Colonoscopy Prep – My Arduous Journey

colonoscopyI had a colonoscopy recently. I can honestly say that I wasn’t thrilled with the process leading up to it, but…I’m glad I did it. My GI doc found a small polyp which would’ve been a bigger polyp and potentially problematic had I waited until the age of 50 to do this.

Before the procedure, I was lucky enough to have a friend to help me. Kathy went through a difficult experience this year. It’s her journey so I won’t share it here, but just know that she was kind enough to help me out and I appreciate her greatly.

Kathy and my GI doc gave me some great tips and tricks to follow to make the prep easier and the process a lot smoother.

Stop all supplements a week before your colonoscopy.

This freaked me out a little bit. Anyone who knows me knows that I am religious about taking my supplements. I am extremely nervous about becoming deficient in anything. My numbers are good. I haven’t lost hair. I am happy about this. Not taking my supplements for a week seemed extreme. After my doctor assured me that I would be fine and there would be no long-lasting side effects from doing this, I began not taking them. I actually missed them and went right back as soon as the procedure was over.

Eat low fiber several days before the procedure.

This is a bit more difficult for a bariatric patient than a normal person, but it can be done. I ate some crackers and some pasta. Yes, I did do carbs. I couldn’t see a way around it. They didn’t kill me and I didn’t eat a ton. I did notice though that I was hungrier eating low-fiber and wondered if my old diet was part of my problem back in the day. Heck, I didn’t wonder. It was just further proof that I made the right decision to have the surgery and that I like the way I eat so much better now. My body complained a little bit, but that’s okay. It was only a few days.

Go clear the day before procedure.

Clear is no big deal for me. I went clear before my bariatric surgery. I knew what to do. Some people have a hard time with this. I didn’t. My doc’s instructions were for clear liquids and jello, but I was allowed no red or purple anything.  I guess it could interfere with what she’d see. I was doing the two-fer, an endoscopy and colonoscopy so I don’t know for sure if you need to ‘go clear’ for just the colonoscopy, but if you can manage it, it will make things easier.

Take your prep solution, but you don’t have to like it.

Damn. I was given something called Suprep. It tastes terrible, like Robitussin that went bad and was salty and kind of vinegary. So gross. I needed to do two rounds of it, one at 5pm the night before and one at 2am the morning of. I did not enjoy this at all. If you can try to get something else for your colonoscopy prep, I’d recommend it. If you have to deal with it, then trust me, this is the worst part of the entire process. It’s doable and manageable. You will get through it, but you’ll be like…ick.

Use diaper cream and flushable wipes.

Yes, I’m going here. There is no reason for me not to other than the TMI factor. If you know me, you know that is not a deterrent. Kathy told me to get flushable wipes and to rub myself with diaper cream before the Suprep kicked in. It was a lifesaver. The flushables are much gentler on the skin and I ended up not feeling raw or inflamed back there. That was a wonderful gift. Take the tip. You don’t have to tell anyone. You’re welcome.

Be there on time for your procedure and relax.

I always get there early, but you can be on time. I got pushed back because of something out of my control and out of my doctor’s control. This pisses me off to no end. I had a hard time regulating myself. I’m bipolar. I was hungry, had dry mouth and teary-eyed because I couldn’t take my meds pre-procedure. I was a wreck. My hubby tried to get me to relax to no avail.

Looking back now, I wish I did relax more before because it was NOT a big deal. My GI doc is a pro at this and well, I can’t imagine it going smoother. I can tell you that getting a colonoscopy can save your life so talk to your doc about it especially if you have a family history of polyps or colon cancer like I did. 45 is fast becoming the new preferred age to do it. Many people still wait til 50. Don’t. It’s not worth playing Russian roulette with your life.

Okay, I’m off the soapbox now. I hope it wasn’t too TMI for you.

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