Colonoscopy! I Did It (Finally)



When you put off getting your first colonoscopy, there are reminders everywhere. Look at this charming toilet seat I discovered on a walk.

And those who’ve had a colonoscopy can be quite holier than thou:

“What, Barbara, you haven’t done one?”

“No colonoscopy? Gee, I’m on my second.”

“Really? Oh my. You need to get going. Only bad part is the prep!”

When I received a cancer diagnosis this summer, I was annoyed with myself that I hadn’t had a colonoscopy yet. It would have been a relief to know that part of me was cancer-free. So, after I recovered from the surgery, I did it!

UNC  Gastroenterology says no veggies, fruit, or whole grains three days before the procedure. I sort of enjoyed the reversal on what I was supposed to be eating.

The day before the procedure, nothing but liquids and Jello. I was surprised how many times a hunger pang hit, and I thought, oh go get something to eat. Then I’d remember. The Jello helped some, as did broth and soda and apple juice, but I was sure hungry.

That morning I’d mixed up, per instructions, the prescription of Colyte. The Colyte’s in the bottom of the jug. You add a flavor packet and a lake full of water.

People compare the bowel cleanse their docs prescribe as if they’re comparing colleges or cars. The Gatorade people are especially smug, as rumor says that concoction tastes best.

At six o’clock in the evening I drank my first of sixteen glasses of Colyte. “It tastes salty, ” I said to Cliff.  “Kind of like thick sea water. Not bad at all!” I held out the glass. “Want to try?”

My husband eats and drinks everything. He backed away. “No thanks.”

Standard advice is to gulp it. Not me. I’d sip mine.That’s how okay the stuff tasted.

That is, until I got to the second glass.

Below is the final glass, Glass Number 16, chugged down at five-thirty the next morning. This picture makes me gag even two weeks later.

Middle of the Night Colyte

Spending lots of time in the bathroom was annoying but not bad since there’s no physical pain involved.

And the procedure went great. I’ve gotten braver since my surgery, and when someone offers me warm blankets (before) and my beloved Coke, (after), I’m happy. My doc snipped off six polyps. I’m glad to have them gone since benign polyps can become cancerous.

So what’s the Friend for the Ride takeaway?  What advice do I have?

You got to gulp the glop.

It’s the only way to do it.

And if I can do it, so can you!

Middle of the Night Colyte

23 thoughts on “Colonoscopy! I Did It (Finally)”

  1. I’m another one who’s been putting off the colonoscopy. It freaks me out! I know, I know . . . must make appt with my doctor . . . so glad your health is good now, Barbara. Hugs!

    Sorry for being awol in the comments thread the last several months, although I read all of your wonderful blog posts. The last year has been insane. Just got back from a 2 week tour on the East Coast for FORBIDDEN, my YA trilogy debut with Harpercollins. Think the YA version of THE RED TENT. Ancient Mesopotamia, Belly dance, goddess temples . . . ooh, la, la. 🙂

  2. I have had two colonoscopies. The procedure itself is nothing really. I had a terrible time drinking all the mixture of stuff on the first one–I can’t stand to feel full and started to feel like I was going to throw up. So I had to take way longer to get it all down and I didn’t finish the last final little bit. (I don’t recommend taking that chance, as if you aren’t cleaned out enough, you have to do the whole thing over again!) But the 2nd time wasn’t bad at all. I don’t know if I had to drink less or if it was because I found some Gatorade I didn’t mind the taste of (cherry). And because they found 3 polyps, they want me to have one in 5 yrs. But honestly it isn’t really that bad and well worth it to possibly avoid major problems in the future.

  3. Glad you had it and are now good for another 10 years. I thought the prep was awful. The procedure, don’t remember. When I left I was given a color 9X12 color photo of my colon. What? I was told not to go shopping but right home. I thought that odd until my SIL told me she felt so euphoric after she bought a really expensive huge hot tub. She was not advised about the shopping issue!

  4. Next year will be my third. Having had 2 siblings pass from colon cancer, I get to have the test done every 5 years. But oh my goodness, you said 6 polyps? That’s really quite a few! Hope they all came back non-malignant.

  5. I had my second colonoscopy on Nov 6th. Prep wasn’t so bad. I just stayed near the toilet and in between time read books and magazines. No work, so it was a free, unscheduled day.

  6. I’ve had two. First wasn’t so bad (two little bottles), second was that same jug you got. The pharmacist came over for the consult, looked down and the jug, and said “Oh honey!” in a very sympathetic way. I knew I was in for a long night. My BFF came over and tried to help me by pouring the concoction in pretty glasses with ice, but I never did get it all down. ( I have turned into quite the gagger in my old age and by the end I was just about throwing it up!)

    Both had to do with my endometriosis as the doctor thought it was gone into my bowel and colon. So happy to wake up to find out it had not and all they had to take was my uterus.

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