Monday, April 23, 2012

My Baseline Colonoscopy

I am very familiar with the colonoscopy medical procedure, due to family health history on my mother's side of the family. Up to now, when I think of this word, I think of it as relating to my late mother or my late maternal grandmother. That as now changed. At age 37, I am about to undergo a baseline colonoscopy, recommended by age 40 for those who have colon disease and/or colon cancer in their family history. I don't know of anyone when scheduling an appointment to have this done, who is filled with excitement at the prospect of having one done, and that includes me. I, however, am doing this and in the process, I hope to serve as an example and spread awareness especially to my generation of 30-somethings who are coming up on this important age for a baseline colonoscopy due to the same kind of family health history that I have.

I chose for today to be the day when I share this news to most of my friends and family. Up to this point, my husband and my in-laws are the only ones who knew about this.

Yes, I am "The Southern Fried Bride", and with that comes what I view as my responsibility to educate about incorporating good health choices into your life whenever you can.

I decided to go ahead and do this earlier this year in my doctor's office, after receiving a glowing health report. With illness on both my mother's and father's sides of my family, I am incredibly thankful and blessed for this kind of good health report, and I am daily grateful for every single day that I have good health.

I then was referred to a gastroenterologist at University Hospital in Syracuse, where I went to have my initial visit. During the visit, they showed me a video about what to expect during the colonoscopy procedure. I told the PA who visited with me that day, "I hope I can serve as an example to people about how important it is to have this done. That day my colonoscopy procedure was scheduled for the morning of tomorrow's date: April 24. Yes, I said "tomorrow's date".

Today, I am on the standard liquid diet to prepare for the procedure, just no red or purple in color like Jell-o. As I write this, I have embarked on the 4-liter liquid prep regiman known as "NuLYTELY", a version of the more commonly-known "GoLYTELY. Either way, they are referred to by many familiar with them as "GoRoughly".

God bless everyone who has taken this before me. I had heard about "flavorings" they now offer for these, and I was surprised that my container came not with one, but four, flavor packets to choose from to add to the powder mixture at the bottom of the container, if desired. I chose the orange flavoring, and it seems like it has made it a little better than it might have been with no flavoring, or with one of the other flavorings offered.

The one drawback I have about this procedure is the fact my mother experienced one of the possible side effects that can happen during one of the times she was having the procedure done: a hole was punctured in her colon. If that does happen, it can go one of two ways. It can heal on its own or it can potentially become serious. Because my mother was diagnosed with a colon condition called "ulcerative colitis" during my senior year in high school, she went on to have an annual colonoscopy proedure. It became a routine for our family. My sophomore year of college, during her procedure, a hole was punctured in her colon and she nearly died. She was immediately sent to ICU where she remained for several days. Thankfully she eventually was able to come home to me.

My husband and I have talked about this possible side effect that happens to a small percentage of patients. We discussed the pros and cons of me having this procedure done in a sense "electively" as a baseline colonoscopy and we decided together that it is a good idea for me to go ahead and have this done. We are anticipating a smooth procedure tomorrow, and then I will be home by tomorrow afternoon if all goes well. It is with determination that I face this head on, for my own health's sake.

What I would ask of you is, if you are a person of faith, I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers tomorrow morning as I undergo this outpatient procedure. I am looking forward to checking in with you on Wednesday and sharing with you more information about colon health. Until then, for me it's back to what I call my dose of orange-flavored "Ack!".


  1. Bless your heart! You will be occupied for the rest of the evening. My hubby had this done a couple of weeks ago at the VA hospital in our area. It went very smoothly. He mixed packets of dry Gatorade in with each glassful and had no problems getting it down. I said a prayer for you as soon as I read your post. Will continue praying for everything to be fine.

  2. Thoughts and prayers coming your way. A necessary evil sometimes, but we pray for a good result!