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Old 09-01-2007, 06:41 PM   #1
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fears of colonoscopy

Hi , hope someone can answer a question for me,,My mom died of colon cancer in 2003. she was 67 years old and it was a very hard time for my whole family. watching my mom suffer. She was diagnosed at a late stage ofcourse and after months of chemo and surgeries she just became too weak. my mom is the only person in my family who has ever had it. but i know that there is still a chance that i could get it..my biggest fear about getting a colonoscopy is being drugged..i would rather be awake. that might sound ridiculous, because of the pain. but i was wondering if anyone knew if they could just numb you, and not use sedation to do it..how different can it be then a pap smear? I dont think about this obseesively, but whenever i do think about it i get scared..if it was surgery that would be different..but are there any other alternatives..if i was a scientist i would come up with one that is alot easier,,

 
Old 09-02-2007, 06:58 AM   #2
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LESLIETOO HB UserLESLIETOO HB User
Re: fears of colonoscopy

The sedation that is used today is very light Versed and Propfanol - it is like a twilight sleep and you are fully awake as soon as the procedure is over - with no hangover or drugged aftereffects.

A colonoscopy is not like a PAP test because the scope has to go through the entire colon and that involves maneuvering around the bends from the rectum to the sigmoid to the transverse to the cecum. Also since the interior of the colon is kind of wrinkly, air is pumped in to be able to better visualize the entire inner colon surface. The combination of pumping in air and pressure rounding the bends can be uncomfortable for some people. It depends on your anxiety and pain tolerance level.

Another thing to consider is chemotherapy for colon cancer usually takes 6 months and is accompanied by various side effects. Your colonoscopy will take 1 day and remove any polyps before they have a chance to develop into tumors.

There is an alternative - a virtual colonoscopy - that is done without sedation using a CAT machine. However, the prep is the same - complete colon cleansing and air still must be pumped into the colon. If any polyps are discovered you will then have to do the prep all over again and go through a colonoscopy or operation to remove any polyps. In addition, most insurances will not pay for a virtual colonoscopy.

Please get scoped. I waited until age 56 before getting my first colonoscopy due to fear of the procedure, rationalized it, cause I had no symptoms - and was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. Who knows, had it been done at age 50 maybe it would have just been a benign polyp that needed removal. Don't join the woulda -coulda -shoulda- crowd that doesn't help with today's here and now - so schedule that colonoscopy!!!

Leslie

Last edited by LESLIETOO; 09-02-2007 at 10:29 AM.

 
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:24 AM   #3
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Re: fears of colonoscopy

My grandmother died of colon cancer at the age of 79, she was diagnosed at 76. She was the only one in the family to ever have it. But because of that, I had my first at age 45 and just had my second at age 50. Believe me, it's nothing. You will be out only briefly and will wake up feeling just fine. Please don't wait, just get it taken care of. Like my doctor said, no one should die of this disease.

 
Old 09-02-2007, 07:23 PM   #4
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Re: fears of colonoscopy

My grandmother died at age 53 back in the 70's before I was born from C-cancer. Anyways, my mother gets regular colonoscopys and said that there is not a thing in the world to be worried about. From what I've heard, I'd be more worried about not being able to eat the night before and all that other stuff that goes with it.... hehehe. I love to eat, so I'm glad that I have more than a decade till im 40 (the recommended age to start testing)!

 
Old 09-02-2007, 08:16 PM   #5
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Re: fears of colonoscopy

I agree with LESLIETOO. Please get your colonoscopy. It truly is no big deal. I put it off and put it off -- I am now stage IV and have been undergoing chemo for 8 months. In addition, because I put all of this off I developed a life-threatining condition called necrotizing fasciitis (commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria) from a tumor that leaked from my rectum into my leg. My story is on this board. Don't wait! The sedation they use is no big deal. I ended up having the same sedation (Versed) 3 times per week for about 6 weeks for dressing changes for my other condition. I am part of the woulda - coulda - shoulda - crowd, much to my dismay!

Pam
Quote:
Originally Posted by LESLIETOO View Post
Please get scoped. I waited until age 56 before getting my first colonoscopy due to fear of the procedure, rationalized it, cause I had no symptoms - and was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. Who knows, had it been done at age 50 maybe it would have just been a benign polyp that needed removal. Don't join the woulda -coulda -shoulda- crowd that doesn't help with today's here and now - so schedule that colonoscopy!!!

 
Old 09-04-2007, 01:48 PM   #6
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Re: fears of colonoscopy

