D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies has updated her post from 2015 on her experience with a colonoscopy which was repeated last week. It is one of those things that people are reluctant to talk about, but needs to be demystified and discussed.
What I did Yesterday — Besides Having a #Colonoscopy by D.G. Kaye
As I was digging through some older posts, I came across this one I wrote 4 years ago after a colonoscopy and before another one was to come, and I’ve had a few more since that time.
Although this post is quite humorous in parts, colonoscopy is serious business. We all dread them, and if you’re anything like me, worse than the actual procedure is the poison prep we have to drink the day prior to the test. In this post I share some of the humorous findings I came across while searching out alternative methods to getting the guck down, but no matter how you slice it, a beast is still a beast, even with lipstick.
Since the time of this posting, I have managed to find the potion of lesser evil that actually works for me, but everyone’s system is different so what works for some may not be as effective for others. Just remember, having a colonoscopy can literally save your life. So many people who have them have had polyps found and removed in routine checks which could ultimately have led to colon cancer left unchecked. So put on your big girl/boy pants, choose your potion and do yourself and your families a favor and get yourselves checked!
Colonoscopy – An ugly word, with fearful connotations.
Yesterday I went for my overdue colonoscopy appointment. When I say overdue, I mean that it’s been three and a half years since my last one, and consequently, that was my first one.
After having my first one and enduring the awful, but not most awful of all the preps, I was lectured then by the gastroenterologist because I didn’t take the prep she instructed me to take, and my colon wasn’t 100% clear. Although, she had told me it was clear enough to see, and that I was fine. I was elated to hear the good news. But she also informed me that because I have Crohn’s disease, I should be having an annual colonoscopy.
I pleaded my case to her that my Crohn’s is holistically under control, I eat a healthy diet, and being that I had a clean bill of health from her, could she please let me do it every three years. Thankfully I won my plea, and she conceded.
So last fall, I was to have my three-year scope, but life was happening for me in full force, one crisis led to another, and the winter had passed in 2015. My doctor’s referral for this scope was to end by May, so I booked the appointment, and yesterday was the day.
Now, let me preface this by saying, the procedure itself is really no big deal, honestly! I mean, I go to this lovely digestive clinic where everyone is treated so well by lovely nurses, they put you in what looks like a small hospital ward, each with his own private curtain and gurney, and eventually you are wheeled into the small operating room, asked to verify some questions we previously filled out on the forms, and wham, we’re put under with anaesthetic. Just the way I like it!
But heaven help us all, that preparation the day before to cleanse the colon is the most vile, disgusting, nauseating, ass-burning day to endure. (I probably could have used more adjectives here!)
Getting back to the prep, after my first colonoscopy, I was reprimanded for taking something other than what was prescribed. The doctor didn’t feel that the prep I used (Citromag), was effective enough to empty the colon. I had researched something easier than what she had prescribed to ingest. All the preps are disgusting enough as is, and I am the sort of person who gags from a teaspoon of cough medicine. I also have a very slow digestive transit time, thus I get full very quickly, food and liquids hang around my upper stomach much longer than the average person’s.
The difference between taking Citromag and the many other formulas, is that you only have to drink two – 300 ml. bottles of gross stuff, chased down intermittently with 64 ounces of water throughout the day. This is a cakewalk compared to drinking 4 LITRES of other gross stuff mixed in with the water!
Now I cannot even conceive the thought of drinking 16 GLASSES of liquid in a few hours span, even if it were my favourite drink, let alone with the vile taste and consistency. So, once again, I drank the Citromag and gagged from the briney/sugary mixture of fake lemonade, but held it down.
It took almost 5 HOURS until anything started to happen, other than the huge hard feeling and distention of my stomach, and nausea. Even after the rumbling urges came, they weren’t of much substance other than many Niagara Falls- like liquid showers. I was bloated, tired, starving — I was sure this prep was not going to be effective. I wasn’t wrong!
After I had the procedure done, and the doctor called me in for consult, I was informed that I wasn’t properly cleaned out, and I had to admit my crime of not taking her prescribed method of choice. The doctor then added that from the parts she could see through, she had found, removed, and sent for biopsy, two polyps. Just as I was processing the fears that came attached to this news, she then added that I was to come back in 2 MONTHS to do it all over again to be sure there was nothing else she missed. I immediately froze in fear. I knew my charade of switching preps was no longer effective for my lazy colon, and I didn’t have three years to put it on the back burner.
