Diary of a colon screening prep

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colonprep.jpgAnticipation. You've been there at some point in your life. As an expectant mother, I worried about labor pains.

The day before my second marathon, I asked myself, "Why am I doing this?" when I heard weather reports about possible thunderstorms.

So here I am the day before my first colonoscopy. Friends and colleagues readily offer their chagrin about the disgusting flavor of the solution offered in the bowel preparation, the necessary step preceding the procedure.

It's Not the Taste So Much, But It's So Much
The first sip, spiked with a lemon flavor, doesn't taste too bad. It has a smooth silky consistency on my tongue. My challenge is I've never drunk so much fluid in one day before. I'm on my third glass of solution and feeling as if I'm going to upchuck it.

Someone online suggests using a straw. That might be a better option than drinking it quickly. Instructions say not to sip, but that's what I've been doing since I began the process at 4:00 p.m. It's now 4:50 p.m. and I'm on my third glass.  

Let the Cleansing Begin
A book is placed next to my "throne." I hear I'll spend plenty of time poised on the potty within an hour of downing the solution. So far, nothing. Stay tuned.

Into my fourth glass, I feel a nudge. Thankfully, I didn't eat too much today. This could help in the long run, no pun intended.

Today's diet included a slice of toast for breakfast and two cups of soup for lunch. Two laxatives and two glasses of water after lunch. Two more tablets with two glasses of water before drinking the solution.

Who really misses food with this bloated, stuffy feeling anyway? Hang on. A little muscle "down there" gives fair warning. Can my country septic system handle this volume?

A Little Middle of the Night 'Music' 
I get a break. The second installment begins around 2:00 a.m. Round two is much like the first one. I drank more than half of the solution yesterday, so there's less for me to finish. As you might imagine, more of the same, only less.

My appointment is at 10:00 a.m. A friend of mine is driving me, since I'll be sedated during the procedure. I live an hour away from thehospital, so I'll recover at her home.

After the appointment, my physician, Gottumukkala Raju, M.D., professor in the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at MD Anderson, tells me I get an A+ for bowel prep. He also informs me he removed two polyps, probably benign. I'll get the final word in a few days.

All in all, a small price to pay for cancer prevention and peace of mind.

To schedule your colonoscopy, call the MD Anderson Cancer Prevention Center at 713-745-8040, or request an appointment.

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