Colonoscopy!

One of the joys of getting older, up there alongside getting shorter and growing hair in all the wrong places, is the dreaded colonoscopy.

Mine is tomorrow.

I don’t know why I feared getting a colonoscopy (mine is tomorrow). We’ve not had colon cancer in the family, and I have no reason to suspect anything is wrong. But something about the whole nature of having a doctor probe you there; it feels a bit like expecting every bad physical you’ve ever had, wrapped into one.

I’m going to admit something. I know some people are going to be very concerned about it, but I’m a big believer in admitting things that make us uncomfortable, especially when we know what we’re feeling is silly. But my doctor is a woman, and I’m a bit uncomfortable with that. Not that I think female doctors are somehow worse than male doctors — I’m not stupid — but I don’t really like being undressed in front of women. And it puzzles me, as a gay man, why that’s so.

I always thought that the reason people we’re prudish, besides from society drilling these silly lessons into your head (don’t show off your body, and NEVER to the opposite sex!), was that there was a bit of a sexual something involved, at least internally on the prude’s side of things. Thus, it would be easier for men to go to men for massages, go to male doctors for physicals, and the like.  (And I realize that women go to male doctors all the time and dont’ have issues with — or do they? Any women out there ever feel this way, or is this a guy thing?)

Digestive tract via Shutterstock.

Digestive tract via Shutterstock.

Here’s why my reticence surprise me. The thing is, I’m gay. So there’s zero sexual tension from my end in this entire experience. Something else is clearly going on inside my head, and I suspect it’s society’s subtle little lessons, built up over 50 years, expressing themself. And logically, it surprises me that it bothers me. But it kind of does. And I’m admitting it, because I know it shouldn’t bother me. So there.

So far so good. I finished about half an hour the first of two nasty little doses you have to drink in order to cleanse your system, as it were, before the procedure. My procedure is 230pm tomorrow, Friday. To prepare, you need to fast, kind of. For breakfast this morning, I was ordered to eat only two eggs, a piece of dry toast, have a cup of coffee if I like, and that’s it. The doc was letting me eat a little something for lunch, as I tend to get low blood sugar. I opted for a slice of turkey from one of those packages.

Otherwise, you can drink clear liquids, and eat clear liquidy things like yellow or green jello, or even clear gummy bears of the same colors. The idea is not to fill your intestines with lots of stuff that might get in the way of the doctor’s scope, with camera attached, looking for polyps, or irregular growths on the inside of your intestines. These growths can, sometimes, but certainly not always, become cancerous.

In addition to not wanting you filled with “stuff,” they also don’t want you drinking anything that isn’t clear, especially things that are blue, red and purple, because the color can look like blood in your intestine, and fool the doctor into thinking something is wrong, or masking that there really is blood, and the doctor can’t see it through the various colors.

So, you drink liquids throughout the day, including Ginger Ale, chicken broth, or green tea. And you can eat jello, but pretty much nothing else.

Then, around 6pm the night before your procedure, you start drinking the first dose of the garbage that empties you out. In my case it’s called Suprep, and it’s supposedly much better than the “other” stuff.  You basically mix 6 oz of Suprep with another 10 oz of water, then guzzle all 16.  After that, over the next hour, you drink 8 oz of water every 15 minutes.  Then, or possibly earlier, the fun starts.  The fun, I’m told, lasts a good two hours, then hopefully you’re free until the next morning.

The next morning, five hours before your procedure (something to keep in mind if you think a morning procedure sounds better, it might not be so good waking up at 3am in order to revisit the Suprep all over again), you do the next dose of Suprep and the fun begins again.

They say drinking some broth right after drinking the Suprep helps to cleanse your mouth of the taste. It does, but only to a degree.  Supposedly eating lemon first helps to kill the taste too. I'll try that one tomorrow.

They say drinking some broth right after drinking the Suprep helps to cleanse your mouth of the taste. It does, but only to a degree. Supposedly eating lemon first helps to kill the taste too. I’ll try that one tomorrow.

