I just recently endured my first colonoscopy! Thankfully, it was a success!

Although I’m in my mid 30s and you usually don’t need a colonoscopy until you are in your 50s, my older sister had some pre-cancerous colon polyps removed. As a result, her doctor recommended that all of her siblings get scoped… just to be safe.

So Wednesday at 2 p.m., I began drinking a 4-liter jug of Colyte, with lemon-lime flavor crystals. So, I’d like to share a few tips to help anyone else getting a colonoscopy procedure endure with ease and success!

Step-by-Step Preparation for a Colonoscopy

Step #1 – No Solid Foods

First of all, the day before your colonoscopy you are not supposed to eat any solid food. So, all day Wednesday I drank Gatorade, apple juice and water. You could have  clear broth soup, but I chose not to.

Step #2 – Drinking Colyte

Around 2pm yesterday, I gulped down my first 8 oz glass of Colyte, which is a laxative solution that increases the amount of water in the intestinal tract to stimulate bowel movements. I had done some research about various techniques for drinking it and decided to mix it up the day before and chilled it in the fridge overnight. This was a good choice!

The Colyte tastes like salty kool-aid, which isn’t as terribly bad as most people I talked to warned me about. But, there was 4 liters worth I had to swallow!

Drink a glass of Colyte every 10 minutes.  After a few glasses, I found it wasn’t so easy to swallow. I got smart after about 5 or 6 glasses. The tip that worked for me was following the salty aftertaste of Colyte with a sip of apple juice.  Another good choice!

By about 3:30 p.m., I had my first bowel movement. I’ll spare you the details, but the first BM was pretty normal.

Let me say that after the 4th or 5th glass, I started to get the chills.  My hands and feet got clammy, so I put on some slippers and covered my bald head with a hat to try and stay as warm as possible. I don’t have a scientific explanation as to why I got the chills, but my best guess would be that all the blood is draw to your guts to help digestion and …ahem…bowel movements.

The end was in sight and after about 18 glasses, I had finally finished drinking the entire 4-liter bottle of Colyte. Believe it or not, but it went pretty fast. I would have to say that the last few glasses packed more of a potent punch than the first.  Let me offer you this piece of advice for success: shake the bottle of Colyte before each glass.  Mine seemed to settle in the bottom, which is why the last few rounds were probably a little harder to get down.

Eventually, your stools become clear liquid. It make take a while… but after about 3 bowel movements, everything is liquid.

Step #3: Take a Nap

With the final glass of Colyte comes well-deserved celebration! I wrapped up in a warm blanket and took a nap for about 20 minutes…

Later, I still had a good night’s sleep, about 8 hours worth – this is an invaluable tip!  Then, at 7 am I was up and at ’em, heading to the doctor’s office for my first colonoscopy!!!

Step #4: Procedure Prep

After drinking all that Colyte, I was ready to get this colonoscopy over with and wasn’t nervous at all! I checked in, changed into a gown (lovely) and got my blood pressure checked.  Thankfully, it was 127/67!  Considering most people have “white jacket hypertension” when they go to the doctor (your blood pressure rises in a response to seeing the doctor), I was happy with my numbers!

Next, I got an IV with saline solution. By the way, did you know that saline solution (saltwater, basically), helps open up your blood vessels?  The reason salt is considered “bad” for high blood pressure is due to a lack of potassium, not an abundance of salt…So, some people can simply increase their intake of potassium, and lower their blood pressure without doing anything else!

Next, they rolled me into the procedure room…

I talked to the doctor a bit. I told him my mother was more nervous than I was about the procedure! When I was a baby, I had Hirschsprungs Disease and underwent 6 or 7 surgical procedures to correct the nerves in my intestines. They were basically dead and I couldn’t have a bowel movement. But, thankfully I’ve had no problems since I was 1 year old!

After a nice chat with the doctor, I got the beloved drugs….and dozed off. My last words were, “Have fun down there!”

Step #5 – Recovery

About 45 minutes later (I think), I woke up in my recovery room. I have no memory of what happened next! I think… I drank some apple juice.  I think… my wife and 2 of my boys came in.  She said she took pictures of me and that I didn’t say much. I managed to put on my clothes somehow, but I barely remember anything!  But, I do vaguely remember mooning my wife (I won’t show you that picture)!

The doctor came in and gave me the good news that my colon looked great! It was 70cm long, compares to the average 100cm for most people, so the procedure was a little quicker than usual. Thankfully, there  were no polyps or anything!  The colonoscopy was a success! I am so thankful for a clean bill of health!

My wife drove me from the hospital, so we went to lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s where I had a salad.  I had no pain whatsoever! I also called my parents on the way there, to let them know all was well (and I have no remembrance of that call, either…)!

Colon cancer is the No. 2 cancer killer in the United States (behind lung cancer), and yet is also one of the most preventable (and curable) cancers – if caught early by colon screening. Unlike breast cancer, colon cancer (in nearly all cases) doesn’t just appear. It begins as slow-growing and completely silent precancerous polyps. If we can find them, we can nip a potential problem before it causes harm.

To do this properly, the doctor needs to be able to see everything clearly on the inside. A colon filled with stool is impossible to examine after bowel movements have cleared it out.. Let me leave you with these 5 tips for a successful colonoscopy:

  1. Keep a good attitude, follow the directions and don’t worry.
  2. Sip some light-colored juice after each glass of Colyte to get of rid the salty taste.
  3. Wear sweatpants for easy access (due to multiple trips to the bathroom cleaning out the colon).
  4. Eat a healthy meal after the procedure – why introduce junk to your intestines after they’ve been detoxified?
  5. Have someone video tape you in the recovery room – you might say some funny things that you won’t remember later 🙂

Bottom line is that your life just might depend on getting tested for colon cancer. There is absolutely nothing

to be

afraid of. It’s truly easy and breezy. Do it.

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