Colonoscopy 2010!

So a part of having Crohn’s disease is getting looked at from the inside more often than the average bear. Most people are encouraged to have a colonoscopy every 5 years starting at age 50, or age 40 if there’s a history of colon cancer in your family.

Me, I get to be scoped every two years. Although this time we did it a bit early; I’ve been on a new medication for a year, and we wanted to see what kind of healing it’s been doing. So it’s actually been 1 year and 7 months since my last colonoscopy.

Probably a lot of you have never had this experience, but you most likely will in the future. So what should you expect? Here’s what goes on.

The day before the procedure, you aren’t allowed to eat solid food. You’ll get a list of the fluids you’re allowed — basically, anything liquid (or Jell-O) that isn’t red or purple. You definitely don’t want anything staining anything red … down below.

So I spent the day hungry. I opted to not drink any of the fruit juices (pineapple, apple, strained orange) on the list, because sugar just makes me hungrier.

That evening, you have to drink something gross. No matter what brand you get, it’s always gross. I’ve done a couple of other types, and it’s always involved mixing a powder with water and drinking anywhere from a liter to a gallon. And this stuff is ALWAYS salty. Because it’s the salts that make it work, pulling water into the bowel and causing everything to rush out. But usually you can flavor it yourself, so you can make it salty lemonade or salty Gatorade or whatever other flavor helps you swig it down. (Research afterward shows that there are pills that can be taken, but they’re dangerous to the kidneys. DAGNABBIT.)

This stuff I was given, Suprep, is already flavored. And sweetened. With Splenda. Now, I use Splenda in baking a lot, but I know that it’s too sweet, so I always reduce the amount. All commercial products made with sucralose are always, always too sweet, and this was no exception. The flavor they chose was what I call “medicinal berry”, the kind of mixed-berry flavor you’d find in a cough syrup or cold elixir. So even diluted in water, it was a too-salty and too-sweet and too-gross berry sludge. I was unable to finish it.

Bottom line: DON’T USE SUPREP. It was the worst I’ve ever used.

After drinking for a while, it’s into the bathroom. Now comes the cleaning out of everything that’s left inside. My little girl-cat was sympathetic, and hung out in the bathroom with me for most of the evening. If you’ve tried to chill your prep liquids to make them more palatable, then you’ll be shivering all the while as well. The evening before the procedure is, by far, the worst part of the whole thing.

Next morning, really early, it’s off to the hospital/clinic/office where you’re having the procedure done. A little paperwork, maybe a payment, and then it’s time to take off your undershorts, throw on a classy hospital gown, have a pregnancy test if you’re a female (they will never, EVER not do this, even if it’s fun ladytimes that day), get an IV inserted, and lay around for a while.

My doctor is always late. For office visits, I always expect to sit in the waiting room for an hour and a half after my appointment time. For this procedure, first thing in the morning, I was wheeled into the actual action room 50 minutes late. Ugh.

The complete hookup includes electrodes on the chest, the IV in your arm, a blood pressure cuff, a pulse monitor on your finger, and one of those oxygen tubes in your nose. The plastic of which always smells like a new shower curtain. (As you can see, I was shooting for another low blood pressure world record.) Everyone gets set, and then it’s lights out. They inject anaesthetic into your IV line (my anaesthetic looked like milk), you feel incredibly happy and fuzzy for five seconds, then you’re waking up afterward. It’s nice that modern knockout juice wears off pretty fast — 15 years ago, I woke up from my first colonoscopy groggy and freaking out, and spent the rest of the day in a haze. Nowadays, I’m coherent right away, and while I wasn’t allowed to drive the rest of that day, I was able to do anything I wanted to without fuzzyheadedness.

The doctor came by afterward, chastised me for my sub-par prep (I warned him in advance that I wasn’t able to finish the Suprep, what with the gagging and crying), and reported that everything looks generally OK. He took some biopsies, and I go in to visit him in two weeks (where I’ll wait 90 minutes in the outer chamber first) to get a full rundown.