I do have to say, the stuff is pretty vile. The taste isn’t that bad, it’s just nasty medicine-y. But 16 oz of the stuff definitely throws your stuff into a tizzy, and can make you a bit nauseous.  Afterwards, you definitely have a queasy feeling that something isn’t quite right.  Then, I’m told, the fun begins.  (Oh, and they say the Suprep goes down a lot better if you mix it with pop instead of water, but someone forgot, and mixed it with water before he remembered.)

I may or may not report back before the procedure. I understand that during the procedure itself they put you under, so once you wake up a friend has to take you home.

Okay, so we’re hitting the one hour mark, and the nausea is definitely building.  I definitely won’t be giving you a blow-by-blow of the next few hours, but I hope to check in between now and the procedure.

It’s funny, but I think the hardest part of this, at the moment, is that I’m under a bit of stress and really want to eat some comfort food.  In my case, homemade chocolate chip cookies or brownies.  And of course, that’s the one thing I can’t do at the moment is eat.

This must be what it feels like to be a smoker.

PS I had considered not writing about this at all — TMI and all — but 1/3 of people who should get colonscopies, don’t. And I figure TMI is worth the price if it takes some of the taboo away from these things. So here you are :)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • KathleenKennettiel

    until I saw the paycheck which said $8694 , I didn’t
    believe that my sister was like trully erning money part time on there
    computar. . there friends cousin had bean doing this for only thirteen months
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  • Jim Olson

    I want to know nothing about this. Put me out. Wake me when its over.

  • djny10003

    Want to hear something gross? When I was getting ready for a colonoscopy, I weighed myself before and after drinking all the stuff (mine had a different name). I lost FOUR POUNDS in one night!

  • Butch1

    I was wondering if anyone was going to get that.

    You’re welcome! ;-)

  • HaHa

    I almost forgot to call and make my dentist appointment. Thank you for the reminder!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzw1_2b-I7A#t=126

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  • Butch1

    They could have tested your blood if you started feeling a little “low” just to see if your glucose numbers were too low. There are ways of correcting that without giving you any food.

  • Butch1

    “Is it safe?” ;-)

  • Butch1

    Congratulations. I’m sure that was a relief.

  • Butch1

    I won’t spoil this for you, though it can be an experience if one remains on the positive side. Depending upon how much anxiety you think you may experience during the test, there are plenty of medicines where you can either be awake or not. I watched my exam and there were only a couple of places where the scope was slightly uncomfortable. I chose that word because I think it is really the best one to use. The test was not painful to me in the least. If you don’t want to know a thing about it, they can accommodate your wishes and you’ll awake with it being over.

    Make sure you have a friend with you to drive you home or if you are in DC you take a taxi home. It’s still better to have someone with you since you have been medicated.

    That gallon drink, no matter how much they say it tastes like which ever flavor you choose still has a vile taste. It’s a taste one never forgets. I think the test is a “piece of cake” compared to that vile drink.

    Best wishes,
    Butch

  • emjayay

    Not 16 or 18?

  • Palto

    I’ve been going since I turned 35. I’m 50 now. Colon cancer runs in my family and they always find polyps when I have them done so this procedure really is a lifesaver. It’s no big deal either. I hate going to the dentist more.

  • LADY MABELINE

    My husband keeps yammering about when I am going to schedule my scope. I keep putting it off. I hate the prep. He told me I can just sit and read People magazine. I am more of a Dorothy.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Good News!

  • Clevelandchick

    My mom passed from colon cancer, two years after, I had a little blood, so I went in for an exam and schedule a colonoscopy. Because of the family history, I was a bit panicked, so I didn’t eat anything for 24 hours before the prep, just drank water.

    The misery of prep lasted a lot longer than 2 hours for me, more like 5 or 6. Could not leave the bathroom at all. We picked up one of those padded toilet seats and those Cottonell wipes (I highly recommend those over regular TP). I brought in a tray table for my laptop.

    My doctor was male, which made me really uncomfortable, but there were no female specialists in my insurance network. I think the worst part was the rectal exam at my first appointment before the colonoscopy was scheduled because they put you on this tilt table and there was a young male along with the male doctor intern observing the whole thing. If it wasn’t for the female nurse there keeping me calm and making jokes, I think I would have been a blubbering mess.

