18 September 2013

gastro girl, this

Hi, I’m Rosee and I had a colonoscopy done recently. Gaaah, I wish there was a more ‘glam’ way of admitting that. If you’re not familiar with the term, colonoscopy is a medical procedure that examines the large bowel. The gastroenterologist uses a colonoscope (a long, firm, flexible plastic tube with a video camera at one end) instrument to get a magnified view of the colon lining. (Thank you google for this information.)

Why did I have it done? I have always wanted it done. Not for kinks, trust me. I have a very strong family history of colon cancer and ever since it has shattered my (our) world, I was always curious about the status of my colon. My GP, recognizing that I am a little panicky, first suggested yoga and exercise. I did both (I still do). It hasn’t given me peace of mind though. I went back to my GP and she has decided to write me a referral. Hurrah!

In a perfect world, I would have done it on the very first instance. In my not so perfect world, I had to get the hubby to keep his work calendar free. I needed someone to drive me to and from the hospital. He rescheduled a business trip once I have locked in an appointment. I had to arrange extra day care for my two non-school age kids. And well, I had to talk myself through the process.

Nothing more confronting than facing one of your greatest fears. I'd get so paranoid I commiserated over the unknowns. My hubby cheered me on. He says, early detection is key. Riiiight?

So off I went. But first, I met with a nurse to discuss the infamous colonoscopy preparation. Apparently this is the hard bit. They weren’t kidding.

For four days pre-op, I followed a strictly low fibre diet. White rice, white bread, no fruits, no veggies. The logic is that high fibre food leaves residues in the colon. The goal is to empty my bowel so that the gastroenterologist can examine it.

 I missed having fruits the most. I ate kiwi fruit on the first day, realised it was banned then decided to consume it anyway. Felt like cheating but my gosh, when it was prohibited, the kiwi fruit tasted really really good.

No food was to be consumed after 6pm on the night prior to the procedure. By 6am, the day of the ‘great emptying’, I had to start drinking 3 litres of water mixed with glycoprep solution. Holy frickin’ gag! I gagged. It was, for lack of a better description, just salty water. Yuck.  

I was told that the ‘great emptying’ was going to occur an hour after drinking the solution. Yes it did. Bottoms up! 

By 1pm, hubby dropped me off at the hospital. I met the nurse, the gastroenterologist, and the anaesthetist. Now the anaesthetist- I have a love affair with, due to their offering of general anaesthesia- comes in, inserts a needle and says ‘ this will put you to sleep...’

Then.. I woke up. Procedure done.

I was ushered into a recovery room. They provided coffee, sandwiches and cookies. It was my first food for the day and it was possibly, the most satisfying meal I've ever eaten. 

The nurse came back to deliver the result of the procedure: NORMAL. No polyps. Colon in good condition. Thankful, happy, joy, joy! They recommended I  have another check in 5 years. Yucky glycoprep solution- pffft, I will do that again. All that trouble for my peace of mind was totally worth it.

Have you thought about the health of your colon? Information is key. Early detection will save lives. Head on over to  http://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/.

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