*This post contains an affiliate link if you click and purchase I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.
A colonoscopy is a required screening for colorectal cancer at age 50. After discussing with friends and family, I knew some of the details related to the overall procedure. Last year, Will Smith posted himself in a hospital gown on the day of his procedure. Will neglected to include was the reality of preparing for a colonoscopy. I will try to give as much detail as possible.
Where do I start? I would suggest eating light at least 3 days before the procedure. Why? The colon has to be cleansed for the procedure. This means according to my doctor’s instructions you will have to take laxatives. The food that goes in must come out. If possible I would do the procedure on a Monday morning so the prep is on Sunday. I think the more relaxed you are the better.
Three Days Before Colonoscopy
My prep instructions mentioned three days before to avoid nuts, seeds, and popcorn. Also, to stop iron supplements. I stopped taking my fish oil and vitamin E supplements the weekend before since these are blood thinners. I stopped my multivitamin on Monday before. Another suggestion I have is to THOROUGHLY READ INSTRUCTIONS for prep and allow time to call the doctor if you have any questions.
Two Days Before Colonoscopy
Two days before the procedure I tried to stick to my usual diet of whole grains, veggies, protein, and fruit for my three meals. The day before my procedure was restricted to only two meals, breakfast and lunch before my clear liquids only.
The Day Before Colonoscopy
There are restrictions on eliminating whole grains from meals. This means no oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat products. My doctor’s instructions said to have low residue foods and I had to Google to find foods in this category. My breakfast included scrambled eggs and turkey bacon. Lunch was black beans and sweet potato. From 1:00 PM on no solid foods and only clear liquids. This means no beverages with color.
Before starting laxatives, plan to be near a bathroom. I had to purchase Dulcolax, 64oz of Gatorade(clear) and 238 g Miralax. My first round was taking 4 tablets and then two hours later drinking the first 32oz of Gatorade/Miralax mixture. It’s a process and it is uncomfortable. My ob/GYN told me to buy baby wipes and Desitin. This was the best advice. Sleeping was really just a round of catnaps. A double dose of laxatives kept me in the bathroom multiple times throughout the wee hours of the morning.
The Day of Colonoscopy
My second round of the 32oz of Gatorade/Miralax was to be taken 5 hours before I left for the procedure. I will say it did get easier as the cleansing was almost complete. The procedure was done at an endoscopy center. You must have someone to drive you and stay. The check-in was simple as I changed into two gowns and kept on my socks. The first nurse reviewed whether I finished the prep and how much and when I stopped drinking liquids before I arrived. The next nurse inserted my IV. Then the doctor came in to explain the procedure. Next, the nurse anesthetist wheeled me into the procedure room. I was given oxygen, blood pressure cuffs, tabs to monitor heart rate. Once the nurse gave me the anesthetic it took 30 seconds to work. The whole procedure was about 20 minutes. I cannot remember one part even being rolled to recovery.
When I awoke to voices I was in recovery as the next nurse came in to check my vital signs. I stayed here for about thirty minutes. My doctor came in to tell me my colon “was boring” and I should schedule to do another one in 10 years and continue eating fiber. My discharge nurse reviewed my discharge instructions and I was permitted to leave.
What to Expect After the Colonoscopy
The whole procedure was about an hour and a half to two hours from check-in to discharge. A colonoscopy blows air into the colon so the doctor can view it. I did feel gassy right after the procedure. The best part is I could finally eat a meal and my stomach was calling me to ChickFilA.
Days after the Colonoscopy
A few things to do after the procedure is to walk around to help the air to escape. I never thought passing gas and burping would feel so good. As far as resuming my diet, I tried to slowly move back to my regular food. The nurse told it will take 1-3 days for a normal bowel movement. It helped me to have Miralax on hand to take so my system was back to normal.
Screening is Important
Preventive health is a must. I would not put this off at age 50. African-Americans have a greater risk of colorectal cancer which is why screening is important. Last year, a report encouraged African-Americans to get screened at age 45. I would recommend checking with your insurance provider and healthcare professional on necessary screenings and vaccines at the age of 50.