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I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin & a best friend. I am a poet, a lawyer & a survivor. I've learned that God will give you a second chance.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ten Years Later

I recently had my third colonoscopy; my first one was ten years ago and I am on the every-five-years plan. The quick explanation is that I have a family history of polyps, I have a history of cancer, and the doctor always finds polyps when I have one done. If you know anything about colon polyps, it is not a question of “if” they will turn into cancer, it is a matter of “when.” Since it seems that I am predisposed to cancer I do not mind this procedure.

Ok. I’m lying. If you’ve ever had a colonoscopy you will understand when I say the prep sucks.
But let’s do a reality check. If you were told that you could prevent cancer by having a scan every five years wouldn’t you take it? I would. And that was my perspective this time around. As a result, it didn’t seem so bad. I knew what to expect, and I knew that I’d need a day to recover after the procedure. So I took care of myself and took a couple of sick days from work.
The thing that struck me was how things have changed in ten years. Ten years ago you could not take aspirin or anything that would thin your blood for the week prior to the procedure. So of course that would be the one week I’d get a headache. Also, ten years ago you had to go on a “low residue diet” for a whole week in advance. Basically that means no nuts, seeds, whole grains or fresh fruits and vegetables. A difficult task for someone who eats a lot of fresh produce every day. Prep day was “clear liquids” which meant no coffee or tea.
This time was different. I could take aspirin if I wanted. I’m happy to report I had no headaches or joint pain this week. The low residue diet was only three days before the procedure; i.e. the two days before I what I call “purge day.” And the “clear liquid” list included black coffee and cranberry juice. Since I drink my coffee black I was ecstatic.
Purge Day consists of lots of clear liquids: water, ginger ale, apple juice, etc. Of course I had my morning coffee.

Lunch Options

Food” consists of Jello®, broth or bullion, and popsicles. But nothing “red.”

And then, of course, there is the “purge” itself. What you have to drink is the worst part of the procedure. I call it “drain-o.” I’ll leave it at that.

Over ice & thru a straw is recommended

For me, it really is the worst part of the procedure. Even though I buy the lemon flavored I find it hard to get down.
As for the rest of it, I knew I’d be hungry on “purge day” so I wasn’t as hungry as I remember. The procedure itself is straightforward and the drugs you are given are great; a combination of Morphine and Fentanyl. It’s no wonder the doctor tells you not to drive or make any major decisions that day.
The good news is that my polyps continue to be benign.
P.S. If you have a family history of polyps or colorectal cancer, please get yourself screened.

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  1. Progress!! A few more years before I will be due!

    1. I started early (before the recommended age) because I was having issues. Two years later I was diagnosed with cancer. Thankful I had the initial one done. And as much as I "hate" the prep I will gladly take my medicine.

  2. You are right on with the colonoscopy. I am high risk and will gladly go through drinking that stuff. I do not like it but do what has to be done.

    1. I did a bit of "avoidance" but now that I know what I know I will do what is necessary.