27 August 2012

Colonoscopy: Do it for the Drugs.

For the past five years, I have been getting harangued by my mom and her sisters to get a colonoscopy. There is nothing special about my rectum in particular, they do it to all the kids/cousins.You see, their mother died a particularly awful death back in the day where colon cancer meant game over and the treatment was not much better. It deeply affected them, and cancer was a household word from that point on. It gained traction by affecting family and friends who required surgery and treatments, then killing my father's brother and most recently, my mother's sister. She was 46 when they discovered it at stage 4, with mets to her liver and the invasion of her lymph nodes. Although the lack of health insurance and misinformation of alternative medicine made the situation a no-win, it was the cancer in the end that is responsible for killing her. We started getting the dire warnings about getting our colonoscopies right away. My cousin and I (who are both in our early-mid thirties,) rolled our eyes a bit and promised at 35 we'd do it.

Well, mine came early. After some bizarre bowel symptoms (a pressure in my rectal area and left flank pains and cramps), my Doc said we ought to check it out. Having a camera inserted into my ass did not frighten me as much as fasting frightened me. Not even the Miralax bomb you have do drink worried me too much. I've already had barium after all, and if you can get that shizz down, you can get most anything down. No, I was terrified of not being able to eat because my appointment was at 3:15PM. I'm one of those people who has to eat every few hours or I get cranky.

But you know what? It wasn't too bad.You start your fast the night before you "cleanse." My appointment was on Thursday, so my last solid meal was Tuesday evening at 6PM. The following day, I had chicken broth, sprite, a little lemon jello and that was about it for 24 hours. It wasn't as big of a deal as I had feared, although it was like when the electricity goes out and you keep flipping the light switches on out of habit. I'd cut my girls' sandwich and go to pop the crust in my mouth or grab a yogurt out of the fridge and remember, "no.I cannot."

At 6PM Wednesday, I was to fill up my shit bomb cocktail party jug and "rapidly drink" 8oz every 10 minutes until 2 liters were consumed. This translates to roughly 8 glasses. I got 7 down and said screw it. I had to drink another four cups in the morning, so that would do the trick. Diarrhea ensued an hour later and the action-packed part was over within an hour and a half. After that, I only went every 45 minutes and it stopped around 11PM. I was up once at 2 or three, then at 6 and that was about it.

The following day, I didn't feel too bad, but I knew I had a looooong wait until 3. Unfortunately, the worst happened. I got a pre-menstrual migraine and it made me so sick, I couldn't even drink water. I spat the remaining prep out. There was no way. I was sitting on the floor by the toilet, trying to keep my head as still as possible, and  feeling very ill most of the morning. By the time I got to the hospital, I was light-headed and clammy, with a pulse of 114. Not fun.

They put me on a gurney, got my IV ready and gave me fluids and warm blankets. They wheeled me into the procedure room, and gave me sweet drugs. I fell asleep and woke up a minute later, to "Okay, we're all done." My headache was gone, my nausea was gone, the clammyness was gone. It was wonderful - all farts and chuckles for the next half hour, while I sipped a ginger ale and thought about what I'd like to eat.

The colonoscopy is easy-peasy. The prep is gross, but if it weren't for the migraine and late-afternoon appointment, that wouldn't have been terrible, either. Twilight drugs are marvelous. All in all a very simple and not unpleasant experience. I do not fear having to do it again in 10 years. Besides, rich assholes pay good money for cleanses like this.

Clean as a whistle, by the way. So whatever my issues are, it's not cancer and that I can live with. The peace of mind is worth the stiff neck I have today from not being able to medicate my migraine in time. Don't put it off if you have to do it.

1 comment:

cath c said...

maybe you just needed a good cleanse. :)