I was up and dressed and walking out within 20 minutes of waking up. Scott pulled the car around, and homeward we went. Now, there are two big tasks after this procedure. Number one is to get the air out, and number two is to eat. As for number one: throughout the procedure, they pump you full of air so that they can see everything clearly. So afterward, you have to fart like your life depends on it. Last time, I had a hard time with this, and was in some serious pain until I got home and rolled around a lot. This time, I was apparently posessed by a frat boy, and was able to get the job done quickly while still at the surgery center.

Secondly, EATING! After four skipped meals, it was time for a big, soothing, greasy goo-burger. Diet be damned. So off to Five Guys it was! And then home for a big nap. I’m glad I took the day after off work, so we could tackle some of the usual weekend chores and errands.

Overall, it’s not too traumatic an experience. Especially if you don’t have a strong gag reflex, because the drinking of the salty water is the worst part of the whole thing. I’m definitely requesting a different prep next time. Or, hopefully in two years, they’ll have come up with a better pill-based prep system.

Oh, and — the babysmasher at Five Guys had the oddest logo on it. Couldn’t not take a picture.

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32 Comments

  1. Greeeeat. I am Suprepping in thirty minutes. :o(

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    missy Reply:

    Hopefully you don’t mind berry. Or sweet. Or salty.

    Godspeed.

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  2. I totally postponed it. I couldn’t get it down. I need another methosd.

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    missy Reply:

    Of all the preps, I guess I’d have to say that Halflytely was the most tolerable. Which is to say that it’s still viscous salt water, but at least you can flavor it however you like. It’s not pre-grossened.

    There ARE pills. They just run a chance of destroying your liver. Honestly, I’m tempted to try them next time and take my chances.

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  3. Here in the UK, we get piccolax. For a barium enema, 2 doses the previous day, basically cr***ing from first thing in the morning till you collapse from exhaustion at about midnight. The enema, done conscious, was quite fun in comparison…..good luck with your health, Missy, love the blog.

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  4. I will keep you posted. :o) I will be rescheduling as the IBS is horrible and he wants to rule out Crohn’s. :o/

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  5. I think they should create some sort of tongue swab/ mouth rinse/spray that deadens your taste buds before you have to drink any of this nastiness… like chloraseptic numbs your throat … I don’t know how anyone can drink the stuff without gagging!

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    missy Reply:

    Agreed. I tried sucking on an ice cube before each swallow, but there was no way to deaden enough of my taste buds.

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    jeannie Reply:

    I used Warhead Candy Spray in Sour Apple. Couldn’t get all the Suprep down at once; had to stop two or three times and spray, take a breath. Gag.

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  6. A sip of White Cranberry Juice Cocktail completely changed my taste buds so that unflavored TriLyte was MUCH more palatable. I took a sip (you don’t have to swallow it) before every drink of TriLyte. That was back in 2006. I have another bottle ready for when I try Suprep next month!

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    missy Reply:

    Good luck! Just be warned, the Suprep is flavored. Nasty-flavored. My kingdom for just the plain salty stuff!

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  7. Thanks for posting. That stuff is awful and I can barely get it down. I started at 740 and it’s 825 and I’m still not finished it!

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  8. My husband just had a colonoscopy, and they had him take some Dulcolax & then drink powdered Miralax mixed into Gatorade. He picked his favorite Gatorade and said it was no trouble at all to drink it. We get Miralax at Walmart.

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  9. OMG i had no idea that Suprep stuff had splenda in it. No wonder I threw it up. I hate Splenda with a passion. I hate ALL sweeteners, they make me vomit. OMG i wish I woulda read this before I got my prep from the drug store today. I hate to cancel so Im gonna try to take the second dose at 2am. Colonoscopy show up time is at 630 am.

