My split-prep colonoscopy procedure.

I realize this is an odd subject matter for a food/recipe blogger but before all else, I’m a 50 year old woman entering into the next chapter and that one required the dreaded and fearful procedure. Being truly transparent, I did do a colon prep about 12 years ago before my hysterectomy. That was simply to prevent any unnecessary pushing after my procedure for a few days allowing my body to heal without excess pressure. That was a bit different than my prep last week.

So my procedure was scheduled for last Wednesday at 1045a with an arrival one hour prior. This is important because the practice I was using adheres to a split prep. This time for the procedure worked out better than going at 7a but more on that later.

On Monday (2 days prior) my diet needed to be as little fiber filled as possible. This sounds easy but when you eat a very high fiber diet (80-100 grams per day) this was a hard task. No fruits or veggies with skins, no chia or flax. No grains. No rice. No grain breads or crackers. So I purchased yogurts (Culina is my favorite), my Vega smoothie, pancake mix, avocado, tofu, & potatoes (sans skins) roasted for my food. I ate a normal amount of food possibly even more knowing Tuesday would be far less than satisfying.

Tuesday (1 day prior) morning I woke and made my prep. One 64 ounce jug (purchased directly from the GI group I was using), 1 container of Miralax and 2 packets of powdered Gatorade in lemon lime all mixed with warm water. Shake and refrigerate. My practice allowed you to eat breakfast by noon but only permitted a liquid diet afterwards. I opted to do my matcha latte at 5a and move into my clear liquid diet afterwards. I worked out. Drank my pre-workout. And drank white grape juice, OM mushroom broth , lime frozen fruit pops, tea and tons of water all day long. Honestly I wasn’t hungry and felt quite satiated all day. At noon I had to take 4 laxative pills (part of my prep kit from the doc). After that I kept hydrating. I had a bit of nausea but it passed soon after. My colon prep was supposed to start at 6p but I started at 3p because I didn’t want to be up all night long.

My prep was split as noted above meaning that you do 1/2 the first night and 1/2 the morning of your procedure 6 hours prior to. This is why having a 7a appt may be difficult as you would need to be up at 1a to finish. I was scheduled to wake at 4a to finish which wasn’t that bad.

I started and it took a solid hour for the fun to begin (it can take 2-3 hours so you know). It’s important to prep your bathroom beforehand as you’ll spend a lot of time in there. I would suggest sensitive baby wipe v. toilet paper. A plastic bag to throw the wipes in as you shouldn’t flush them. A lubricant for your delicates as they will be under a great amount of stress. I used this one with lidocaine for numbing. I highly recommend you start using something before the fun even begins because there will be a ton of aggressive action in that area for several hours and you’ll feel it without. I reapplied after each trip to the bathroom.

*Don’t trust a fart. I don’t need to say anymore on that subject.

Wear easy to pull off pants. Seconds count when that colon prep hits! Be warned.

By 8p the action had waned down and I was only going maybe 2-3 more times all evening. I snacked on frozen popsicles and white grape juice. Remember NO pulp items are to be consumed also nothing red/orange.

The night was pretty uneventful. I did notice when I moved during sleep my intestines would grumble and rumble a lot. By 350a I woke up and scurried downstairs to grab the remaining prep. I did do about 44 ounces the night prior so that I had less to do the morning of the procedure. I finished the prep quickly and was done by 410a. When you’re cleaned out there isn’t the same aggressiveness occurring. The goal is a clear, pale yellow bowel movement prior to the procedure. It happened the morning of and not the night prior which I was concerned about. No need to worry! That second part of the prep worked perfectly for that.

I showered. Put on very comfy clothes. My glasses (no contacts), no jewelry etc. And we took off. We got to the surgical center early and my luck the person ahead of me didn’t do the prep and was dismissed. I was up! They weighed me (5 lbs lighter), questioned me about finishing the prep, times etc. Inserted an IV and after meeting with the anesthesia and gastro docs I was off. They took me into a small room and had me roll on my side. I got oxygen in my nose. The anesthesiologist was incredibly kind holding my hand. They position you with your bum towards the back of the gurney. The nurse placed a wedge pillow underneath me and then I was told I would be knocked out and that they would see me on the flip side. I felt my jaw tingle and that was it. I was out. I woke up in my room. My husband came in. Nurse, doc and anesthesiologist came in to check on me. The doc gave me a clean bill of health. No polyps, I was perfectly cleaned out and don’t need to come back for 10 years. You also get several images of your colon. My transport time and procedure took 45 minutes total.

My discharge instructions were simple:
Take it easy and rest that day. No heavy dietary fatty meals that day (which being vegan wasn’t an issue), no driving or making big decisions/legal actions etc.

We left after my IV was removed and went home for a easy walk outside. I hydrated a ton but had no appetite. I ate around 4p (had a smoothie) and that was it. Took it easy all day laying around and by Thursday I was back on my Peloton feeling great. I cannot believe how I built this procedure up in my mind. The prep was totally doable. The procedure was awesome as slept through it! I felt great afterwards but simply hollow from being cleaned out.

Do not fear this procedure. Seriously. Colon cancer is found mostly in people without family history. The recommended age has been decreased to adults in their 40’s v. their 50’s. I opted to do this v. the at- home testing because this test looks at all of the colon and can remove polyps if present where the at home test cannot. It is 100% better in my opinion as no stone is left unturned. It brought me an immense amount of peace. You need to do the prep completely for the procedure to be effective.

I’m not a doctor but highly recommend you speak to your doctor about when you need to be tested. Discuss your questions or concerns. I feel like this is a taboo subject that fosters fear when it’s completely unnecessary!

Other notes, I started taking my supplements and probiotics on Friday once I started eating normally again. Please ask your doctor about when you should resume prescriptions if you stopped taking them during prep. Hydration is key. I only stopped drinking 4 hours prior to the procedure as noted in my instruction packet.

This is my personal experience with the colonoscopy. Talk to your doctor about scheduling your procedure or discussing prep/how to etc. Being clear on what you’re allowed to do and when is imperative. Each practice has their own protocol they use for prepping. Reading through instructions, planning and grocery shopping prior to is key.

I wish you all the best on your healthy journey! ~xx

— Knead to Cook

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