Colonoscopy testimonial page (under construction)
This is a collection of emails from folks who have had the exam. Some authors wished to be identified, while others are anonymous--all notes are used here with permission..
Charles Funk <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just wanted to get back to you about my colonoscopy experience. You were kind enough to share yours with me and the rest of world and to answer rather forthrightly all the specific questions and concerns I had as I was facing this unusual exam. I found your accessibility and honesty very reassuring and comforting. Thanks, again for that.
It went pretty much the way you had prepared me for it, I'm happy to report. The worst part, indeed was the prep. That stuff is awful. I think it would be better to mix it with kerosene in order to kill the taste. Lemon and lime soda only helped a little. But, the worst part was the incessant running to the bathroom. I had the fleets phosphorus soda. This requires two doses. I was scheduled for 7 AM admission. So, I had to take the second dose by 4 AM. I just couldn't fall asleep, no matter how hard I tried. So, I lay awake until about 5 AM. I had to get up by 6 to make it to the hospital on time....all the way in the car feeling the urge to go...which I did immediately upon arrival. Then the nurse reassured me that any further urgings weren't going to be a problem. Until then I was mostly anxious about embarrassing myself.
Just as you and others have said, the procedure itself was nothing at all, even easier than the seigmoidoscopy I told you I had done some years back.
The doctor did find and remove six polyps, one rather large, from my intestines this morning and he said he saw the beginning of diverticulosis.He said the polyps look benign. The lab reports will clarify that. I will be a bit anxious until I get them back which could be as long as two weeks.
The other condition can be treated non invasively. But, if it weren't detected, as you know, a whole different set of unpleasant problems would have developed.
As I understand it, removing what we hope are benign polyps, denies colon cancer a site to develop in later on. That's one of the main reasons for this procedure and makes all the prep unpleasantness worth enduring. I'll be meeting with the doctor in about two weeks when he has the lab reports. I'll report back to you then.
Thanks again, friend, for sharing and for reaching out like you have...
I think I forgot to tell you. I got the results of my January 21st colonoscopy. One of the polyps had cancer in it. The doctor says I'm "cured" since he removed it. But, I have to do the test again in a year. Imagine if I didn't go or was too afraid to go. It would have been a completely different story in a year or two.
I'm still a little shook up about this. It's like a near miss while driving in busy traffic. No collision but your heart is still in your mouth for a while.
Just another example of why these tests are necessary.
Thanks for you encouragement. Keep up the good work. It certainly is very worthwhile. I have become a missionary about this to other men over 40 or 50. Just thought you should know...
All went well. The Fleet was not bad at all. I installed myself in the loo with 4 books and 5 liters of water. The exams -endoscopy and colonoscopy were no problem. I spent the next day lolling about in bed and am fine. Thank you for your encouragement.
As you know, I was pretty nervous before my colonoscopy, and was searching the internet for more information so I could be as prepared as possible. Watching Katie Couric's video did help get a few nerves out. I'm 23 and my dad died of colon cancer at 59 and there are various other grandparents, etc., who have had it, so my small symptoms that would normally not be a concern warranted a check just in case. It was a relief to know that I would know for certain, but scary to know that I could get some bad news too. Beyond that vague fear, though, was my real fear of needles and particularly IV's.
So, I followed my regimen- no purple or red liquids or food with seeds two days before, clear liquids only the day before, with some magnesium citrate, fleets phospho-soda and anti-nausea pills in the middle there. I wasn't in a great mood the day before- I'm fond of eating solid foods, and probably was feeling a little whiny about not getting to eat dinner with my husband (I don't think I'll crave a gummy bear again for a long time- I ate a bunch of those). I had to do the last bottle of fleets at 4 am for my 6:30 appointment, but aside from the horrible taste, that wasn't as bad as I expected. I actually slept pretty well and woke up just fine when I needed to head to the bathroom (I was a little worried about whether I'd wake up- it wasn't a problem at all). A suggestion I read somewhere of having baby wipes on hand was good- I did get pretty sore. However, I thought I would spend a lot of time just sitting there (I even had a book ready for just this event), but that wasn't the case- I was in and out pretty quickly each time.
