5 Tips After Your First Colonoscopy

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So what happens after the dreaded day? I’ve got a few tips for that, too!

bfitfivefriday

I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I’m sharing 5 tips to let you know what you might expect after a Colonoscopy.

1: Phone a friend
You have to have an adult come sign you out and pick you up — it can’t be a taxi driver. This kind of seems absurd (that you just can’t take a taxi, what if you live alone?), but there it is.

2: When can I eat?
Your doctor will give you instructions on when and what you can eat, but usually it’s anything you want.

I wasn’t hungry, although some people claim to be starving. It’s a good idea to continue to eat lightly, slowly reintroducing higher fiber foods that first day. Maybe for a couple of days. Your digestive system has gone through a lot. I had Mr. Judy bring me some tea that I prepared before I left, and I had scrambled eggs & yogurt for my first meal.

3: How will I feel?
How you feel is individual, and may depend on whether or not you had any polyps removed (I didn’t). You may feel gassy. In fact, before and after you may sound as if an alien wants to break out of your stomach — I certainly did. They put air in your colon to see better, so that’s part of it. It’s all normal. So is minimal bleeding, especially if you had polyps removed — I didn’t and there was no bleeding.

4: When can you expect to actually “go”?
As I started to write this it’s two days after and still nada, which is normal, apparently. I’m usually a very regular person, but I’ve just completely emptied and didn’t eat much for the 3 days around the procedure. I’m slowly introducing more normal food, but still eating my carrot soup and still taking my fruit in the form of smoothies.

By the third day there was movement. It wasn’t much, and the color wasn’t normal, but that is all normal. Once there’s movement I quickly get back to normal.

5: Have Probiotics on hand
I’ve tried probiotics over the years, but I never found they really did anything for me. However I just completely wiped out that microbiome I’ve been so carefully building for almost 60 years, so I decided probiotics sounded like a good thing. 

I chose Ancient Nutrition Gut Restore Probiotics (Amazon Affiliate link here). Yeah, it’s pricey but it just so happens it was on sale at Whole Foods at the time. I’ve continued to take it for a while, not sure if I will continue to take it forever. Did it make a difference? Well, how can you tell?

In general you do want to choose probiotics that are refrigerated, because otherwise  the probiotics may not survive. Always hard to tell if something like that is doing any good!

Bonus Tip: Insurance is Tricky
Mr. Judy had done the ColoGuard test for a few years, and this year it showed there might be a problem, which is why we both had our first colonoscopies this year. That meant that we actually had to pay for his, while mine was preventative, so it was covered by insurance. I’m sure insurance varies in what it covers, but always good to know that you could be on the hook for a rather large bill if a problem prompts your colonoscopy — Mr. Judy is fine, by the way.

Final Thoughts
One thing I didn’t mention is you will get color pictures of your colon. No joke! You will get a very detailed report of how well you prepped and what the doctor found. If they find a suspicious polyp it may have to be biopsied.

I have a cousin who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer not that long ago. He is fine, but he did have to go through chemo. According to cancer.org:

A polyp can take as many as 10 to 15 years to develop into cancer. With screening, doctors can find and remove polyps before they have the chance to turn into cancer

A colonoscopy may just save your life, and prevent you from needing surgery or chemotherapy. It’s worth it.

Think you’re ready for that first Colonoscopy now?

5 Tips to Sail through your First Colonoscopy

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I promise this post won’t be very graphic, but if it’s still TMI for you, feel free to just skip it — I’ll understand! 

bfitfivefriday

I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I’m sharing 5 tips to make that first Colonoscopy Prep easier.

Soups allowed me to eat some veggies & feel fuller

1: Soups are your friend
Liquids tend to take up more room in our stomach, making us feel fuller, and like smoothies, the blending of the soup makes it easier to digest. I made some simple carrot soup — a bag of baby carrots, 32 oz of veggie broth, 2 tbsp of ghee or butter (I used ghee), and some spices (ginger, ).

