It’s my birthday tomorrow. I will be 47 years old and right now I’m feeling every 17, 168 days of it. That’s because I’ll be in hospital prepping for a colonoscopy which will take place on Tuesday. I had this procedure once before 8 years ago, and because I knew what was coming this time my anxiety levels have been steadily rising for the last couple of weeks. I think it’s fair to say I keep it pretty real on these blogs and tell it like it is in the ups and downs of life, so a colonoscopy procedure shouldn’t be the exception. I recently joined a forum for people with Lynch Syndrome (see links at the bottom-‘scuse the pun!) and whilst I don’t have a Lynch diagnosis, I have been referred for genetic testing to see if I have it. (My colonoscopy is because of a family history of colon cancer and a possible link to Lynch) I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it, but on the forum I have met some lovely, hugely supportive and very brave people. After going on there a day or so ago and fessing up that my anxiety levels are steadily increasing, and asking how people cope, I had lots of lovely responses including this one.
Blogging, I can do. Imagining I’m 25 again is probably an imagination too far! Anyway today is part one of my two-part Colonoscopy blogs, so if you’re a young, newly diagnosed Lynchy facing a colonoscopy, or a not so borderline middle-aged whiney big, scared, baby like me, or if you are simply facing your first colonoscopy for whatever reason and just reading up about then hopefully these blogs can be of help, and it helps me to write about it. My misery is your misery. 😉
Two Days Before
Today is Sunday and my colonoscopy is booked for Tuesday. So today I have to start the celebrations by activating ‘preparation for the preparation’. This means eating a modified diet and ditching all the things you’re usually encouraged to eat like fruit and vegetables, brown bread, bran and anything which creates fibre. Instead I can eat white bread (I never touch the stuff normally) boiled chicken, cheese, eggs, fish and jelly, but probably not all in one sitting. If you’re facing a colonoscopy and didn’t get a list from your hospital then search ‘diet before Picolax’ and you’ll find all sorts of hospital sites with advice on foods to avoid to help the preparation for the preparation. The preparation is in my case something I’ve just named called Picolax, it’s the mother of all laxatives. You may get a different laxative, according to your own health issues and doctor’s prescription etc but they all amount to the same thing. Gunpowder for the butt. Sorry guys but you’re going to have to cancel all plans and park yourself near a toilet for the day. In my case, because I live in Orkney and am going to see a specialist on the mainland of Scotland I will be flying off on Monday morning and spending the prep day at a hospital, but the norm is to have your bowel prep in the comfort of your own home. Either way you will be forging a well-trodden trail between your chair and the toilet so you might as well cancel all plans for the day and suck it up. (You certainly won’t be able to hold it in!) In preparation for the preparation I have downloaded some films to watch, and will be crocheting snowflakes for Christmas bunting and finishing my book. Not sure how many times I’ll have to hit pause during the film viewing but I can let you know tomorrow… all in good time.
If you’re feeling anxious that’s normal. Let’s face it nobody really wants ton of laxative followed by a camera up the poop shoot do they??!!! and even if you’re facing a routine colonoscopy like me you’re bound to be a little anxious about the results. But for now, lets take one day at a time. Talking about bottoms and poop is utterly mortifying for many but I can promise you that doctors, nurses and carers can tell a lot about what’s going on by the state of your poop. Having been a carer I can assure you that if you’ve seen one bottom you’ve seen them all and doctors, nurses and carers are pretty unshockable. I don’t believe in obsessing about something that’s not there, but I do believe that if it’s been suggested that you have a colonoscopy that you go ahead and do so. We are very privileged in the western world to have such easy access to these kinds of things. Dealing with anything sooner is far better than the alternative. My poor mum went through months of misery due to colon cancer that was pretty advanced when discovered and she almost didn’t survive. That was 8 years ago and she would be the first to say just take the 24 hours of misery as it’s WAY better than the alternative.
Don’t die of embarrassment,
Get your butt seen, be brave.
Right, I’m going in……
Thanks to Channel 5’s Matthew Wright for a great line.
Lynch Syndrome for further reading.
I’ll also be making a vlog which I’ll add later.