Finally, my husband drove me to the endoscopy center early that morning and things really got going. I went to a wonderful place with very friendly people and warm blankets and gowns (they actually had a heated closet for those things!). I got teary as soon as I knew it was time for the IV, but I did get some ice chips out of the deal- my veins aren't easy to find to begin with, I guess, and I was very dehydrated, so they hoped the ice chips would help. They did have some difficulty sticking me, and I did do some crying (nerves, hunger, sleepiness... a wonderful combination), but the techs were so comforting and indulgent that it was as pleasant as that could have possibly been for me. They then rolled me into the room and away from my husband, but toward the sedative : ) This is the part where my memory gets hazy- my doctor isn't shy about the sedatives- a big difference from Katie Couric's. >From what they tell me, they also found out that I have a spastic colon, so they had to give me extra to calm it down. The next thing I remember is waking up chewing a peanut butter cracker (the best I've ever had) and drinking hot chocolate that was heavenly! My husband teases me that I said it was the best hot chocolate ever and asked what kind it was and they said it was just Swiss Miss. Watch out- sedatives can make you goofy : ) I guess I kept falling asleep while chewing. I was a little wobbily getting dressed, but I felt totally fine in my stomach-area after a few peanut butter crackers. I fell asleep on the drive home and took a two hour nap right away. I had some peanut butter toast for my first meal back because I was a little worried about overdoing it. However, I stayed awake the rest of the day and that night we went to Mom's and ate fried chicken and popovers and everything else and I did just fine and felt pretty much great all night. I'm told I had several identical conversations more than once with my husband that morning and afternoon, and definitely wanted to talk to my family about it because I was so relieved it was over and proud that I got through it ok.
In the end, I had a small polyp that was benign, but of course could have grown up to be cancer, so I'm clear and marking my calendar for another visit in three years. I'm really happy to be able to say that I've done it and I know what's happening in there, and I'm trying to put the IV scariness behind me. It was totally worth it and the people who helped me through it were wonderful, including my indulgent husband. Thanks for setting me on the right path, Bill! I hope this is helpful to your readers!
Thank you for your colonoscopy info. Read your story on a Friday and had mine done the following Monday. The prep "cocktail" was OK on round one, but round two was a bit more difficult to get down. Worst part the next day was that I was so dry. Had my appointment for 9:00. Was taken in about 9:15 and out like a light by 9:45. Best snooze that I have ever had. Awoke to a possible polypoid fold, which did not seem unusual to the doctor. Have to call him in a week. Thanks for the "heads up" on what to expect. Nancy
Bill you gave me courage. I wanted to share my story and message with you.
I wanted to share my experience with any of you who may be as fearful as I was before having mine. I read a bunch of different sites looking a people's opinions and in some cases horror stories about the pain they had. This made me wonder because I knew the inside of the intestines had no pain receptors, but I am not a doctor so I took it for face value. Needless to say their comments as well as my own fears were scared me to death. I am 40 years old and had a positive fecal occult blood results (I believe that was the test) and my doctor recommended I get it done. I only had an Uncle who had colon cancer but he got it in his 70's and thus the Doctors were not concerned from the family history standpoint.
So here is how it went for me. I am writing this just hours after having the procedure.
You may have read elsewhere that the prep is the worst and by god it sure is. I used Fleet Phospho Soda, ginger-lemon flavor and mixed it into ginger ale and one Diet Sierra Mist. The taste was not all that bad. I had three cans, each mixed with 1 tablespoon, from 4-6pm and another 3 cans from 9-11pm. I will admit the last two cans were a bit tough to get down. The first dose did not start to work until about 1.5 hours. Once this stuff gets going it is like Niagara Falls. I thought for sure I would not have much sleep at night but that really was not the case. After the last can I had to hit the bathroom twice in the next half hour but then fell asleep until 1:39am when I was awaken by the biggest call of the Niagara Falls I had. After that two more times up at night and a couple of small ones in the morning. My procedure was not til 11am.