I began to panic with worry about my biopsy results, and what on earth was I going to have to drink, worse than what I had already ingested.
I returned home around noon and made myself a piece of toast and an egg. Surprisingly, after 36 hours without food and starving, I no longer felt hungry. My husband went back to work and I got on the computer to catch up with emails and intentions of doing revisions on my next book. But the looming fear within me about having another colonoscopy wouldn’t allow me to concentrate on anything other than searching for a potion that I could possibly tolerate for ROUND 2.
I checked my emails then went directly to Google. I typed in numerous search words with the names of each prep available here in Canada and the U.S. And then I went on forums to read about other people’s experiences with different potions, and read about their stories and success rates. I was obsessed and engulfed in the stories and blogs I read. There were moments I laughed so hard at some descriptions, and I could barely breathe as I pictured them.
Many offered tips and tricks about how to get through the dreaded prep process. The most repetitive information I read was to stay close to the loo, (I know that) have baby wipes handy to ease the soreness down below from the acidic explosions, and to use baby zinc cream to comfort and protect the delicate area below from the sting. But when I read about some various methods used to ingest the vile and copious amounts of liquid, I couldn’t stop laughing.
One girl advised to cover your nose with a Bounce dryer sheet as you gulped, to avoid the smell, which enhances the flavor. Many advised to drink from a straw and to make sure it’s placed at the back of the tongue to avoid the front palate where most of the taste buds are located. Others had their own rendition of avoiding to taste, admitting there was no way to fully mask it. But the most hysterical description I read was from a boy who was trying to describe what his prep tasted like. He said, “Imagine a hockey team’s socks soaking in a tub overnight, and then drinking the water.” I gagged at reading it, as well as doubled over in laughter. Another said that he sat on the throne so long that his foot fell asleep and he didn’t know it until he got up and his foot turned over and he sprained his ankle.
I processed so much information, that before I knew it, I had been sitting at the computer for 6 HOURS! It was 8PM and I had yet to eat dinner. My work day had vanished while it was spent investigating ways I could get through the next scope.
It really is a procedure feared by the masses. The actual procedure is nothing, like I mentioned, but that prep day is the horrific part that keeps people from having the procedure done.
Yes I’m nerved out about doing a repeat and then having scopes annually after, but I have to do it. These polyps they find are a precursor to colon cancer. And after losing a grandfather to colon cancer, an aunt to pancreatic cancer, a cousin to colon cancer (from Crohn’s disease), and another aunt on her way now to the next world from stomach cancer, I have no choice.
I know I had a hard enough time taking the Citromag and litres of fresh water. I don’t know how I’ll be able to chug 4 LITRES of mixed prep with my gag reflex, but I know I have to start summoning up my courage NOW.
Addendum: This article was written in 2015. Since the writing of this article I have endured another few colonoscopies. I’m happy to report that my new choice of weapon that works is Miralax, a clear crystal, tasteless, odorless powder I mix in with gatorade, totally palatable and effective.
Do you have any helpful tips or experience you’d like to share?
About D.G. Kaye
Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.
When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.
Books by D.G. Kaye
One of the reviews for Twenty Years After I Do.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Twenty Years: After “I Do”. It was a heartfelt journey through the author’s life with her devoted and loving husband who is much older than she. I laughed along with her and shed tears of sorrow when she did.
D.G. Kaye expressed herself in endearing terms when she spoke of her husband and their wonderful life together. She wrote with deep expressions of angst over serious health issues they both experienced and then joy over happy times with much shared laughter.
Marriage is a difficult union as anyone who has been married knows. This book takes the reader down this path to discover the true meaning of soul mates and undying love from one another. D.G. shares the beauty of each day that she and her husband, Gordon, have had together and continue to have even in adversity. She displays a remarkable wit in tough times and a brilliant resilience to go on no matter what she must face.
This book is a must read for all who have been married whether for a short time or a longer time. All couples face similar situations and must make tough decisions in their lives together. The author has shown how she has had to deal with serious health issues and come out stronger and more persistent to make the best of every day she and her husband have left together. For isn’t that part of our marriage vows – to love each other in sickness and health till death do us part?
Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7
and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
My thanks to Debby for sharing this experience and demonstrating that humour can go a long way to making daunting medical procedures bearable.. along with Miralax……..