips of lemonade in between helped. I did wake up in the middle of the night with a horrible lower-back spasm; I don't normally get those, so don't know what that was about -- maybe I just turned wrong getting up -- but that's over now.)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:42AM
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chisue

Off you go! Good luck for a just plain happy, healthy colon -- nothing 'interesting'.

Anyone else following this thread: I've been hearing that almost all polyps are in the lower portion of the colon anyway. Do people with one normal colonoscopy really need more than a sig to follow up? (Some of these 'tests' are so heavily benign that I wonder about the real need for them, over and over.)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:14AM
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sjerin

Well, my mom had a sigmoidoscopy (sp?) and it missed her cancer. Since she had several nodes involved, we're quite lucky to have her still with us more than ten years later. :) Good luck, pammyfay!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 1:06PM
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