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Michelle Shares Her Colonoscopy Journey (VIDEO)

By Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter
 
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Michelle takes you along as she prepares and undergoes her recommended colonscopy procedure. She shared this personal experience to encourage all women to have their colonoscopy exams.

Michelle:
I lost a friend to colon cancer a couple of years ago. She was afraid to have her colonoscopy, or she just kind of put it off, and she was, I think 50, 51 when they discovered that she had colon cancer. And she was really, truly a fighter.

Dr. John Garvie:
The patients are kept on a liquid diet for the day prior to procedure. They are then given a oral preparation, usually a combination of an electrolyte solution, sometimes supplemented with some laxatives. That’s what Michelle had for the procedure. She had two liters of PEG, it’s called PEG solution, and then she also took some laxatives supplementing the liquids. She told me prior to procedure that it wasn’t that much fun. She got her prep in. She was on the toilet, I think she told me till the wee hours of the morning, but she felt like she had completely prepped out.

Complete prepping is you will not have any more fecal material that you pass; you’ll basically pass a clear water. At that point you are cleansed and ready for the procedure.

Michelle:
So I am in pre-op right now, and they have taken my blood pressure and they have checked all my vitals, and they also put this red band on me because I have some allergies. It’s really important that you write down everything that you have, that you are taking as far as medication goes, and then as far as allergies go, and bring that with you to the hospital so that they know and you know and you don’t forget because sometimes you get so anxious and you will forget. But now, we are headed off to the endoscopy room.

Dr. John Garvie:
The role of colonoscopy has become central in the effort to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. We know that the initial lesion of a cancer is a polyp. So, what we attempt to do at the time of colonoscopy is, we are looking for polyps, which essentially are anything that’s raised above the flat inner-lining of the bowel called the mucosa. So anything raised above that is a polyp, and polyps vary in their appearance, and they can be flat polyps--we call them sessile--or they can be on a stalk-- we call them pedunculated-type polyps.

In Michelle’s case, when we had reached the cecum, which is the beginning of the colon, and at that point we start our careful inspection for any lesions in the bowel. Just above the ileocecal valve, we identified a small raised bump on the colon, and it was at the 12 o’clock position. We looked at it with both the regular high definition and then with narrow-band imaging, which this new scope allows us to do. We then took a snare, and we removed the polyp with a snare.

The first snaring, if people would note, actually looked like it was a little quick, and I felt like it was a little quick. We went back and we grabbed a little more tissue, and then we did a little more slow cauterize, or we removed that. The polyp was completely removed, and then it was lying in the residual fluid. We went down and we suctioned that residual fluid and we pulled, we suctioned back the polyp fragments, and they were placed into a trapping system, and then that material is then sent to pathology department for review.

There were no further polyps found during the case. We saw a few small diverticulae, these little out-pouchings of the sigmoid colon. There were some inspissated stool; it looked like little pieces of stool had kind of buried into those diverticulae. We did a few biopsies in the sigmoid. There is some concern that there may be some underlying inflammation, and then the case was over.

The question was raised about how long before we know what the polyp results are, usually two to three days. We get a report back, we have a chance to let the pathologist review it, and then we make the report to the patient.

Michelle:
I felt nothing. The sand man, our anesthesiologist, was wonderful, and I highly, highly, highly recommend that you do this. In fact, I insist that you do this, because as I have just discovered that I had a couple of polyps; never had them before, and I just want you to realize how easy it is. Hardest part - prep, by far. They make it so easy and comfortable for you and that’s the main thing.

Dr. John Garvie:
I think that we need to give Michelle an enormous amount of credit for the courage to come in today and have a procedure that is fully videotaped. I think that she takes a certain amount of risk in order to do that.

Michelle:
I just breezed through this whole procedure. It was amazing. I am looking forward to going home and going to bed, I have to say, but all in all, I feel great and I am, I’m ready to leave.

Learn More Information On Colorectal Cancer:
http://www.empowher.com/condition/colorectal-cancer/community/all/recent

Add a Comment11 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It is clear that several men were in the room, and yes they will tell you that your husband can not be with you, because he would tell the on lookers EYES ON THE SCREEN! That would end there show! Tell them hubby says or it's a no go! They will change their tune! I did!! Then hubby can guard your modesty! Do not budge on this! You are the boss, not them! Then Have the test, your life is precious. Hugs 2 all :-)

March 15, 2013 - 11:26am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Thanks Michelle for sharing this. I was so scared of this procedure earlier. my doctor has advised me about the endoscopy. Now i am confident to go ahead with this test.

