My Colonoscopy Was a Difficult, Painful Procedure

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It has taken me awhile to write about this subject. I shared with the world on my Facebook and Instagram that I was turning 50 and would be experiencing my first colonoscopy. I took my husband a few years ago and all went very well. I understood the prep for the process 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. I had both of my children without drugs or epidurals, and 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. Within an hour of drinking the solution, my frequent bathroom visits began.

It felt like self-induced stomach flu of the worst kind. 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. This is 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 colonoscopy thinking after the toilet trauma was complete, the rest would be smooth sailing. 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.”  I felt trapped in my mind and body as I  endured pain equivalent to childbirth. It was like having a nightmare and you can't move.

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.”  I was thinking if they stop, I would have to do this again and there was no way that was going to happen. I don't know what I sounded like or how I moved during this process of extreme pain under IV sedation but was hoping someone would help me.

It could be more pain relief was placed in my IV, but I don't 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. This was diagnosed as a tortuous colon. It 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 didn't feel good physically or emotionally about what happened to me. I had to know if others experienced extreme pain during a colonoscopy and began 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. I think what bothers me the most is not being properly informed. I believe that the medical paperwork received prior to the procedure should outline extreme pain with colonoscopy can be experienced. Also, in this case, measures will be taken to make the patient comfortable during the procedure. I went into 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 because I do believe in preventative medicine. I am happy to report that my colon is clear for ten years, but will be investigating different colon screening methods the next time.

I am writing this blog to inform people that extreme pain can be experienced, and it's not always a breeze for everyone. I am in the small percentage of those who don't respond well to colonoscopy and for those who have undergone and share my experience, you are not alone. 

I was shocked but also relieved to discover my diagnosis of a tortuous colon. However, it was unfortunate to undergo such discomfort to find out. I felt an obligation to inform you about my personal experience as a voice of information about health-related subjects.

Being your own healthcare advocate is important. I am hopeful the documents pre-colonoscopy will be revised to include a thorough statement of colonoscopy procedure expectations.

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Be well and Stay Healthy

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