Today, I had a colonoscopy – my third one since being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2019. I never really look forward to prepping for the colonoscopy; in fact, I dread it every time. The idea of not being able to eat any solid food for an entire day is awful, because I love my food. I unexpectedly had a bit more trouble this time around and I definitely learned some lessons for future colonoscopies.
My diet yesterday consisted of Gatorade, jello, chicken broth, popsicles, and lots of water! I’m the type of person that wakes up hungry everyday and needs to eat within an hour of waking up, so having to fast for the entire day is always tough. My favorite thing to do on this day is be a couch potato and binge Netflix. My mom and I watched the entire new season of Love is Blind – so good! I make sure not to expend too much of the little energy I have.
The prep solution I was given was called SuPrep, which is the prep solution I have used for the past two colonoscopies as well. I started drinking the not-so-good tasting solution at 6pm and the instructions state that you must drink two 16 ounce bottles of water afterwards. I was in the middle of my first 16 ounce bottle of water when I started feeling really nauseated. I started vomiting up the water and solution mix, which is something that has never happened to me before. I thought I was severely dehydrated, so I kept drinking more water to offset that.
Luckily, I have a wonderful IBD support group I know I can reach out to for help. One of our members is a doctor and I was able to call her for quick advice. She said that I needed to slow down the process, stop drinking water, and allow the solution to go through my body. I stopped drinking for about an hour and started to feel much better. I learned that it’s not a race to finish the prep solution in the time allotted. What matters is that all of it is consumed. It’s moments like these where I appreciate the people around me who are so supportive and jumping to help when things go wrong. These are the type of people you want by your side in these types of stressful situations.
After learning this and allowing my body to adapt to the prep solution, my second round went better this morning at 4:30am. I didn’t get much sleep, but I knew I would have the rest of the day following the procedure to rest. I just wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. The prep is honestly the worst part and when you get to the procedure center and have to wait around, you realize how anxiety-inducing and stressful the entire process is on your body.
Every time I get my colonoscopy done, I get the same questions from everyone: “You’re so young, what are you doing getting a colonoscopy??” I always laugh because I truly am the youngest person there every time. My favorite part about getting ready for the procedure is definitely the heated blankets. Luckily, I had a really great nurse who answered all of my questions and addressed all of my concerns before the procedure. I told her to make sure to give me time to come out of anesthesia because it usually takes me a while to become coherent again. Overall, my time at the center went very smoothly.
My GI doctor who I have a really good relationship with was super excited to see me. He’s seen me take a lot of steps back and a lot of steps forward in the past three years with colitis. After the terrible night I had with the prep solution, I forgot about all of it when he came out after the procedure to tell me my colon looked clean and I am in endoscopic remission! He took some biopsies that will confirm clinical remission in the coming weeks as well.
ENDOSCOPIC REMISSION!! That is music to my ears. It means all the work I have put in over the past three years has been paying off. This was the result I wanted from my colonoscopy in 2020, but didn’t quite get. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and now I can continue living my life and doing the things I love without having to worry about a flare. This is the ultimate goal for any IBD patient.
For those of you who have had colonoscopies before: what tips do you have for the prep?