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Old 07-18-2009, 07:03 PM   #1
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fear of colonoscopy

I'm 55 years old and scheduled for my first colonoscopy next Friday.
Monday I'm scheduled for a blood test and EKG required because I'm going to have an anesthesiologist present (because anesthesia doesn't usually work on me -- 30 years ago I had a C-section with anesthesia not working, and 3 years ago I had cataract surgery with anesthesia not working).
I'm terrified that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. That I'll vomit from the prep or have other problems with the prep (I have a prolapsed rectum).
I'm afraid of a perforation during the procedure.
I'm dreading the air puffing into my colon.
I'm dreading digestive problems after.
This is only being done because it's routinely recommended. I have no symptoms of colon cancer.
I'm thinking of canceling the procedure.

Does anyone have any experiences to share?

 
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:31 AM   #2
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

I hope I can resolve some of your fears about colonoscopy.

Things have advanced so far in the last few years, that your old experience does not really pertain anymore. The drugs are different, and the procedure is safe.

The most difficult part is the prep, which honestly is not that bad! The secret to the prep is to keep it very cold, and I used fresh limes, and lemons to make it taste good. Follow the directions, and be calm! Allow yourself to be clean and clear.

Becoming freaked out is not worth it, because the procedure is fast, and you will remember nothing. Once it is over, you will have the great satisfaction of knowing you are clear of any problems. You will feel completely clean, which is nice...I was much more conscious of my food intake following my colonoscopy, because I wanted to keep as healthy as I felt.

I think fear is most damaging. It does not follow statistics, facts or common sense. In the long term, it is a very unhealthy to our bodies, and in the short term, makes life miserable. Of course, it is also a natural reaction to things that we do not fully understand, or like.

I did not have any post-colonoscopy issues...I slowly introduced soft foods, rice, potatoes, crackers, jello, fruit, and soup.

Best wished to you...keep us posted, OK?

 
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:28 PM   #3
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

Thanks for your reply, but I'm probably going to at least postpone this until November. I have a migraine, which require me taking medication for the next 3 days.

 
Old 07-19-2009, 10:02 PM   #4
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

The worst part of the colonoscopy is definitely the prep. All I remember is seeing that white liquid coming into my arm and then waking up in the room after it was done. Afterward you will have some gas and some cramping, but that will be gone very quickly. I was able to go back to eating normal foods immediately after. In fact, the hospital gave me regular food.

 
Old 07-19-2009, 10:04 PM   #5
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

Of course...It is admirable that you are honest with yourself, and it is your decision, based on all that you know ...that another time, will be better for you.

You know the best. "Elective, or diagnostic" medical procedures have to be measured by the risks being less, than the optimal result. You will know when that time is best for you.

 
Old 07-20-2009, 09:21 AM   #6
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

seriousperson, Anxiety is the worst enemy. period. Can you keep yourself VERY busy so you have your mind on other things?

There are improvements in anesthesia all the time. And, technically, what most people get during a colonoscopy is not anesthesia but relaxants.

There are different preps. If the facility where you are being tested has any flexibility, you might want to talk to them about possible options (one is where you drink a liquid throughout most of the day before; another is a liquid diet the day before and then a saline laxative at night so the unpleasant swallowing part is very limited in duration - although I know there have been recent warnings about saline laxatives but something else might be getting substituted; and I know a friends elderly mother had a longer fast period because they wanted to use a weaker "cleanser".).

Quote:
Originally Posted by seriousperson View Post
This is only being done because it's routinely recommended. I have no symptoms of colon cancer.
It is routinely recommended at 50, so you are already 5 years overdue. It does not take symptoms of colon cancer to do it (my b-i-l had no symptoms either, and at age 46 was several years away from a routine colonoscopy when hemorrhoids were acting up so badly that his doctor ordered one anyway; thank goodness, because everyone agrees that, if the growth they found had grown for 4 more years, there would have been nothing they could have done).

serious, It is a small bit of discomfort weighed again tremendous peace of mind.

 
Old 07-20-2009, 06:13 PM   #7
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

My headache was gone this morning, so I'm planning to go through with it. Thank you all for the feedback. I'll let you know how it goes.

 
Old 07-20-2009, 06:32 PM   #8
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

That is great news...Let us know how it goes, OK?

 
Old 07-20-2009, 10:55 PM   #9
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

I had one a few years ago. I was terrified because if something is going to go wrong, I am the one it happens to. The worst part was being so scared about it. I wanted to cancel. The day before the test is a day to stay home...lol near the bathroom. When I went for the procedure, the first person had a hard time getting the iv in. I was ready to get up and leave. A second person came in, put it in a different place within a second, no pain, no problem. THe last thing I remember was joking with the doctor. The first memory I have after was already being home, picking up my purse, telling my hubby I was going to the market and his response that I couldn't drive. Oh yeah. I apparently dressed myself, walked to the car and rode home. I had absolutely no pain no problems. I am almost embarrassed at how freaked out I was prior to the test. The drugs today are so much safer. I just took my 82 year old dad for his colonscopy two weeks ago. He was fine and had me drive through McDonald's afterwards

 
Old 07-21-2009, 01:49 PM   #10
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

Mel, your story is so familiar...Colonoscopy is one of those procedures that folks dread, and can get very anxious about. Getting caught up in the perceived fear, is the worst part. That goes for most medical procedures.

These procedures are called for, as they play a huge role in early detection of possible problems, which left unseen, can be devastating. Having a colonoscopy does NOT mean you have anything. My test showed that my digestive track was healthy and normal, and that is a wonderful thing.

Wishing the best for you...

 
Old 07-22-2009, 03:46 PM   #11
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

Like the others have said, the prep is definitely the worst part of it. The procedure itself is no big deal. They'll give you a couple of meds, one of which makes you forget everything during that span. My husband had a hard time with the prep. It didn't make him "go" and he was very worried that he wouldn't be able to get it all over with. But the doctor said it was not an issue, that lots of people aren't able to finish it and he could still do the procedure. I didn't like the prep at all, very nasty, but I was able to complete it and was squeaky clean.

It's really not a big deal! You hang in there and just get it over with, okay? You'll be glad to have it behind you! (No pun intended!)

Emily

 
Old 07-23-2009, 04:28 PM   #12
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

Well, I'm not going to do it after all. I'm supposed to be taking the prep now, but I'm so nauseated, I can't.
My sister lives in Canada, and they don't do routine colonoscopies there. They do a stool sample test instead.

 
Old 07-23-2009, 05:28 PM   #13
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that you are not getting your colonoscopy. It sounds like the anxiety has won. I would certainly inform your doctor of that, because he/she can make accommodations for you if he knows the truth. If your anxiety is overcoming your ability to make decisions in your health's best interest, it needs to be managed. and overcome.

I would take this seriously, and look deeply into your real reasons for talking yourself out of this.

Don't give up, because that is not good for your self esteem, or your future difficult choices.

 
Old 07-23-2009, 05:33 PM   #14
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

The anxiety only won because I was nauseated before I even began the prep.

 
Old 07-23-2009, 09:11 PM   #15
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Re: fear of colonoscopy

I hope you are feeling better very soon...Please don't take my words to be critical, they are not meant that way. My wish is to offer support and understanding, from someone who has been there. Hang in there, and feel better...that is what matters most at the moment.

I wish you the best!

 
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