I hope that this subject won’t cause my dear readers to completely lose it on me and not stop by to read today, but I thought the subject was important enough to talk about. The older I get, the more that aging and health issues become even more of a priority to me and my friends, so I figured it might be something you’d all be interested in as well. My real life friends and I talk about these things, so you all get to hear it too!
This topic is not something I would normally talk about on here, because yuck, who wants to even think about those things. But, I recently scheduled my first colonoscopy (at age 59, yes, I put it off a long time, because again, YUCK) and decided it was time to do it. I don’t necessarily have a family history of colon cancer, but our dear sweet Aunt Mary (Aunt by marriage) passed away from this horrible cancer in April of this year and it still hurts to think she is gone. I’m not sure if she ever had a screening done or not. I’ll have to ask that question.
You will notice I’m adding pretty pictures in here, since it’s all words about a not so pleasant subject and I wanted you all to at least have some pretty pics to see today.
So, I figured I would write about my experience and if it helps one person to get their screening done and prevent a curable cancer, then I’ve done my job. As dirty as it is! None of us like to talk about things like this, but it’s something that is prevalent and it happens to all ages. I think the recommendation is to start colonoscopy screening at age 50, so you can see I put mine off as long as possible. I just didn’t want to think about it, so I blocked it out and refused to do anything about it. But, as I’m getting older, I realize there are things we can do for prevention and to be proactive in health situations and I think colonoscopies are one of those things. Everyone has opinions on what we should all do for our health, but this one seems to be a no brainer for early detection and prevention.
I got a recommendation for a doctor here in my area who is in my health plan and went to visit him to set up my screening. He explained the procedure and what I would need to do for prep the day before. For those of you who have done this, you know the prep is WAY worse than the actual screening. You can’t eat for a whole day before the screening. I scheduled mine early at 7:30 in the morning and had to be there at 6:30 to get started. I’m glad I went ahead and did it early, gave me less time to think about it and the rest of the day to get back to normal.
No eating at all the day before. So, no breakfast, I didn’t even have coffee, because that had to be black and what fun is black coffee? I won’t even bother with that. No food, but we could do popsicles, chicken broth, and clear liquids like white grape juice. I didn’t do any of that except a popsicle. After no food all morning, the real fun began in the afternoon. At 2 pm, I had to take 4 laxative tablets, Dulcolax. I had already mixed up 68 oz. of Gatorade and big Miralax bottle and let it chill. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to drink that much, but I thought I’d never get it down. I began the Gatorade concoction at 4 pm, drinking 8 oz. every 15 minutes until it was gone.
That’s when the real discomfort began. About an hour later, it started kicking in and I could feel my stomach start to rumble. I will not go into those details, because I want you to come back and read this blog, but drinking all that made me nauseous to the point of throwing up, so you can imagine how much fun that was for an hour or so.
After that, things were better and I settled in for the night, preparing to get up at 5 am to meet my sister at mom and dad’s (that’s always our meeting place) and she took me to the hospital for the colonoscopy. You can’t drive and someone has to drive you, wait for you, and bring you home.
I will mention here that I have never had a hospital stay or any surgeries whatsoever, so being in a hospital bed is completely foreign to me.
Once I arrived, they took me to a prep room with a glass door and curtain and I took it all off and put on one of their wonderful hospital gowns. You know the ones. They started an IV and got me all monitored, preparing for the procedure and the anesthesia. Thank goodness, they knock you out! That’s the best part. You go in a room with all these smiling faces looking at you and then you’re out in about 1 minute, so you don’t have to deal with the indignity of being prodded and poked in places you’d rather not think about. Best thing ever!
The nurses who got me prepped were so kind and funny. They had me laughing and I enjoyed the interaction with them. Even though I didn’t need my sister with me, they went and got her so she was in the room before and after I finished. They were so hilarious and really put me at ease! One of them asked me what I do and when I told her I am a blogger, her eyes got big and she said, are you going to blog about this?
At the time, I didn’t think so, but after talking to my Facebook group of ladies who are mostly 50 and older about it, they thought it would be a good thing to share and I agree with that. I know that screenings save lives and that’s the only reason I would share something so personal.
They wheeled me into the room and within a minute or so, I was out like a light. It lasted about 20 minutes or so and then they wheeled me back into the first room. I heard voices talking to me and I woke up pretty fast and didn’t really feel that groggy. Even though I could have walked to the car, they had my sis go out and get the car and meet me out front, where they wheeled me out in a wheelchair. I really felt fine and not all that groggy at all. When I got back to my parents house where my car was waiting, we visited with them for a few minutes and then I headed home. (yes, even though they said not to drive, I felt fine and normal, but drive at your own risk!).
The procedure itself wasn’t bad at all and they made it so easy and comfortable for me. Again, the prep day is the worst and if you can get through that, you’ll be fine. I am happy to say I got a clean bill of health on my colon and I don’t have to do this again for 10 more years. Now, that is something to cheer about!
I just thought this would something you might enjoy reading about and if you haven’t scheduled one for yourself, think about doing it soon! Now that mine is over, I can relax and know that I’m good to go and that’s a big relief. Our health is not something we can take for granted and I do try to keep on top of things for myself in all the health preventions there are available, like mammograms and pap smears.
I wish you all good health!