    I wasn’t knocked out for the procedure, put in a ‘semi-twilight’…I remember watching it and boy was that trippy. While it wasn’t sharp pain, it was extremely uncomfortable. But was grateful to learn when it was over that I was 100% clear (not even one polyp) and 1,000% relieved.

    Probably not the best thing but, after not eating for over two days, on the way home I asked my husband to take me out for a big fat cheeseburger. Best cheeseburger I’ve ever eaten.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Quick update: I survived. Doc found nothing, which is great news. The nasty suprep didn’t t do it’s job so I had to run to the pharmacy and buy another 16oz of something horrid to chug 90 minutes before leaving for the doc. Ugh. I’ll write an update tomorrow. Safe for another ten years :-)

  • ThomasTallis

    Or the old German clockmaker who was trying to fix a clock that would only go tick… tick… tick… “We haff vays to make you tock.”

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Vee haff vays off making you talk!

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Doing family history research, one of the best documents to get are death certificates. They often have a wealth of information, including parents names, spouses, next of kin, place of birth, etc. Things that are generally not all found in one spot with other forms of documentation. Well, those certificates obviously also include cause of death. Going back to the mid-1800s, for those family members who didn’t live long enough to die from complications of old age, about half died of heart problems, and the other half died to colon cancer. I figure I can’t be too careful keeping an eye out for those things.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    My doctor is an old German guy. When the last thing you hear before the lights go out is a thick German accent, “Ja, zis one is ready for the procedure…”

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    I normally hate being put under too, but my doc uses Propofol. It’s the only thing that I’ve had no problems coming out of. I woke right up, perfectly alert, feeling like I’d just had a nice nap. No residual effects. Whenever I’ve been put out with other things for procedures in the past, it’d take me about an hour to come to enough to leave the doctor’s office, and couldn’t even walk out to the car to go home. Then I’d be loopy, nauseated, and have a headache, for the better part of a day. I think a lot of it depends on the skill of the anesthesiologist too. Some will just crank you full of whatever they’ve got to guarantee you’re out, and others are more careful about tailoring a measurement specifically for each patient.

  • Rambie

    My doc insisted on knocking me out. I’ve had one when I was having a bunch of intestinal issues. Wasn’t so bad, they had me use a huge thing of generic Miralax mixed into two 2 Litre bottles, it wasn’t icky at all.

    Next time I’ll hold my ground… I hate anesthesia too.

  • HeartlandLiberal

    No big deal. Last two times over past 12 years, I did it with no anesthesia. Just grunt hard at the first time, and after that it is all down hill. Well, uphill, maybe, but you get the point. I hate being put under, and decided there was just no point in it. Doctor agreed both times, and everything when just fine without.

    FWIW, both times found polyps, but both were not the dangerous kind. Snipped and removed to be sure.

    The first time, watching the whole thing on the monitor, I waited patiently till the doctor, a woman, snipped the polyp, then let out a yelp as if I had felt it. Freaked her out. Then she realized I was having my little fun with her, and I thought she was going to smack me. A good time was had by all.

    If you are fifty or older, and have not had a colonoscopy yet, what are you waiting for. Having had a relative and known friends who died of colon cancer, I guarantee you you should damned well be motivated to indulge in this simple preventive diagnostic tool.

  • MerryMarjie

    Thinking about you today, hope everything goes smoothly.

  • Mike F

    Oops…”…operation was on MONday”.

    Hope all went well, Mr. Aravosis. My GP gave me a prescription for this procedure when I last visited him a month ago. Mine will likely come in July. Huzzah!

  • zadig

    You won’t be loopy or anything but you’ll have a happy glow and drowsiness and a generally positive outlook on life for the rest of the day. It’s great.

  • emjayay

    I had a couple of sigmoidoscopies, which is a colonoscopy lite, and I think losing popularity. You are only half out and can watch your insides on TV. Two colonoscopies, both fully out. I think there is some difference between docs/anesthesiologists, like with knee arthroscopy, which I’ve had both ways.

    Had different preps, all end up about the same. I’m thinking: and people think a “cleansing fast” is a thing? How about an instant, well a few hours, cleansing. I’m pretty sure you are about as cleansed as you can get!

