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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Surviving A Colonoscopy Prep with Grace

Well, I'm not sure everyone would agree that I was experiencing a graceful moment as I projectile vomited my first dose of Suprep all over the bathroom wall.  But, I like to think, in the end, I emerged with my grace in tact.

If you've never been through a colonoscopy prep before, you probably have no idea what to expect. When you talk to someone who has done it before, you usually just get a scary facial expression, a shake of the head and the words, "Oh, that's the worst part". Now, I know what they meant!

Most people don't want to talk about it. And, even less want to hear about it. I, however, like to be prepared and wish someone would have shared their experience with me. So, that is what I will do, gracefully.

The first part of the prep requires that you fast for the entire day. Unfortunately, I had a business meeting that morning, at a RESTAURANT. I nursed a glass of water throughout the meeting as everyone enjoyed their coffee. Now, you can drink coffee. But, it has to be black with no sweetener or cream. That's a deal breaker for me.

Then, around 11:00 AM, came the migraine. On the prep, you cannot take medication, herbs, or supplements to alleviate the pain.  Needless to say, the migraine stayed with me all day, night, and into the next morning. My advice, stay home, if you can, on prep day. I thought the fasting portion of the prep would be the easiest for me because I do intermittent fasting every day. What I didn't count on was the migraine and inability to focus.

I tried to keep myself busy until it was time to take my first dose of Suprep. I did some laundry, answered emails, and posted on my Facebook page. Keep it light is what I'm trying to tell you.

At 5:30 PM, I took my first dose of Suprep. Let me just tell you, it was one of the most disgusting tasting things I've ever tasted.  Because of this, I thought it would be best if I drank it quickly. It took me about seven gulps to get it all down. I would soon learn how bad an idea that was!

I spent the next hour and a half doubled over in pain. The Suprep seemed to be stuck in my stomach, causing a nauseating, burning sensation. At a little after 7 PM, I felt it coming up. I ran for the bathroom! Just as I reached the doorway, the Suprep exploded from my mouth and unto the wall, toilet, mirror, and cabinets. I managed to open the toilet lid and bend over the toilet for the rest of it, GRACEFULLY.  My poor husband came in with stacks of towels and started cleaning the mess around me. "Should I call the doctor?" He asked. "Or a priest," I answered, never losing my sense of humor. I helped him clean the mess as we laughed over the whole situation. Words of advice: set up the bathroom you will be using with extra towels, a natural disinfectant, paper towels, bum cream or wipes (this is for later), extra water (for later, trust me), and an extra garbage can (small). Oh, and, you might want to keep the toilet lid up after you take your first dose of Suprep!

I then called the Hotline number my doctor had given me. I left a message with the receptionist for the doctor on duty. He called me after about 20 minutes. Apparently, this happens all the time. He basically told me to go to Walgreens to buy a bottle of Magnesium Citrate and drink it all, slowly. So, I did.

The taste wasn't as bad as the Suprep. But, I'm not saying, by any means, that it tasted good. Problem is, if you don't clean yourself out completely with the prep, you have to cancel the colonoscopy and do it all over another day. I could NOT let that happen!

At around 9:30 PM, as I was texting my Mom, I felt the Magnesium Citrate coming up. Once again, I spattered the walls of the bathroom. I have never experienced such violent retching in my life. Once my husband and I had cleaned the mess, I started to panic. I had one more dose of Suprep to take. Would it be enough, I wondered. I drank two 16 ounce glasses of water and prayed. I don't like praying for things. But, I prayed for God to make things happen for me that night.  I did not want to have to go through this again. Nope!

About 20 minutes later, I felt a rumbling in my lower belly. I calmly made my way to the bathroom. Well, without getting graphic, we had some success. The process had begun.

At midnight, I took my second dose of Suprep. I drank it slowly this time. I drank it with sips of water in between. I'm happy to report, I did not vomit my second dose.  From the moment you take your second dose, you may want to just set yourself up in the bathroom. You're going to be there awhile. I was there for two hours straight. Along with the items I suggested before, you may want to bring a book, magazines, tablet, etc. in with you. Don't forget to use your bum cream or wipes. Some people swear by Witch Hazel. I like the homeopathic Calendula salve. It has petrolatum in it, which I don't like to use long term. But, for this purpose, I think it's not only necessary, it's a blessing.

By 2 AM, I was completely cleaned out. My original instructions read to take my second dose at 2 AM. When I called the doctor earlier, he had advised me to take it at midnight. I'm really glad I did that! I was able to get a few hours of sleep before my colonoscopy. I did get up twice to go to the bathroom while I was sleeping. It was quick and I was able to go right back to bed.

I actually slept in the sweats I wore to the hospital the next morning. The less you have to do that morning the better off you'll be.  You're not allowed any liquids after the cleanse is done. Since you are kind of a hot mess, it's best to just get up and go.

The colonoscopy is the easiest part. I had an endoscopy done at the same time. So I was set up kind of like a rotisserie chicken. I don't remember any of it! I heard the nurse tell me to roll over on my left side. Next thing I know, I'm awake and it's over!

I hope this helps some of you are are about to go through the process. I definitely think the findings I received are well worth all the trouble. I know that not everyone will react the same way with the prep as I did. But, as my husband was sitting in the waiting room, he did overhear the doctor speaking on the phone to someone who had obviously just vomited their Suprep. He prayed for the person on the other line. 

All in all, I made it through, gracefully. Definitely, through the grace of God. Good luck to you. You are all in my prayers.

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