My first colonoscopy came out just fine in the end. (Yeah, I know…comedy is not my strength.) Bad humor aside, I want to discuss the entire process briefly just so you know what to expect. You already heard about my preparations, now you can read about my full experience. Hopefully this helps others feel more comfortable having a colonoscopy.
7 Days Prior to my colonoscopy, I started adjusting my diet. I discontinued all spicy and acidic foods, reduced my fiber intake, and I worked hard to stay well hydrated. Those days were fine, but I did miss foods I really enjoy, like salsa and lots of black pepper. I do feel by taking these steps, it made the transition into the next preparation requirements much easier as I was already getting my mind and body prepared for what was to come. I also purchased all my liquid diet items for the weekend and confirmed with my driver that they could still take me to the procedure. (You are required to have someone drive you to the procedure.)
3 Days Prior to my colonoscopy, I removed all heavy fiber from my diet and softened up my diet as well. I switched to white bread instead of whole wheat, quit eating Cheerios at each breakfast, and moved to hard boiled eggs and bananas. As recommended in my prep documentation, I gave up raw vegetables, fruits with skins, nuts, seeds, etc. My diet for those two days was eggs, bananas, white toast, saltines, creamy peanut butter, lime juice popsicles, and fruit juices. My last solid meal ended at 6:30 pm on Saturday.
1 Day Prior to my colonoscopy, I was on a total liquid diet on Sunday from the moment I woke up. I had lemon Jell-O with peach/mango juice for breakfast. For lunch, I had lime Jell-O, chicken broth, apple juice, and a lime popsicle. For dinner, I had the remaining Jell-O and another lime popsicle. Starting late afternoon and into the evening, I began the medications that cleanse my digestive system. I will not go into details for both our sakes. I confirmed once again with my driver. You have to be sure nothing has altered the plans.
For those who will be having a colonoscopy soon, for 1 Day Prior prep…here are my recommendations that helped me.
- Wear comfortable pants with no buttons or zippers. I wore pajama pants all day.
- Wear comfortable socks or slippers.
- Purchase soft toilet paper and have extra rolls in the bathroom.
- Have flushable wipes in the bathroom.
- Have a warm shirt handy as your temperature will fluctuate. I wore a flannel off and on.
- Set up a table with a laptop in the bathroom for watching movies or binge a tv show. I streamed Almost Human and watched Thundarr the Barbarian cartoons.
- Vaseline is your friend. Enough said.
- Pick a drink to have with your colonoscopy prep you don’t mind hating later. You will mix nasty tasting medications in it to hide the taste. I drank green Gatorade and now have no urge to have that again, at least for a while. I also found keeping the prep drink cold and sipping it made it go down easier.
Day of my colonoscopy. I did NOT sleep much the night before as I was visiting the bathroom often and had to get up super early for the last medication. So, don’t expect much sleep. You have to stop all liquids two hours before you head to the hospital. So, I was done before 5 am and just waiting to head to my appointment. I then showered to make myself feel human again and got ready for the day. Wear very comfortable clothes to the hospital but know you won’t get to wear them there. You, instead, will get one of those wonderful gowns that are open in the back. Driver picked me up and we head out at 7 am.
At the hospital, fill out the paperwork and follow directions of the nurses. The nurses are your friends, treat them with grace and respect. My nurses were amazing (and even sent me a card after the procedure). I am not great with needles and they did an amazing job of keeping me distracted and sneaking my IV in, I never felt it. I got to hang out a while in prep until I went in to the procedure room. The doctors and nurses introduced themselves and positioned me properly. They then started the anesthesia, which I will admit burned a little in my hand, but they said that was normal. I think I asked two questions, then I woke up in the recovery room. I woke up and asked when it was starting to be told it was over. Recovery was a snack, some water, and then getting dressed. I had to be taken out in a wheelchair, as that is required at this hospital.
On the way home, I got pancakes and scrambled eggs from McDonald’s, and they were glorious. The last few days, I have been slowly increasing my food intake. They recommended a simple diet and smaller meals for the first couple of days. I started out only with eggs, toast, and bananas again. Then I added a sandwich on white bread, and more things each day. As of today, I am back to eating normally.
So, how about some medical jargon of what the doctor told me afterwards?
- Mile diverticulosis in the proximal sigmoid colon. There was no evident of diverticular bleeding.
- The entire examined colon is normal.
- Recommendations – Repeat colonoscopy in 10 years for surveillance.
I am blessed. My colon was clean and required no polyps to be taken and sampled. I am lucky and do not need to have another colonoscopy for 10 years if I don’t have any issues until then. So, there you have it, my experience having a colonoscopy. If you have questions or want more details, let me know.