October 8, 2012 - 2:21am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It is also interesting how most facilities don't allow spouses to be present during a spouse's colonoscopy due to possible germs and other exposures, however, per this video there is a video person present. What a double standard!!!

November 4, 2010 - 7:36am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Michelle is correct, the prep is the worse.. I also encourage all woman to have a colonoscopy. I recently had a perianal absess and dr's thought I either had the beginnings of crohn's or some other diesease. I was very nervous. but the dr's and nurses are great for the procedure. the medication they gave me I was sedated, i felt like the procedure took 5 min. but was 30 min.. you wake up and didnt feel a thing. and was the best sleep i had in a long time. if i had the choice of having a colonoscopy or going to the dentist.. i will take the colonoscopy please!!! Take the time to have yours done. you will not regret it.. it can save your life.. I was lucky and my colon is great. nothing wrong with me.. at least now i have that peace of mind.
please you will not regret this..

August 16, 2010 - 11:51am
Boarder

Michelle's and EmpowHer's resource tools have been very helpful to me on issues ranging from medications - beauty secrets. I have been able to ween myself off yucky stomach medications and improve my health and wellness due to Michelle's tireless advocacy for others and EmpowHer's awareness tools.

November 10, 2009 - 4:39am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I would also like to thank Michelle for this important issue. I am 37 & have just found out my younger brother had a large polyp removed that would have turned cancerous in time. I am now going to start the ball rolling for myself to have a colonoscopy. After reading this, I have nothing to worry about as far as the procedure goes. Lets hope the results are just as straight forward. Thanks again.

November 10, 2009 - 4:12am
Boarder

Thank you, Michelle, for your leadership on this important health procedure. Your continued forward thoughtful introductions to women about health issues is very much appreciated. Your selfless advocacy for introducing and researching women's health care matters has changed the quality of my life and I am forever grateful for your insights and direction.

May 9, 2009 - 3:55am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

OMG! All right, Michelle. You win. I remember having one colonoscopy, but I think it was about ten years ago, so I know I am ready for another one! Thank you so much for sharing.

May 8, 2009 - 9:25am
Kristin Davis

I'm so glad Michelle shared her colonoscopy experience with us! This is such an important test and really very easy to do. I've had three already and I'm only in my early 40's. I think a lot of people assume that a colonoscopy is just for older people, but there are plenty of younger people who should have one done. Especially when there is a family history of colon cancer. Kudos to Michelle for showing us all how easy this is!!

May 7, 2009 - 10:54am
alysiak

My paternal grandfather was diagnosed with lupus and skin cancer when in his 30s, but it was colon cancer that took him in his 90s. Because I also have lupus and chronic colitis, I have to go for periodic colonoscopies. It is not fun, but it is not complicated. I think the worst part is the preparation the day before. I'm accustomed to drinking electrolyte fluids, but PEG is a challenge. My procedure involves going in "both ends," rectally and orally. So, I'm eternally grateful to modern anesthesiology for making it "a breeze" for me - since I'm totally knocked out.

My doctor is really funny and put my husband at complete ease about the procedure. Fortunately, my polyps were benign.

My mother has also gone through this procedure and only remembers counting backwards from 100 (she said she thinks she might have made it to 88, I don't think I made it that far!). Fortunately, her polyps were benign.

My father recently had to undergo a colonoscopy that revealed some pre-cancerous cells. With a history of colorectal issues on both sides of my family, plus my lupus, it is that much more important for me to be more attentive to my health and any changes in my bowel.

As Michelle advises, please have this done, especially, I might add, if you have a family history or medical condition that would indicate a risk of developing colon cancer, or if you're 50 or over. Pay attention to any significant changes in your bowel patterns and know the symptoms.

Learn more on empowHer:
Colon Cancer: Common and Curable, Rick Alan, empowHer Encyclopedia
Colorectal Cancer, Laurie LaRusso, MS, ELS, empowHer Encyclopedia
Colon Cancer Community ASK on empowHer.com

Other resources:
empowHer video: Dr. Vashi - Cancer Symptoms, Can They Be Misdiagnosed As IBS?
Overview of Colon Cancer Symptoms

May 6, 2009 - 5:08pm
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