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  10. So I just did my first surprep about an hour ago. Standing at the kitchen sink choking the salty berry flavored syrup water down! My 11 y/o daughter watching me struggle with 16 oz of this stuff, now 45 min later I’m wondering when the magic happens and still trying not to vomit! And I’m supposed to do this again tomorrow? Ugghhh!

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  11. this Surprep sux..horrible stuff, just did mine tonite..never again Sorry u gotta go through this so often Missy…God Bless*

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  12. I did Suprep earlier this week and was not prepared for how awful it was. Last time I had a colonoscopy the prep was Dulcolax and Miralax and while it wasn’t great it was much better than Suprep. I probably vomited up all I managed to get down of the second dosage, which was probably 3/4 of it. After the second vomitting episode and feeling like I was being poisoned I sent the remainder down the drain. Told the doctor I will not take that one again!

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  13. I had to drink this last night, unable to get more than 2/3 down and couldn’t do the morning prep… Needless to say, the colonoscopy did not happen. I am very relieved to hear I wasn’t being ridiculous, it is just really that horrible. The dr said that he will have me try trylite next.

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  14. Please don’t use Splenda, It in itself is pure poison. It will cause diarrhea, shingles and nerve damage. It has been approved by the FDA only because the FDA does not care about the people it serves. It’s all about money and kick back. I’m having a colonoscopy tomorrow. I just downed my first bottle of suprep and the entire time I’m trying to get it down I’m telling myself something is wrong here….there is a familiar disgusting sweetness to this. Splenda makes me so sick. Splenda gives me terrible diarrhea so I could have done without the potassium, magnesium and salts in the Suprep. I’m now dosing myself with powedered Vitamin C to rid myself of the toxins in the Splenda. I feel so duped, absolutely betrayed. I have spent years since my first run in with Splenda trying to avoid it and now I was given it by my doctor. I blame myself for not reading the label better. Do yourself a favor and research Splenda(sucralose) I think you will avoid it after learning how poisonous it is. As for me, Braintree Pharmaceuticals and the FDA will be hearing from me tomorrow, as well as my doctor. Best of health to you. – Annie

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  15. What is the least toxic prep? Moviprep has Polyethylene glycol, suprep has sulfates and splenda, and prepopik has lactose

    What are we to do? I’ve been trying to find a safe prep for my upcoming scope and cant find anything. I want to do the bottles of mag citrate, but my doc won’t allow it

    Help!

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  16. I am trying the suprep tonight after dinner. I am sort of nervous about it. I have been sick for two years. COlon cancer runs in my family so i have to have this procedure done. There is Splenda in the Suprep which makes me even more anxious. Splenda is terrible for you. I have been known to have low blood sugar at times. When i drink excessive amounts of sugar i tend to have sugar crashes a couple of hours later. Not eating all day also makes me nervous because of the blood sugar issue. MY question is are there any terrible side effects, besides explosive diarrhea. I have IBS so i can handle the diarrhea portion, but as far as vomiting and light headedness or anything like that. Are there any other side effects besides bowel movements.

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  17. I was reading the literature in the box for Suprep and SUCRALOSE is the second ingredient. I am allergic to that stuff–I break out sweating, mouth goes numb and I start to itch everywhere. I’m allergic to sulfites, sulfa drugs…MSG, morphine…just a few things.

    So tomorrow I have to call my colonoscopy doctor and let her know that I can’t take this stuff, and get something else instead. Grrr.

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  18. Stacey Scanlan

    I’m finished with my 4pm bottle of Suprep. My next is at 8 pm. LORD, this is NASTY stuff! I’m dreading 8 pm! I’ve heard that ginger ale helps. I got that horrid taste to go away by sucking on lemon drops. I can’t wait until tomorrow!!!!!

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  19. I have to say I have never had to for this prep before, so I have to say that SuPrep is my only experience. I had a lot of the same experiences with the SuPrep. The first bottle which was at 4pm yesterday and then I have already drank the second bottle this morning. I was only able to get a little more than 3/4 of each bottle of that stuff down before I got nauseated as hell. Laying down helped with controlling the urgencies, and being cold.

