Friday, January 9, 2015

Colonoscopy: Not as bad as you are led to believe

Lisa and I both had our colonoscopies this week.  There is much information on the inter-webs about what you can expect, how horrible the experience is, the worst case scenarios, and as with anything health related or consumer related you look you find on the internet you should know... the whiners and complainers will be the first to review a procedure or product... negatively.

Here are my tips for getting a colonoscopy:

  1. GET ONE!!!! ...if you are 50 or over and/or if you have a family history of polyps or cancer.  It is the best way to detect colon cancer early and to prevent polyps from growing into cancerous tumors.  
  2. Have a physical and know your medical issues before scheduling your procedure. This will help you avoid the pitfalls of #3.
  3. Don't read the crap on the internet.  It will lead you to believe you already have the cancer, are going to have an allergic reaction to the medication or you are already in renal failure.
  4. Eat a low fiber diet and avoid nuts and popcorn for two days (at least) before you start the colon prep.  Think, as you consider what to eat, "How will this feel coming out... UNDER PRESSURE!"
  5. Use Vaseline on your anus.  This will help keep your but from cracking and bleeding and burning.
  6. The colon prep is not that bad.  The lavage you ingest is not "Nasty".  Its not pleasant or delicious but its not nasty.  You won't feel like you have the flu.  It will literally flush you bowels out.  It is inconvenient but not horrible.  In fact, neither of us found it was that big of a deal.  
  7. Plan to spend time in the bathroom.  Take your iPad, a book, or your phone with you.  Have plans to feed your spouse, kids, and pets during the two evenings before your procedure.
  8. Drink plenty of fluids before you start.  Dehydration is the worst... and it wasn't a problem for us.
  9. They day of your procedure you should plan to have nothing planned.  It will take you a couple of hours at the hospital to be prepped, have the procedure done (you probably won't remember it) and to recover from the sedation.  
  10. Celebrate with a delicious but reasonable meal the evening of.  You won't really want anything too rich but you will want something tasty.  For me it was the most exquisite peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Followed by Pizza... Okay the pizza wasn't the best idea.  I realized this at 3:00 in the morning... heart burn!
It really wasn't that bad.  I will do it again in 10 years.  My colon was healthy.  No polyps. No disease. No CANCER!  However, had it not been.  I would have wanted to know.  That is how I am staying on this path to live past 90!