I’m a 34 year old – and I’m about to get my very first colonoscopy. I’ve decided to blog about it here, because it’s the kind of procedure everyone needs to have at some point – but it’s also a cancer screening tool that has a lot of fear and trepidation associated with it. I know. I’ll readily admit to you anonymous internet world… I am really, really scared.
I’m scared, partly because, although I’ve heard you really don’t feel anything during the procedure, it really doesn’t sound that pleasant. I’m also scared because a colonoscopy is a way of screening for colon cancer – and that is the disease that killed my mom. My mother died in her mid 40’s of colon cancer. She’d had symptoms for over a year, and was told it was in her head. Then she was told it was from endometriosis.
Eventually a hysterectomy was scheduled, and when the doctor opened her up, she was full of colon cancer that had advanced to a stage that was nearly impossible to treat. She died just over 6 months after the cancer was found. But if she’d been told to get a colonoscopy before that point – she could be alive today. I’ll say that part again. If she had gotten a colonoscopy when she first had symptoms, she would be alive today.
Normally, a colonoscopy is a test that your doctor will recommend you get after you turn 50. But if you have a family history of colon cancer you will likely be advised by your doctor to get your first colonoscopy 10 years earlier than the age your family member’s cancer was discovered. That’s why I’m getting it done in my 30’s. That said, if you have bowel issues at any age – seeing a gastroenterologist would be a good idea. After all my mom did not know of a family history- and she certainly would have had a very different outcome to her cancer if she’d been screened.
Anyway- my colonoscopy is this week. It’s brought up a lot of emotions for me, but I’m glad I’m doing it. I have a 3 year old daughter, and a wonderful husband and I don’t want to leave them for a very long time. And so … I forge on. Scaredy cat or not:)
First Step: Set up appt. with gastroenterologist. The table you see above really freaked me out, but actually all we did was talk about my family history & schedule a date for the colonoscopy. Pheww!
On my agenda this week- One more day of regular people food. Then to follow the liquid diet recommended 24 hours before drinking the laxative solution, in preparation for the actual procedure day. Oy vey.
Step 2: Shop for lot’s of bathroom related supplies!
- Broth, apple juice & clear liquids for consumption the day before.
- Jello & Ice pops (not red or purple, as that can mimic blood in the colon)
- Aveeno oatmeal bath packets (apparently helps sooth a sore bottom in the bath)
- Tucks medicated pads (isn’t this a glamorous post?)
- A & D ointment (yep just like you get for babies! Apparently if you put that on before you start the 12 hours of drinking the laxative solution it really helps. I’m willing to try it! lol)
- A good book? 🙂
My hope dear internet world- is that reading about me getting my colonoscopy done, will help allay your own fears when it’s your turn. That you won’t put it off, or worse yet not do it at all.
I promise to be 100% truthful about how much the procedure does, or does not suck. OK? And I’ll document the preparation day, as well as my going for the actual procedure. I hope it helps someone out there, some way some how 🙂
Next post? Colonoscopy Preparation day.