It’s Not The Colonoscopy That’s Difficult: It’s the Prep That’s a Killer

by Barbara Shallue of Long Hollow 


es_colonoscopyFULL_310_480x360I will not think about food today.

I will not think about the crunchy, dry-roasted peanuts I always have mid-morning … or the healthy salmon salad and triscuits I’d probably have for lunch … the Sweet ‘n Salty Almond granola bar … the sweet Clementine oranges … the almonds  … the banana … the slice of cheese … the steak, chicken or pork chops Tom would grill for dinner …

That’s what was already running through my head on my morning walk with the critters. I tried hard to switch my brain over to my surroundings – to the sunlight stretching from one horizon to the next over my head, leaving the Hollow bathed in soft light … to the clear blue sky above, tattooed with a half moon … to the new reddish-orange wildflowers joining the ranks of the yellows, whites and purples …

I’ve probably said it before, perhaps even in another season, but right now, today, this is my favorite time of year. Cool mornings that require a light jacket and warm afternoons that remind you of beaches. Clear skies, sunshine, soft breezes.

But even in the midst of this beauty, my stomach already started grumbling and my mind turned back to food and what I won’t be able to eat today.

I’m not good with not eating. I eat all day long, every two or three hours. I keep a bag of almonds with me because when my hunger pangs hit, they hit hard. I feel sick. I need to eat right then, and that’s all I can think about.

No, I’m not looking forward to today, this day of preparation before my Happy 50th Birthday Colonoscopy. The test itself doesn’t worry me. I’m grateful for this technology, for the chance to catch a potential problem. It’s this not eating bit and the “internal cleansing” that I dread with every pore of my being.

Today, when thoughts of food pop into my head and my stomach feels like it’s turning on itself, I’ll try to think instead of all the people in the world, way too many, who never have enough to eat, who would be grateful for the broth I’ll be having for lunch, and I’ll say a prayer for them.

Tonight, when I’m catching up on all of my bathroom reading, wink-wink, I’ll also spend some time thinking and praying for my friends who are at this minute fighting colon cancer; I’ll give thanks for the advances in medicine that help catch and treat cancer before it gets a good toehold, and for our health insurance that makes it affordable.

I’ll also give thanks for friends who are helping me laugh about the whole thing. One reminded me about Dave Barry’s classic, “A Journey into My Colon – and Yours” and another shared the clip below. Think of me as you’re laughing … (and if you’re over 50 but haven’t had your colonoscopy yet, schedule it now!!)

Have I mentioned that I’m hungry?


  • Kate Hall

    Oh can I share my embarrassingly funny colonoscopy story with you? Laughing at my mistake may help take your mind off it.

    • janegassner

      Oh wow, Kate! Hitting Enter to All is definitely worse than the prep for the colonoscopy!

  • Whitney

    It was an awful experience, the prep that is. I just had it this past September. Everything was ok, but that prep…wow. I’m having gag reflections as I type.

  • longhollow

    Another thing I learned – Vaseline is your friend! Apply liberally and often!! (Thanks, mom!)

  • Ellen Dolgen

    Great article. I am a big believer in being pro-active about your health and not re-active! We are so lucky there is a simple – easy test for helping prevent Colon Cancer. The prep cleans you out, flattens your tummy! It’s fast, easy and provides you with important information for your health! It’s a WIN-WIN!

  • Jane Gassner

    As someone who’s mother had colon cancer, I too am grateful for the colonoscopy. Having had one, though, I can only agree with Barbara’s description. So, SBonifant, know to expect–well, the shits. Chose the softest t.p. you can find and be gentle with yourself.

  • sbonifant

    This was the final little push I needed after several half-pushes since turning fifty. I’ll schedule it tomorrow along with my mammogram. Thank you. And thank you for letting me know what to dread. Half of resolve is knowing what to expect.

  • denisedanchesfisher

    It is an inconvenience, but I am so grateful to have had this test, multiple times as colon cancer runs in the family. I have had scores of polyps, (not very glamorous) but in comparison to losing my life, nothing at all important.

    Not eating, and the ‘drink’ are the worst. But you can celebrate when it is all over and done!

  • Laura Lee

    No, it’s the colon cancer that’s the killer!

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