The Morning of the Procedure:
Needless to say I was beat up. The Fleet had done a number on my system. It did give me chills or maybe nerves did but I did spend the night under two or three sets of covers. I was extremely nervous and emotional. All kinds of thoughts about the procedure and cancer running through my head. At 9:20 my wife, 17 mo old daughter and I headed for the hospital outpatient surgery center. When we got their we proceeded to the GI lab for check in and because of the flu epidemic my wife had to leave with our little one. I waited to be called in and once I was a great nurse interviewed me. She saw I was extremely nervous and proceeded to try and calm me saying the prep was the worst part and it was over. Not to get ahead but she was right. I got to change out of all my cloths, except my socks and sit back down where she took some vitals and started an IV with a Sodium something drip. This actually made me feel better after a while because of the dehydration from the prep. After about 20 minutes I was walked over with my IV to the procedure room.
Once in this room the nurse, who again saw I was nervous did everything to calm me down. She laid me on the bed on my left side and proceeded to assure me that i would not remember a thing. The doctor came in and talked to me a bit explained the procedure and then the first cocktail of drug was administered into my IV. The two drugs were versed and a form of Morphine which I cannot remember the name. I immediately started to feel more comfortable but still remember talking wit the Doctor and Nurse. The next thing I heard was the doctor say to administer some more of the cocktail and that is the last thing I remember until waking up in recovery with my wife tapping on my arm and then feeding me a muffin and some cranberry juice. I felt absolutely nothing of the procedure nor do I remember any of it. No pain afterward just the relief it was over and although I do not remember my wife did confirm the Doctor said my colon was normal, no polyps or other strange things, just a couple of small internal hemorrhoids (Did I spell that right) that were the culprits of the bleeding. He just said to go on a high fiber diet and see me in 10 years.
I know many of you reading this may be under great stress and very emotional about this procedure. I was big time. But after the experience I can say I would never fear this procedure again and will do it as the doctor said or if other problems should ever arise. The two drugs of Versed and the derivative of Morphine were absolutely the most fantastic thing I ever had. And the news that nothing was wrong is invaluable. What piece of mind. The prep sucks, but the test is nothing. Go and do it and get piece of mind or find the problem before it can't be cured.
Best of luck and god bless
Dear Bill L,
Thank you so very much for making available all of the details about your experience with colonoscopy. As I am sure is true with many others, I find it easier to face the unknown after I have learned everything I possibly can about it, and it is reassuring to hear testimonials from real people stating that the test is not something to stress about. Yes, I did stress, but not as much as I would have!
In my case, I am 45 years old, don't have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, but have been experiencing pain and indigestion for quite a while and finally took charge of my health. My doctor referred me to a specialist, a wonderful G.I. who recommended not only a colonoscopy but also an upper endoscopy. I scheduled these on the same day so that I wouldn't have to go through two separate procedures.
As everyone else says, the prep is the worst part. I was miserable, sore, and my insides were protesting most of the night, making it impossible to sleep for more than 2 hours. Morning of the test I was sore, tired, crabby and trying to just keep focused on the fact that it would be over soon! I had a moment of weakness when the nurse was walking me into the pre-op area, where I wanted to run and go home. She saw that I was rather nervous and very warmly told me not to worry, they would put me to sleep and I would wake up thinking it hadn't even begun.
Finally in the procedure room, the anesthesiologist told me the same thing-- that I would soon fall asleep and would wake up asking, "when does it start?" Shortly after my doctor walked into the room, a nurse asked me to bite down on a small round mouthpiece that would hold my teeth apart for the upper endoscope. Less than a minute later I realized that I must already have some of the sedatives running through my veins, and I looked over at my doctor, and then must have immediately fell asleep. Next thing I knew, I was hearing voices, realized I was waking up and wanted to shout "I love all of you for making this so easy!"!! I was still very drowsy so no words came out of my mouth at that time. :)
I am grateful to everyone who took the time to write about their experience online for others to read. My doctor did stop by my bedside to say that my colon looks "perfect", and that my stomach is "irritated", and that she will go over the results in detail in her office when I am fully awake (which happens today in a few hours).
At first I wasn't sure if I should write back and tell you about my experience, but then I saw that you had some testimonials on your site, so here I am. It was so helpful to read your account of your colonoscopy, and maybe it will help someone to read about mine.
I had a choice of prep methods, and I didn't really know which to choose, the liquid or the pills. The nurse suggested the pills, because the process would be faster. I filled the prescription for Vicidol (I think I have spelled it correctly, but I'm not positive), and I was given 28 pills. I was instructed to take twenty of them the evening before the procedure, four at a time, beginning at 5:00 and then at each 15-minute interval until I had swallowed all 28. I was supposed to drink at least 8 ounces of a clear liquid with each dose. It was recommended that I drink ginger ale, and it was required that I take it for the last dose.
