For me the worst part of of getting a colonoscopy is right at the start. The weigh in! Hate that part of any doctor visit. But my weight is down a bit and my blood pressure is good, so we're off to a good start.
Then, it's some Q-and-A with a nurse about my health, lifestyle and family history. Family history of colon cancer and even polyps (the growths that can turn into cancer) are very important. If a first degree family member like mother, father, sibling or child has it, they want you to start having colonoscopies at an earlier age and have them more often.
The nurse tells me that 1 in 18 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with colon cancer, which is really too bad, since it's so preventable. Logically, it's a lot easier to have the scoping done to find the polyps and snip them out before the ever become cancer than it is to treat the big C itself.
Then, I get a gallon of laxative called GoLytely. That makes me laugh considering what it does. It cleans you out so the colon is empty and the doctor can see the tissue during the colonoscopy.
Back at home that night, I start the process of drinking the Golytely. It's 8 ounces every 10 minutes that tastes like salty, heavy water. But I got some advice to keep it really cold and rinse my mouth out with
water after every drink. It's not fun to give yourself diarrhea, but it's not as bad as having the flu. There are no cramps or cold sweats. Really, everyone told me this would be the worst part. They were right, but it's not as bad as I feared. Plus, I only did half the night before and the other half the next morning since my colonoscopy was in the afternoon. So, just when I was at the point where I thought I couldn't touch another drop, I was done until the next morning.
The day of the procedure starts with an IV. Then you get those awesome warm blankets they always cover you up with at the hospital. I LOVE THOSE! Then you're wheeled into a different room where the doctor comes in and tells you what will happen. After that, they give you stuff to relax you.
After drifting off into la-la land, the procedure is done. I didn't really feel a thing. I thought I was wide awake for the whole thing, but after looking at the tape to write the story I realized I must have been out of it the whole time.
Finally, I was wheeled back into the first room to sleep it off. The other side effect here is gas, because you need to get rid of the air that's pumped in as they do the scoping. But, it's not typical gas, because your colon is empty.
Then, the doctor comes in and tells you the results. In my case, no polyps at all. I won't have to have it done for another 10 years.
Bottom line, it's so easy it didn't even bother a medical wimp like me. And it's the best way to prevent colon cancer, potentially saving your life.
If you're 50, or if it runs in your family, have it done!
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