Colonoscopy. A word that can strike fear into the adult population, myself included. Yet, this was exactly the procedure suggested by my PCP upon referring me to a gastroenterologist when I scheduled an appointment due to hemorrhoids. I had hoped to put this day off for another decade and a half until age 50. After all, colonoscopies, and the preparations involved, get a bum rap (I have to try to lighten the mood, given the topic). In all honesty, the anxiety beforehand was far worse than the procedure.
The first time my PCP suggested I meet with a gastroenterologist was last June. I ended up brushing off the referral and dealt with the symptoms. But just last month I couldn’t ignore them any longer. In desperation, I called and set an appointment with my PCP, and 3 weeks later I was scheduled for an appointment with the gastroenterologist. My anxiety was high as I waited, and waited, and waited to be seen that day. Although the wait was an extreme disappointment (the office was short-staffed and overbooked), the physician was pleasant and gave me enough consult time to put my fears at ease.
As I walked out the door of the exam room and to the checkout counter, I suddenly wanted to wait. I wanted to have a long wait until the procedure could be performed. Unfortunately (or so I thought), the endoscopy center had an opening just 48 hours away. I apprehensively accepted and walked out of the office. Many thoughts flooded my mind. “24 hours of clear liquids only? Are you kidding me? I have to drink how much of the nasty drink? How long will I be sequestered to the bathroom?”
The following day (24 hours prior to the procedure), my diet consisted of ginger ale, lime sugar-free gelatin, and chicken broth. After two bottles of magnesium citrate in the afternoon and evening, I had drank about all the liquid I could handle. I’ll spare you the details, but the drink did its job, and my sleep that night was only disturbed a few times.
The next morning was a breeze. I was scheduled for a 7:15 a.m. arrival time at the endoscopy center. I was asleep in the procedure room by 8:30 a.m. I was woken at 9:00 a.m. after the procedure was complete, and I was out the door 45 minutes later (would have been sooner but my ride home was a bit slow). The discharge instructions noted what I had suspected, small internal and external hemorrhoids and some diverticulosis (not unexpected given a family history of the disease), but nothing had been biopsied and sent out to pathology. Hooray! I walked away with answers and the satisfaction of being told my next procedure didn’t need to happen before age 50.
In 48 short hours, I had gone from extreme nervousness and anxiety simply at the prospect of meeting the gastroenterologist and having a colonoscopy ordered, to relief in knowing that the procedure was now a thing of the past and wouldn’t have to be repeated for 15 years. So, what’s your excuse? What are you waiting for? Get it over with and get some peace of mind
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. For more information check out, http://www.ccalliance.org/