Well... this was easier said than done. The pills were enormous. I tried, but I couldn't swallow them. The instructions indicated that you could break them in half if necessary. I did that, but it was still difficult. It took me a long time to get them all down. But it didn't take long for the desired effect to occur.I told my husband to use another bathroom. "Why?" he asked. "Does the bathroom look like the only restroom in the middle of the desert?" "It does," I assented. I kept using the bathroom off and on for several hours, the last time being about 12:00 midnight. It was so frequent that I almost missed Richard getting voted off the island on "Survivor."
The next morning I felt kind of ill. While I was taking a shower I began to feel very sick to my stomach and I thought I was going to faint. Fortunately, this feeling passed. At 8:00 a.m. I had 8 more pills to take in two 4-pill doses along with the now dreaded ginger ale. I was able to complete the dosing regimen (hurray, hurrah!) and the next times I had to go the amount was less and less. I did some light housework and read the newspaper until it was time to go.
My appointment was at 12:45. I waited just a few minutes until I was called in. The nurse made sure there was someone waiting for me to drive me home following the colonoscopy. I was led to a hospital bed (although this was not a hospital--this was the Digestive Diseases Center which adjoined the hospital) and the nurse told me I could leave on my shirt, but to take off my levis and put on the hospital gown. Then I got into the bed and another nurse inserted an IV in my right arm. The nurses were very kind and funny, too. I was wheeled to the area where the colonoscopy would take place and I met he doctor. I had spoken to her on the phone a few weeks before and I had been very impressed with how nice she was. Then when I saw her in person, I got to see that she was as nice as I had envisioned. I would readily recommend Dr. Cordini to anyone in the area who needed a colonoscopy.
I cannot tell you anything about the procedure because I was completely knocked out, under the influenceof the anesthesia. The last thing I remember was telling the doctor the ages of my four cats. I began to feel a bit woozy and then I was gone. So when I woke up the nurse said I could get dressed. I asked my husband later how long I had been in there, and he said it was about an hour and a half. I had to take a wheelchair ride out to the parking lot, but I walked the rest of the way to the car. When I got home I felt like sleeping for a while, so I did.
I had been given the results of my colonoscopy to take home. The doctor had written "Good News!" on the top of the report. Everything was normal. And the doctor indicated that the prep had been good, so I guess I had done a good job as far as that business was concerned! Later, when I felt like it, we went to Taco Bell. I was ready for something to eat!
Thank you again for your kind response to my letter.
Just wanted to send a note to say how much I benefitted from your website and the "testimonials" as I anticipated my first colonoscopy (done on 1/31). This site was by far the most helpful of any I found. My thanks to you for such thorough details, and to everyone who wrote in and told their stories. It helps a great deal to have a sense of what to anticipate.
I'm 51 and my primary care doctor kept telling me to go get the colonoscopy so I scheduled the procedure and then spent ten days in high anxiety and dread. Actually going through it -- even drinking the two doses of the Fleets and all that flushing out -- was nowhere as bad the worry I put myself through anticipating it. (Note: my G-I doctor prescribed the Nulytely but after research I realized I would have an awful time with it so I called him for another option, which is when he approved the Fleets phosphosoda -- so people should know that they can ask for alternatives.) The medical team at the hospital were great and I was loopy for the rest of the morning thanks to the happy juice they drugged me with.
Fortunately the doctor found no problems other than a few hemorroids so I feel really blessed. Next time I will not over-worry the prep. What's a day or two of discomfort, drinking a couple of glasses of salty stuff, and a few hours of diarrhea compared to an extended illness and/or fighting for your life? As to the procedure itself, the versed and other meds mostly did the trick. I do remember a couple of "pain" moments but the medical team was on it instantly and it didn't last. Again, a small price to pay for the peace of mind I now have.
The only advice I'd give -- which is already on your site -- is to take care to stay hydrated during the prep, keep drinking those clear liquids (I found water the most soothing, but everybody's system is different).
Thanks again for the information and encouragement, it's a real service.
2 Feb 2005
More to come.....