    I had a hospital stay about 3 weeks ago that decided to give me Mag Citrate while was in there….. You want to talk about something I will never take again! That stuff should be banned. I digress, I am nervous about my scope this afternoon. The doctor is trying to determine if I have Chrons or Ulcerative Colitis. Either way neither one sounds fun. At this point I just want this all over with. Thanks for all the great feedback through this message board. It has all been very helpful. Good luck to all and your ventures.

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  20. Hahaha this was a great read. Yeah, I just had my first suprep dose around 7-8pm and will have more around 4am (they like those early appointments ) I would have VERY much prefered just salty water. Dear LORD it would have been easier and TASTIER. This did NOT taste sweet or fruity except its aftertaste. Washing it down it tasted nice, drinking it?? not so much. I had to take an extra hour slowly taking it , I’ve drank over the amount of water needed, just to get it all down. Nearly puked a few times. Ugh..

    but after a while the toilet smelled like grape..

    and though this is my first colonoscopy, I had my first endoscopy last week. The farting/burps then were pretty amazing (like record breaking) but this one should be like.. beyond that. But I do hate IVs, that to me MIGHT trump the suprep..but maybe not. I’m just super worried that I’ve drank too much water and washed away my electrolytes. But reading this makes it seem like having some salt to suck on, or a mint, might be ok.

    Thanks

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  21. I have my procedure today. I tried drinking that gross syrup smelling suprep and couldn’t (I can go to the toilet like crazy since my gallbladder surgery) anywho I just can’t drink that stuff. Thank you for sharing your experience. You have helped tremendously. I’m ready for this to be over so I can eat and well. LOL.

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  22. I had a colonoscopy scheduled for today. Yesterday i took my first SuPrep 6oz of berry stuff. It wasn’t great, but I’ve never had a problem with nasty tasting things. But, at 3:30am, I took my 2nd dose of SuPrep and within 15 minutes I felt very sick to my stomach. I held off vomiting for almost 30 minutes but then it happened. The prep, the extra 32 oz of water, gatorade, etc … it all came coming out. I tried to drink a couple more bottles of water to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated, but it didin’t work. When it was time for my colonoscopy this morning, I was so sick and the prep had not finished its job due to the vomiting, so I have to reschedule. I’ve never had something get me this violently sick so quickly. My first dose went fine … but the 2nd hit me so hard.

    Because of this board, I really wasn’t at all nervous about the actual procedure. But now I have to do this all over again in a few days and I’m already sick to my stomach thinking about it!

    Good Luck

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    missy Reply:

    Ugh, how awful! I hope they gave you an alternate prep for the second attempt in a few days, hopefully with less sickening ingredients. 🙁

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  23. Make a can of chicken noodle soup. Strain all meat and noodles, etc. out. Drink a swig between suprep (which I believe is the work of the devil) and it will totally remove the flavor let in your mouth until your next glug of the devil’s brew. Also, hold your nose while you drink the prep.

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  24. Holy Mother of God that shit is HORRIBLE!!! I got the first bottle down but only half (well maybe a quarter) of the second dose. Thank so much for the blog post. I have been very nervous about the procedure and your post has helped calm my nerves.

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  25. I just finished my 1st bottle. It was horrible. I was actually tremoring afterwards for at least 20 minutes. The thought of the 2nd dose makes me want to cry, but I really don’t want to reschedule this procedure, so I plan to force it down. Glad to know that I’m not alone.

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  26. I’m so glad I found this blog. I thought I was being a big baby! I am curled up in a ball, Trying desperately not to vomit after drinking my first bottle of suprep. This is barbaric, I mean why can’t we come up with a better alternative to screen for colon problems. I can handle diarrhea in an effort to clean out the colon but that suprep is beyond manageable!! I don’t know how I will possibly get the second bottle down!

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