  • emjayay

    You’ll see. I predict you will be much more brain impaired for a number of hours afterward than you think you are. Of course, they want to boot you out the door as soon as you can stand up to free the space for the next patient these days.

  • emjayay

    At least $1100 if not twice that. For some odd reason, the whole cost in European countries is a apparently far less.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Close your eyes and imagine your doctor is George Clooney? Sorry that’s the best I’ve got. :-)

  • just_AC

    John, hope you had luck on your procedure!

    Besides the prepping, the thing Ihated most was waiting for the procedure to start. I’m diabetic and it wasn’t scheduled till 11AM. About 12:30, the lady next to me leaned over and asked when my appt was and what it was for. Told her 11 and colonoscopy – she said hers was for 11 too and it was a neck surgery. I looked at her and told her we were going in front and back or top and bottom. Got in at 2:00 – he was doing 18 surgeries that day!

  • harrymattachine

    But if your doctor is a woman, hasn’t she been doing annual digital rectal exams already? Plus, with enough Versed on board, you won’t remember a thing.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It takes THAT long for the anesthesia to totally wear off?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Cute.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yep, that’s what happened to me when I had my cataract surgeries. I thought they put me under without telling me. In fact, it’s retrograde amnesia. The second time, when I told him I was upset he put me under the first time without telling me, he explained it, and it happened again!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    LOL thanks

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    When I had my cataract surgery, I couldn’t remember it. The next day, I apologized to the doctor, because I knew she needed my cooperation. She said I was very cooperative and never shut up during the whole procedure. When my husband had his cataract surgery, the doctor swore he was breathing through a hole in the top of his head. He talked even more than I did.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I’ve never had a problem seeing a woman doctor. I always figured that was because I was gay. Now, that I’m reading how some of you guys feel, I don’t know why I feel that it doesn’t matter.

    Actually guys, I had the most trouble with a male doctor. My GP is about ten years younger than me, and I was very use to him. I developed recurring prostatitis. The GP thought it would be wise to send me to an urologist. It turns out the urologist was male, but also handsome, well built, and he had a killer smile. During the examination, I had an involuntary reaction to him. I was very embarrassed.

  • http://heimaey.us/ heimaey

    I have the same issue about women doctors John. It’s weird isn’t it? It makes no sense but I have just learned to ignore it the best I can.

  • http://hunteratrandom.blogspot.com/ rmthunter

    Never had one, and I should soon. Not something I’m looking forward to, mostly because of the prep — not letting me have my coffee in the morning is asking for trouble.

    As for the “discomfort” of having it done by a female doctor — that’s social conditioning, I’m convinced. For my own part, I’ve been an actor, a dancer, and an artist’s model: I have no modesty, and have had female nurses and doctors examining my junk, among other things. Didn’t bother me.

    Vanity, however, is another issue. My body’s not what it used to be.

  • douglas01

    I go in for my colonoscopy in 2 weeks. Have had 2 before and can share your concerns except for the fact that my doctor is male and very cute. I was especially concerned the first time but now it just a pain the ass, no pun intended, to go through the preparation but the procedure is no big deal. I’m actually having and endoscopy at the same time, tubes going in both ends. I’m pretty sure after everything is over you will look back and wonder ‘why was this bothering me so much’.

  • Hue-Man

    The lab test and colonoscopy for diagnosis has a huge return on investment compared to having to treat undiagnosed colon cancer. The FIT lab cost to the province is $5.23, colonoscopy costs $233.19 for the surgeon (the facilities, nursing, and supplies are fixed non-profit hospital overheads) http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/msp/paystats/

    B.C. has also taken an aggressive approach to stop smoking campaigns, to vaccinations – free seasonal flu shots for seniors and those with comprised immune systems – and to routine HIV testing to diagnose/treat in order to reduce transmission (“For all British Columbians between ages 18 and 70, every five years.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-to-offer-free-hiv-aids-testing-to-adults-every-5-years-1.2641128 )

    BTW, Highest in Canada life expectancy at birth, 85 female, 80 male, http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/StatisticsBySubject/Demography/VitalStatistics.aspx

  • Mark_in_MN

    I would agree that a little invasiveness is better than a much more invasiveness, but it’s not clear on the basis of actual evidence that the little invasiveness is actually necessary when it doesn’t seem to actually detect cancer at any higher rights than non-invasive alternatives such as FIT. This argument strikes me as offering a false alternative between colonoscopy or no screening leading to finding cancer only when it’s fairly involved.