I often had this carrot soup before a meal. It helped a lot! I happen to enjoy it too.

It wouldn’t work for me on a cold day but it hit the spot after a long run in the summer!

2: What about a post run snack?
I often like to time a run before a meal, but that’s harder to do in Summer. If I drive to run, I really do like to have a small snack right after my run. I couldn’t eat any of the protein bars I usually do — instead I made a smoothie and used one of my pack it bags (Amazon Affiliate link here) to keep it cold — it was a cooler day, but still Summer — although I wasn’t running that long.

This worked perfectly! I made a really simple smoothie using frozen banana, spinach, cottage cheese, and a little water and honey. Blending helps to begin the break down of the fiber in the fruit and veggies.

Cottage cheese tends to be higher in sodium, so I don’t usually eat that much of it, but a little extra sodium after a warm/hot long run is a good thing. I had gotten away from recovery smoothies, for various reasons, but the truth is they’re so much healthier than protein bars.

I suppose jello would have worked well too, actually, but I hadn’t made any yet.

3: Hydrate well all week
Just consider it a long distance race, LOL! You know it’s not the day before that you have to hydrate well, what really matters is the entire week, right? You do not want to be dehydrated on procedure day, although you will be consuming a lot of liquids the day before. Like, a lot. You’ll also be losing a lot of liquids, hence hydrating well all week long.

4: Jello is a clear liquid
Well obviously jello isn’t a liquid, but apparently it’s okay to have on clear liquid day. Or any time during the week before. I had jello for breakfast clear liquid day morning. I was never hungry — it served me well. That was the only thing “solid” I ate that day. Popsicles are okay, too, but I’m not a popsicle person. You can also have hard candies, and I like these honey drops — all the flavors, actually (Amazon Affiliate link here), so I did have a few of those on clear liquid day too.

5: Try to eat lighter the week before
The less you have in your digestive system, the less you have to get rid, and the easier the prep will be. It’s not easy though. I admit to being somewhat hungry because of the low fiber diet. Not all doctors require you to be on the low fiber diet as long as I was (starting a week before your procedure) — but that’s what my doctor had me do.

Especially try to eat lighter the day before clear liquid day, again to make the prep go easily, so to speak.

Now this doesn’t look scary, now does it?

Bonus Tip: You don’t have to use Gatorade with the prep
One tip I’d read was to mix the prep mixture, which so many people complain about, with cold apple juice instead of the suggested Gatorade. This worked great for me — truly, I just felt like I was drinking cold apple juice and I had no trouble drinking it at all (thank goodness it was summer, but I still felt cold because you’re drinking a lot of it!).

Mr. Judy used powdered lemonade mix, and he didn’t have problems with it either. You can, of course, use the Gatorade if you want to. It’s a really good idea to have some electrolytes because you’re basically not eating for 24+ hours. You can also use Nuun — I did drink a lot of Nuun on clear liquid day (lemon lime, if you’re curious, which you can buy at this Amazon Affiliate link here — no reds, oranges, or blues). 

I did end up buying way too much Nuun, because I got worried I wouldn’t have enough. It’s not my favorite flavor, but it’ll get used, don’t worry. I think 2 tubes for clear liquid day would be more than enough!

I chose the apple juice rather than the Nuun for the prep mix because I don’t like Nuun really cold.

Final Thoughts
Of course this is my experience, and not everyone has the same experience. I can tell you for sure that while the prep wasn’t fun, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it’s made out to be, at least not for me or Mr. Judy.

I debated on whether or not to write about the experience, but I read a lot of blog posts on it prior and found useful tips in them, so I thought someone might get some use out of these tips too.

I actually do plan to write a separate post about the experience, again not overly graphic — but people often just don’t really talk about it and that makes it scarier than it has to be. I had a cousin who had colon cancer, thankfully caught early, but he did have to do chemo. No one wants to do that!

Have you had colonoscopies already?

Any other tips to add?