I've had 2 colonoscopies in three years. The first time I had the Versed cocktail; the second time (last Friday), the doctor had an anaesthesiologist with him for his procedures that day. I didn't know anything about that until I asked the nurse who was putting in the IV not to do it in the top of my hand because I was so sensitive there. She said if she could find another place she'd put it there but the anaesthesiologist didn't want them to use the arm crook. Whoa....anaesthesiologist! I freaked when I found out I was to have general anesthesia. The nurse told me it was the doctor's choice, that most patients don't want to be awake, so he gave general anesthesia instead of the Versed. Well, I still didn't like it. So the nurse asked if I'd like the anaesthesiologist to talk to me. I said sure. So she came in and we talked and she said, really, it's your choice ... if you'd rather have the twilight sleep, you can. I felt much better then.
When I got wheeled into the procedure room and my doctor came in, I told him that I was his problem patient for the day. He said, oh no, it's your choice ... in fact, you don't have to have any medication if you don't want it. I said, well, I have a high pain threshold, but I'd not sure I can tolerate this. And he said, OK, we'll do a very light medication. I said fine.
I was awake the whole time, talking with the doctor and saw everything on the monitor and could ask questions about what I saw. It was not painful at all. The only part that was a tad uncomfortable was near the end when he had to make a turn. But that didn't last too long. The nurse also had to manipulate my stomach to help the probe get around during that last turn toward home!
The bottom line is this: you don't have to have anesthesia or twilight sleep or even have ANY medication if you don't want it. Hopefully your doctor is one like mine who believes the patient is part of the equation.
Don't be afraid of the process. The prep is something you can live with. The procedure itself is not painful. The best part: you can find out immediately what the results are and your doctor can take care of any potential problems by snipping the polyps.
Whatever you decide, just get it done. You've seen enough stories by people on this board to not just sit around and think everything will be OK.

 
Old 09-06-2007, 10:42 AM   #7
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Re: fears of colonoscopy

Don't feel bad I'm 3 years past my due date for my follow up colonscopy because I'm paranoid about it too. I don't know how I made it thu the first one. Don't let them tell you it's a piece of cake because it isn't. So if you get up the courage let me know how you did it because I'm totally afraid of doctors.

 
Old 09-07-2007, 08:56 AM   #8
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maya47 HB User
Re: fears of colonoscopy

Norton54
Hey, I don't like doctors either. But you know what? I am more scared of colon cancer. And you should be, too.
You are doing yourself and others a disservice by implying that a colonoscopy is something to be feared and put off. Is it a pleasant day at the park? No. But it is not terrible. And it is an infinitely better alternative to colon cancer.
You're still alive after your colonoscopy.

 
Old 09-07-2007, 11:41 AM   #9
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norton54 HB User
Re: fears of colonoscopy

You're right Maya47 but for some reason I can't make myself go and I hope I don't wait until it's too late like my Mother did. I have this intense fear and dislike of doctors and I haven't found a way to get over it.

 
Old 09-07-2007, 12:32 PM   #10
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Re: fears of colonoscopy

Norton54,
I hear you. I can't watch doctor shows on TV because I will have every symptom of every disease they show. I really am scared of doctors and I give myself acute anxiety by diagnosing myself via the Internet. But I have finally come to the conclusion that hypochondria and fear is OK as long as I take action when there's something wrong.
From your response, I take it that your mother had colon cancer. You do have fear that you will wait too long as she did. That alone should give you the impetus to have your followup colonoscopy. Because you know what? I found that the relief that everything is OK is SOOOO much better than the fear I felt.
You want to go. You know you should go. That's half the battle.

 
Old 09-07-2007, 05:43 PM   #11
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Thumbs up Re: fears of colonoscopy

This is one of the few medical procedures I wouldn't mind having again - I was dreading it (don't ike being messed about with down there!) but the first I knew the probe was in and I was being given a running commentary of a tour through my insides, I had a couple of little things zapped but didn't feel a thing. This was done in the UK though.

 
Old 09-08-2007, 05:07 AM   #12
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Re: fears of colonoscopy

I guess for me it's not really the procedure it's self or even the horrible prep. It's the whole idea of somebody "messing" around back there while you are passed out. You don't know what they are doing and I can't stand the thought of a nurse back there "cleaning" up ,etc.. ....... I know I'm weird.

 
Old 09-08-2007, 02:19 PM   #13
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Heidi'sMom HB User
Re: fears of colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is NO BIG DEAL, and it is a walk in the park compared to the alternative which could be colon cancer. I waited...and waited...and waited...now I am a stage IV cancer patient. I'll take the colonoscopy any day of the week. Read my story in my earlier posts on here. It may just scare you into having one done. I'm supposed to be dead right now due to a tumor leaking into my leg and causing necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria), but by the grace of God and the prayers of hundreds of people daily for the past year I am still here. Get it done...the sooner the better! I don't mean to sound harsh but colorectal cancer is a bear!

I cried today because we were at a family reunion at a beautiful metropark in our area and I couldn't take a walk on the trails and may never be able to do that again. If I had done what I should have done 2 years ago I would have been hiking on a trail enjoying God's beauty this afternoon.

My 2 cents...

Pam

 
Old 09-10-2007, 03:24 PM   #14
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Re: fears of colonoscopy

Listen to Pam. She knows what she is talking about. I am fortunate enough to have gotten clean bills of health from my colonoscopies. So now I am like a person who's quit smoking ... getting on my soapbox. But Pam knows. She's been through it. She knows what it means to put this important test off.

Norton54, no one is "messing" around back there. It's all very clinical. I don't remember anyone "cleaning up" or anything like that. You're already cleaned out from the prep. It's as clean as a whistle. In fact, my doctor gives patients the photos they take and man, I was shocked at how pristine everything looked.

Pam, everyone should read your story. I'll join the prayers for you!

 
Old 09-10-2007, 06:33 PM   #15
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Re: fears of colonoscopy

I agree, we always keep our photos and everything is clean and shiny! It is so important to get done and really the whole prep thing and actual procedure are nothing. I can never understand what the fuss is about.
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