  • Ninong

    It’s certainly less uncomfortable now that they use IV sedation but it was more entertaining back when they didn’t. Back then you could actually watch the monitor and see the progress of the little camera as it wound it way around and around your insides. Colorful but also a bit too fulfilling and uncomfortable. That’s a lot of tubing that goes inside you.

    I had my first one 25 years ago and my last one 10 years ago. Now I’m done with them for life, or at least that’s what they told me. My HMO just had a policy that men should have that procedure done once they reached the age of 50 as a screening precaution. The last one was done just because I gave the wrong answer to my new doctor when he asked me if I had ever had a colonoscopy. I told him I had one done 15 years before. That meant I was past due for another one, which he promised would be my last provided it was clear and it was.

  • Indigo

    Same here, actually. Colon cancer runs in my family, I’ve seen how it affects daily life up close. No thank you. I’m good with the procedure and, candidly, the anesthesia is very pleasant.

  • Indigo

    The procedure goes up your colon into your intestine safely and, thankfully, no cutting is involved unless there are polyps to remove. If colon cancer arises, the cutting will have to be extensive. It’s better to settle for a little bit of invasive procedure, you won’t notice because you’ll be in dreamland. No fear.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Bumper Sticker: Expect A Colonoscopy

  • Mark_in_MN

    I’d want more actual evidence about the polyp thing and that removal of those benign polyps that very few become cancerous is necessary. If most polyps don’t become cancerous, why the rush to remove them? If they become cancerous, the FIT test will find them. Given the recommendations of colonoscopy every 10 years or something like FIT every other year, these things don’t move that fast in most circumstances. I don’t find that particular one convincing, at least not without some more evidence from sound studies.

    Further it doesn’t really address the issues of going right to an invasive procedure, relative cost, or my personal concerns about the healthiness of the prep for me.

  • Mike F

    Oooh, yay, Super Bowel Thursday. When I went in for my cancer surgery (growth in my ureter), my operation was on a Sunday, so that became Super Bowel Sunday. Ya gotta laugh.

  • trinu

    Actually you are oftentimes awake but drowsy (or lightly sleeping). The valium or versed they give you will cause temporary anterograde amnesia, so you can’t form new memories. With absolutely no memory of the procedure, it makes it seem like you were out cold even when you were really conscious.

  • trinu

    They recommend colonoscopies in part because they can find and remove colon polyps. Most polyps will never become cancerous but almost all colon cancers start as polyps, so it has the potential to prevent colon cancer and isn’t limited to detecting it early.

  • RepubAnon

    Yeah, the “cleansing” in preparation for the scoping is the bad part. The scoping itself is done under sedation – I usually fall asleep during part of the procedure. No pain, less discomfort than a prostate exam.

    For my first one, I asked them to schedule it on April 15, so as to kill two birds with one stone – they got that “I’ve heard that joke so many times I’m sick of it” look…

  • Mark_in_MN

    This seems like a much more sensible approach than the typical approach here in the US—everyone get a colonoscopy every 10 years once you reach 50.

  • Mark_in_MN

    Or you could do something like a FIT test every other year when you get to that age. At least one very large study suggests it has better follow through and is as good at detecting cancer.

  • Mark_in_MN

    I’m very skeptical of the recommendation of colonoscopy as a normal screening for cancer. First of all, it seem that it’s one of those standard medical practices that is based on generalized thinking about rather than on the basis of clear evidence. There has been relatively little research, especially with large groups, about the whole thing, which is why when a couple of larger studies came out a couple of years ago they made a bit of a splash. Unfortunately, it seems that one study was being used in a way that didn’t exactly follow from the actual research and the other largely ignored. One of those studies was a study with more than 50,000 participants from Spain. It actually did a comparative study, the research especially missing, from what I read. They compared one colonoscopy with Fecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT) every two years. They found that there was greater follow through in actually doing the test with the FIT group, and the two tests detected colon cancer at basically the same levels. This suggests that they are at least equal, and with the follow-through advantage of FIT, it may make sense to use that as a primary screening process.

