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Part 2: My Colonoscopy: The Prep & Procedure

By February 16, 2024Featured Articles

Before my prep, I religiously watched all of Allison Rosen’s (a colon cancer survivor and wonderful awareness advocate) prep-tip TikToks in the days leading up to my colonoscopy, which was super helpful! I stocked up on all the essentials that her and her followers recommend (Gatorade, apple juice, Lemonheads, lime popsicles, etc), I already have a bidet, and I fell even more in love with my 64 oz water bottle and my blanket cloak – It’s so important to stay hydrated, cozy, and warm!

Prep day I tried to relax as much as possible, and worry as little as possible. I made sure to drink plenty of water, and apple juice when I got sick of the water. I sucked on some candy and enjoyed some popsicles, and peed a whole bunch from drinking so much. By that evening, I was pretty hangry (hungry and angry), and already planning all of the snacks I would enjoy in the following days (dark chocolate, sour cream & onion chips, pickles, strawberries). 

At 5 pm, I took the “gentle laxatives.” I have to say, I was pretty nervous. Reading Reddit threads of people complaining about the prep didn’t help. “My a** was like a volcano,” thanks random internet dude, I really didn’t want to think about that. 

I started getting nauseous about half an hour later and took a Zofran (which was also prescribed to me for the prep), and within 10 minutes I found myself glued to the toilet. Let’s just say that I’m glad when commenters on TikTok said not to trust their farts, I listened.

Other than being hungry, nauseous, and on the toilet for a while – it wasn’t so bad. And the nausea counteracted the hunger. It’s almost exactly like having the flu, minus the fever. You’re shaky, tired, nauseous, and have diarrhea. Not great, but not “OMG I can’t handle this” bad. 

And although the first hour was quite miserable, once the Zofran kicked in and I wasn’t nauseous anymore, it wasn’t so terrible. I couldn’t taste the Miralax in the Gatorade at all, and I watched a funny show while I spent my time in the bathroom. I finished drinking it all by 7:30 pm and the only thing I felt was full from how much liquid I had consumed. 

Before doing the prep, I had it in my head that it was an all-day debacle and I’d be in the bathroom for hours. Potentially all night. My anxiety about it was definitely worse than the experience itself, which I’m extremely grateful for. 

It also helped that I followed my doctor’s instructions and adhered to a low-fiber diet 3 days before my colonoscopy. I was taking in very little fiber, and the day before my prep I ate fairly small meals. My guess is that the prep is far worse and takes longer if you have more food and fiber in your system that needs to be cleared out. So while I missed chocolate greatly, it was worth it to stay away. 

I slept on the couch through the night to be closer to the bathroom, but only woke up 3 times to use it. Overall, I got better sleep than I thought I would. At 7:50 am (4 hours before leaving my house for the procedure), it was time to drink the magnesium citrate. It tasted AWFUL! Super salty and grape-flavored (I strongly dislike grape-flavored things), so I treated it like I was taking shots. One shot, chaser, one shot, chaser, etc. It made me laugh and was much more bearable. 

Your brain says, “Ick, this is going to taste like rubbing alcohol” and then it doesn’t and you’re grateful for the weird, salty grape!

The Procedure:

Once at my GI doctor’s; my weight, blood pressure, and heartbeat were taken. They went over my chart and medical history, and then it was time. I changed into the gown and was given some warm blankets. Everyone I met on the day of my colonoscopy was super helpful and kind in explaining everything to me. I had heart monitors and an IV tube placed, and then I went back into the procedure room. The IV was honestly my biggest fear, I hate needles. 

I then met with my doctor, and she explained everything to me (the sedation, pain meds, what I would experience), and I was hooked up to all of the things. I laid on my left side, and once the meds hit I felt like I was drifting off to sleep. I remember looking at the screen initially when the camera was inserted, which I don’t remember feeling, and then I was asleep. I woke up groggy and off-balance, but otherwise completely good.

The doctor said that she took some biopsies to test for microscopic colitis, but there was no serious inflammation and everything looked good! Until those results come back, it appears I just have good-ol IBS! My mind has finally been put at ease, and the whole procedure was even easier and smoother than when I got my wisdom teeth taken out!

On the way home, my boyfriend stopped and got me some french fries and a strawberry milkshake, at my insistence, and then I came home and took a long nap! Overall, it was not nearly as bad of an experience as some people (and our anxious brains) make it out to be, and I’m very grateful that I was able to get a colonoscopy and receive happy results. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have let my fear allow me to put it off for so long. My advice:

  • Learn about your different testing and prep options, it’s not a “one-size-fits-all.”
    Read “Screening Options
  • Listen to the advice of everyone you can, good or bad, about their colonoscopy experiences – everyone is different!
    Read “Colonoscopy Tips
  • Advocate, advocate, advocate! Your opinions and preferences are valid, and you know your body best.
  • Check your colon!!!


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