It has taken me awhile to write about this subject and I also have a family medical crisis that I am dealing with, so blogging time has been difficult to fit into my schedule. I shared with the world on my Stay Healthy Fitness Facebook and Instagram that I was gearing up for my 50 club first experience at having a colonoscopy. I took my husband a few years ago and all went fairly well, and I have also been re-assured by many that the prep is the worst part and the rest would be a breeze. Sadly, this was not my experience.
Let me share that I have a very high pain threshold, had both of my children without drugs or epidurals, and in general it takes a great deal of discomfort for me to complain. The prep for the colonoscopy was horrible, and I nearly vomited up the Moviprep solution each time I had to drink it. I expected that so I was prepared that this was not going to be fun, and within an hour of drinking the solution, my frequent bathroom visits began. It felt like self-induced stomach flu of the worst kind and I retreated under several blankets after each run to the commode. I had to drink more solution at 3:30am and continue the toilet runs up to the time of leaving for the hospital at 7:30am. Needless to say by the time I was done, my poo looked like pee, and I lost 5lbs literally overnight, not the recommended or safe way to lose weight, but understand it needs to happen prior to this type of procedure.
I went into the procedure thinking that after the toilet trauma was complete, the rest would be smooth sailing, so I was ready for my short nap and passing with flying colors colon report. The doctor was great and explained everything thoroughly and the nurses took really good care of me. I was covered with warm blankets, IV in place and ready to move to the procedure room. Once the IV anesthesia was administered, I fell asleep quickly but what happened next was like an excerpt from a horror movie. All of a sudden, extreme pain in my stomach started happening and I felt myself screaming that “it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, and to stop, stop, stop” and I felt trapped in my mind and my body was enduring pain equivalent to child birth. In the distance, I did hear a loud voice say “do you want us to stop” and I do remember saying “wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute”, and I was thinking if they stop, I would have to do this again and there was no way that was going to happen. I do not know what I sounded like or how I moved during this process of extreme pain under IV sedation and was hoping someone would help me. It could be more pain relief was placed in my IV, but I do not know that. What I do know is that the pain was unbearable and unbelievable. My colonoscopy was far from a breeze and I felt traumatized by the event. The doctor did explain in my haze state upon check out that my colon is very compact with many bends, which caused a rigid application of the scope and caused pain similar to childbirth during the procedure. His recommendation was that I go under general anesthesia for my next colonoscopy.
It took my body a couple of days to recover from the anesthesia and I did not feel good physically or emotionally about what happened to me. I had to know if others experienced extreme pain during a colonoscopy and began my research online and discovered that yes, I was not alone. What a relief that I could read forums of so many sharing my same story and I think this is what bothers me the most. I believe that in the paperwork received prior to the procedure that it should be outlined that extreme pain with colonoscopy can be experienced, and that measures will be taken to make the patient comfortable in that event. I went in to my colonoscopy with a positive attitude and came out with post-traumatic stress about the event.
I am not writing this to say that I am now against having a colonoscopy and do believe in preventative medicine. I am happy to report that my colon is clear for ten years, but will be investigating different avenues of colonoscopy approach the next time. I am writing this to inform people that extreme pain can be experienced, and it is not always a breeze for everyone. I am in the percentage of those who do not respond well to colonoscopy and for those who have undergone and share my experience, you are not alone. I was shocked to discover this about myself and now as I have always been, remain a voice of information about health related subjects. It is important to be informed and your own health care advocate and hopefully the documents pre-colonoscopy will be revised to include a thorough statement of colonoscopy procedure expectations.
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