    Further, colonoscopy is an invasive procedure, and I have qualms about using invasive procedures without other medical indications for their necessity. We don’t do exploratory surgery as a screening process for cancers or other diseases. We’d be silly to do so, in fact, without some indication that we need to look. We don’t even routinely do simple biopsies except where there are indications that indicate looking at tissue samples is helpful. Likewise colonoscopies should be used when other indications such as fecal tests, radiology tests, or other factors point to taking that, er, deeper look.

    With those concerns, which I would regard as sufficient to seriously question the procedure, I personally add an additional concern related to the prep. It’s not the often cited unpleasantness that concerns me (although I wouldn’t be eager for it). I would be deeply concerned that my blood sugar levels will go very much out of control without eating a regular diet, either too high from liver glucose output or potential dehydration, or going or too low from a combination of my medication and the lack of a regular diet. It can be a delicate balancing act as it is, much less throwing this particular curve ball into the mix. It would strongly incline me to saying no to the colonoscopy and suggest FIT or other appropriate screenings to my physician instead.

  • Jim

    I think it might depend on the doctor. I was out cold. And, had a very nice day and night in a very comfortable fog.

    Sorry you didn’t get the same.

  • Jim

    You’re going to shit and shit and shit. You’re going to shit to the point of insane boredom.
    Best to wear some old underwear. You will stain, no matter how careful you are.

  • percysowner

    Cheap is no longer a reason. A colonoscopy is considered a preventative service and is fully covered under the new regulations. The only time it isn’t fully covered is if they find a cancerous polyp and they remove it, which turns the procedure from preventative to treatment. OTOH, it’s better to get charged for removing cancer than waiting and getting cancer.

  • A_nonymoose

    Ugh. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. Believe me, the night before is the worst part of it. The procedure itself is a piece of cake (which you won’t get until tomorrow, LOL).

  • chris10858

    Personal tips:
    I prefer the magnesium citrate and one must use one of those jumbo straws so that it can be gulped down in a few seconds.

    Don’t use regular toilet tissue or you’ll end up with a raw behind. Use those wet wipes with aloe vera or a warm wash cloth.

    Schedule your procedure for very early in the morning so you won’t have to be starving throughout the day of the procedure..

  • Guest

    I seriously whipped this up the night of my last colonoscopy…

  • Tatts

    Had it once (but from an infection). Ended up in the E.R. at 5AM Catheter to the rescue. They were impressed that I was retaining just over 1.25 liters. Left the E.R. and was only an hour late for work, on my second day on the job!
    Good times.

  • Cletus

    I actually look forward to my colonoscopies (though, the Suprep has to be the most vile thing I’ve ever swallowed). Colon cancer does run in my family, and during my first procedure they found a large precancerous growth that was well on its way. The way I figure it, it’s a cheap and easy insurance that protects against a nasty way to die.

  • Indigo

    What everybody else already said. And what’s more, they’ll give you a little something for discomfort and it’ll be a very pleasant dreamscape indeed. Enjoy!

  • Tatts

    The worst part for me was the day before. Clear foods have no protein and are largely sugar-based. Reactive hypoglycemia and all, it was a crummy day with a headache.

    And a word of caution: anesthesiologists are big old liars. “You won’t be asleep, you’ll just be drowsy.” Pffft. Not long after I felt the cool fluid entering the vein in the back of my hand I was out like a light. But that’s fine.

    I used carbonated, lemon-flavored magnesium citrate for the cleaning. Didn’t mind it at all.

  • MerryMarjie

    As everyone says, it’s the prep that causes the discomfort. By the time you hit the hospital/clinic, you’re as light as a feather and just waiting for the knockout. Relax, don’t freak out, and you’ll be fine. Oh, and the best part for me was when the doctor came in for the results and scheduled the next one for TEN YEARS AWAY!! Yippee!! (I now have eight years and 11 months till the next one, LOL!)

