I don�t have colon cancer.

by francine Hardaway on July 2, 2003

I don�t have colon cancer. I know this because this week I had a colonoscopy, a procedure I had been putting off for many years (you�re supposed to have one when you reach fifty). I had been putting it off because I�m not a fan of taking laxatives, giving myself an enema, having someone stick a probe up my butt and watch it on TV, and being out of it the whole day from the anaesthesia. That�s why everyone procrastinates, and some people end up dying of (preventable) cancer.

I like to think I�m too smart to do that, so I finally made the appointment. I�m sharing my experience, not because I�m a pervert, but because I learned so much. I minimized my own discomfort, maximized my learning, and confronted the entire health care system in the process.

I made the appointment for a Monday, because I generally just chill on Sundays anyway. This made it possible for me to meditate on the experience of colon cleansing, rather than try to integrate it into my otherwise busy life. Yes, I had to travel further to reach the facility where my doctor did these procedures on Monday, but it was worth it.

Next, I read up on colon cleansing on the Internet, and found out that many people do it for pleasure, and that it can make you feel really energetic and good. Previously, I had thought these people were nuts. Before the procedure I still thought they were nuts. But I decided to try to get into it.

When the doctor gave me the prep instructions, my heart sank. I was to take a laxative before bed on Saturday night, eat nothing but clear liquids all day Sunday, and consume two more doses of laxative (phosphosoda) at 2 PM Sunday and 4 AM Monday. Oh well, at least no enema.

After an eventful Saturday night, at Sunday morning at yoga class I thought I was going to have trouble, because power yoga�s a sweaty workout. But I drank Vitamin Water (the Revive kind) with electrolytes, and I had no problems. That is, no more problems than I usually have doing stuff like standing on my head, balancing on my arms, and lifting my dense body into a backbend.

The prep regime allows coffee, so I had some, along with some apple juice. Then I had another bottle of vitamin water (Energy). I also was drinking as much plain water as usual � ten glasses.

I violated the doctor�s orders by taking the phosphosoda before 2 PM, because I wanted to go to a movie at 5 PM. By 4:30, I knew I was clean. I went to the movies, drinking my usual diet coke. I felt fine.

When I came out of the movies, it was 110 degrees, and I realized that 1)phosphosoda is full of sodium and works by making you retain fluid 2)this isn�t good for your blood pressure 3)when you sweat or excrete, you lose potassium
4)this is why you often feel bad when you fast.

So I went to the supermarket, looking for Gatorade to replace electrolytes. I read every sport drink label in the place, and none of them had more than 1% of the daily requirement of potassium. What else was on the doctor�s list? Chicken buillion.

Sure enough, when I looked at the salt free chicken buillion, it was high in potassium (13%MDR), so I drank two cups for dinner. By this time, I felt clean and great. I drank some more apple juice and went to bed.

I was supposed to take another dose of phosphosoda with apple juice at 4 AM. But I made an executive decision. I could see that I was clean, so I skipped it. I just drank the four ounces of apple juice.

One of the side effects of the colonoscopy process is the sedation. They make you bring someone to drive you home. I brought a friend who is a retired physician (just in case). A nurse friend of mine told me that she had been very dehydrated and had barfed from the anaesthetic after the procedure, so I decided to head that off as well. I told the outpatient surgery nurse up front that I barfed from Demerol and Versed, even though I had no idea whether I did or did not.

The outpatient nurse (who happened to be my former sister-in-law) told me there was a substitute, so they gave me something else.

The procedure itself was pretty interesting, as I watched it on the monitor in my semi-drowsy state. It does not hurt. Period. Not at all. By the end, the gastroenterologist knew there was nothing in there, and he was chatting with me.

In the recovery room, I read email on my cell phone and chatted with my doctor friend, who then took me to Starbucks, followed by lunch. I am still very energetic a day later, and I�m a convert to the routine of the colon cleanse. So if you have been putting it off�

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