  • https://profiles.google.com/BobMunck/about Bob Munck

    You basically mix 6 oz of Suprep with another 12 oz of water, then guzzle all 16.

    Interesting. Apparently Suprep interferes with your ability to do simple arithmetic.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    The prep is definitely the hardest part. Anyone can get through that. I’ve done it 4 times and looking back, it’s not really that bad. OK, I lied; it’s awful.

    Call me a stoner but I just love getting demerol or propofol. It fascinates me that we can be unconscious and wake up somewhere else. I love the feeling of zoomy peace that spreads from the heart and melts you into gah gah goo goo land. It makes it all worth it, for me.

    We’ll be thinking of you.

  • DRoseDARs

    I want a doctor
    To take your picture
    So I can look at you from inside as well

  • rit56

    I’m going to go with the enlarged prostate and (oh so painful) the difficulty, inability to pee at night. The sheer agony of having a full bladder and your urethra is blocked. Until you experience it you can’t possibly imagine it. Now we’re not talking kidney stones we’re talking about our manly prostate gland. This truly defines human suffering. You will want to walk into the river, walk off the roof, pick one. Fun times being middle aged. Sounds come out of your mouth in an uncontrolled fashion. Not screams just a loud, very loud uuugggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh. Your partner standing there with a look of horror because, simple put, there’s nothing they can do and when they look at you they are in a sort of shock.

  • taikan

    The first time I had one, it lasted longer than planned and I woke up during the procedure. That’s when I found out that the television mounted on the wall shows the image transmitted by the camera on the end of the probe. Now I know what it looks like to see the inside of a colon.

    Even though the drugs wore off somewhat and I was able to feel the discomfort caused by having my colon puffed up with air (to enable a better view), I still think the prep was worse than the exam.

  • saglaker

    Thanks for this post. I hope it encourages others to take the leap. If it helps, I think the prep is the worst of the whole procedure. If you can get through this part the rest is easy!

  • jm2

    I have to tell you that it really is a breeze. i have been awake for mine. the one i hate is (are you ready for this?) the esophagogastroduodenoscopy! yep! down the throat, through the stomach & into the duodenum. you are supposed to be completely knocked out but i woke up in the middle of both that I had, hearing the doctor screaming, “Who in the f*ck didn’t give him enough Valium?” you can never have too much Valium!

    good luck. the other worst part is you’re starving after and will stop at any place that has food!

  • zadig

    Am I really the only one here who would go through a much worse procedure just to get the anesthesia? Mine have all been first thing in the morning and the aftermath has been some of the happiest days of my life.

    They say you can’t enter into any contracts or operate machinery for 24 hours because you’re legally drunk. I’ve been drunk, and I know drunk, and colonoscopy anasthesia, you are so much better than drunk.

    Plus, you know, early detection yadda yadda yadda. Prep sucks. Procedure may suck, I have no idea. Recovery? Priceless.

  • pappyvet

    You’ll do fine John. The preparations are worse than the exam and you will do well.

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    I get a headache from the anesthesia. It usually lasts about 17 hours.

  • Hue-Man

    Mine is next week. After a decade of negative tests, I had a positive result in the new province-wide screening program run by the B.C. Cancer Agency. Being socialized, we had a group teaching session with about a dozen 50-60-somethings last week – I was glad to see it was about 50/50 female/male because women are often under-treated (no I don’t know why). http://www.screeningbc.ca/Colon/default.htm

    Men and Women
    Ages 50-74

    Screened with the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every 2 years.

    Men and Women
    Ages 50-74 with a
    significant family
    history or a personal history of adenoma(s)

    Referred for colonoscopy screening if you have a personal history of adenoma(s) or at least 1 of the following:

    1 first degree relative (mother, father, sister, brother, daughter or son) with colon cancer diagnosed under the age of 60; or,
    2 or more first degree relatives with colon cancer diagnosed at any age; or,
    A personal history of adenomas. Adenomas are a type of non-cancerous tumours.

  • isamp

    The stuff thay gave me the night before was called “GoLightly”,
    not a discriptve name glad they have something new. The Prep is 10 X’s worse than the colonoscopy.
    But remenber the wise words of bkmn below “Let
    your nurse know if you need more Versed (a cousin of Valium that relaxes you
    and causes temporary amnesia)” amnesia is good in this case………
    All will go well and you will be fine.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Some say that they get headaches initially from the drink. That might have been it, hard to say. Going on two hours and 20 minutes here…. hmm….

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Gary is right. The procedure is nothing, you’re asleep. Drinking the stuff sucks, but I’m alive :) But you should never put off something that could save your life. I mean seriously, the worst part is your imagination, and a really crappy drink – life could be worse :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I know that the drug they gave me for my cataract surgery definitely gave me retroactive amnesia both times. I complained to the doc that they didn’t warn me before they gave me the drug, and he goes, “I asked if you were ready, and you told me, go for it!” Funny.

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    Please please please reconsider. This procedure can actually prevent cancer. Getting this every 5 years (or whatever frequency you doctor specifies) can save you and the people who love you a lot of grief, pain and expenses.

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    Due to circumstances, I’ve already had three of them. The prep is the worst, even with the newer stuff.

    The physician and staff in the last two were GREAT. The first one, not so much – the physician was a bit of a jerk and seemed very homophobic. After the procedure and I was finally awake, he came to my bed to discuss everything and he could barely look at me. He asked if I had any questions. I asked if the procedure was good for him too and then asked for a cigarette. He was not amused.

  • 2patricius2

    My father and mother and uncle all had colon cancer, so I have been getting colonoscopies every 5 years for quite some time. Had they had colonoscopies back then, they would all have probably lived some years longer. One time the doctor found and removed a couple polyps. It is a good procedure to have done every few years. Better than the alternative of developing colon cancer and not finding out till it is too late. But as others have written in this thread, the prep is not a pleasant thing.

  • Sandbur

    Been there, done that. Absolutely nothing was found and Doc doesn’t want to see me for 10 years. And you be under anesthesia and will have no memory of the procedure. Getting through the prep is the worst part.

  • bkmn

    Advice: Lots of water and ginger ale/sprite are recommended.
    Be nice to the person that puts in your IV.
    Let your nurse know if you need more Versed (a cousin of Valium that relaxes you and causes temporary amnesia)

    I did not speak up and remember some of the colonoscopy where the doc was trying to get the probe to go where he wanted and it felt like that scene in Alien where the alien popped out of someone’s abdomen. So speak up – they will give you more meds if you need them. The drugs they use have a short half life so you wake up and become lucid quickly. Just be sure to have a ride home pre-arranged.

  • pricknick

    It’s more informative if your Dr doesn’t put you all the way under.
    It’s a fascinating procedure and can be done with less than a knockout.

  • docsterx

    The prep is a pain, true. But there used to be one that was worse. The product gave excellent results, but got removed from the market. Basically, it caused bowel movements VERY frequently for about 4-5 hours after it was drunk. So the night before the colonoscopy was spent (literally) running to the bathroom. Then the next morning, another dose was given for a replay of the previous scenario.

    Usually everyone involved realizes that the patient is embarrassed to be in that situation and they almost always are very professional. They’ll try their best to preserve your modesty and make you as comfortable as possible.

    The worst part is what you’re going through now. Tomorrow will be a breeze.

    Good luck! I’m sure that you’ll do fine.

  • basenjilover

    Apprehension? You’ll be fine, John.

  • mwdavis

    It’s a long ride. Endure. You’re more a man than I.

  • mwdavis

    I’m in Iowa. and they seem to think Iowans are PARTICULARLY AT RISK. I’ve resisted so far. At 61. that’s probably stupid. And I think my doctor (male) is hot . . . which should be a bit, er, vicarious. I’m a coward, and I’m cheap, and I’m stupid.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Best of luck to you, John.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yeah, I’m getting a bit of a heachache, and am not sure if it’s a caffeine thing or side effect thing. Oh well.

  • drdick52

    The procedure itself is not bad (at least you do not remember any of it), but the prep sucks really bad.

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