Colonoscopy Patient Stories

Patient stories

Browse our collection of colonoscopy stories from real patients. Individual results may vary.

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Vicki B Vicki B

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Vicki B Print Age: 56 Location: Huntsville, TX Occupation: Analyst Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with family, reading, tra......

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Vicki B


Age: 56

Location: Huntsville, TX

Occupation: Analyst

Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with family, reading, traveling

Colonoscopy history: 7 colonoscopies

One piece of advice: Don’t delay this important test—it could save your life.

In 2002, at the age of 47, I was one of those rare individuals who had a symptom of colon cancer. I had rectal bleeding. During my yearly well-woman exam, I mentioned the bleeding to my doctor. It was determined that I had hemorrhoids and a treatment plan was discussed.

Several months later, the bleeding had worsened. I felt this was something more than just hemorrhoids and decided to seek further testing. A colonoscopy was ordered, and during the scan, a tumor was found. The results of a biopsy ruled that I had rectal cancer, which was eventually deemed stage III. Eight months of treatment included radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.

After cancer treatment ended, I had yearly colonoscopies for 5 years. No new polyps were found during this time, so I am now scheduled for a colonoscopy every 3 years.

A colonoscopy has advantages over other colon cancer screening options because the doctor has the ability to see the entire colon, and more importantly, any polyp found may be removed during the procedure. Because of my experience, I encourage family and friends to visit their doctor and determine when they should begin having this important test.

My discussion is often met with reluctance, especially from those who have heard horror stories about the prep. I can truthfully say that a colonoscopy is much easier than cancer treatment. I guess I am unique in that I look forward to my scheduled colonoscopies. In fact, when called for my last test I stood up and said “My turn!” My husband said no one else in the room was as excited about having this test.

A colonoscopy brings me the comfort of knowing that, at this time, no polyps were found, and if one is ever found they can remove it on the spot. Just think, the doctor can remove a polyp and stop cancer before it starts!

 

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Chris H Chris H

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Chris H Print Age: 37 Location: Raleigh, NC Occupation: Dental equipment sales Hobbies/Interests: Running, UNC sports, travel......

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Chris H


Age: 37

Location: Raleigh, NC

Occupation: Dental equipment sales

Hobbies/Interests: Running, UNC sports, traveling, spending time with family and friends

Colonoscopy history: 2 colonoscopies, in 2004 and 2009

One piece of advice: If you have any sort of family history, this is nothing to ignore. A colonoscopy is nothing compared to the potential downside of not getting one.

Colonoscopy and cancer are topics that most people don’t think about at 30 years old, but that’s when I had my first colonoscopy. I went to the doctor for a regular physical, and in discussing my family health history, my father’s colon cancer came up. At the age of 42, my father experienced rectal bleeding and, fortunately, had a colonoscopy. They discovered a polyp that had recently turned malignant. After having 4 feet of his colon removed, my Dad has been cancer free for 27 years, and I have an appreciation for the fact that colon cancer is one thing I can take measures to prevent.

My doctor and I determined that I’d have my first colonoscopy right away, and it came up clean. I had my second 5 years later, and they did find a little polyp, which they removed. After that second one, it really dawned on me that no one knows what that polyp could have turned into if I didn’t have that colonoscopy—I may have been in the same position as my Dad, or worse, by the time I was 42.

I know people avoid colonoscopies—I know they’re afraid of the procedure, afraid of the prep, afraid of what they might find. I can’t emphasize enough how much people need to get over those fears. The procedure itself involves going to the hospital, getting sedated, and waking up when it’s done—you remember nothing. You do remember the prep process, and it’s not pleasant. But it’s usually not that bad, and it’s certainly not worth getting cancer just to avoid it.

I was in 3rd or 4th grade when my father went through his experience. My memories of it are kind of fuzzy, but there are tons of memories I have of times shared with my father since then that are clear as day. Who knows if we would have shared all those experiences if his colon cancer wasn’t discovered early? I have a baby girl of my own now, and thinking about this stuff makes me realize that I’d do anything to ensure that I spend as many years with her as possible. So I’ll get a colonoscopy as often as my doctors tell me to, period.

 

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Linda O Linda O

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Linda O Print Age: 62 Location: Norwell, MA Occupation: Nurse Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with family, ballroom dancing,......

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Linda O


Age: 62

Location: Norwell, MA

Occupation: Nurse

Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with family, ballroom dancing, quiet times in Maine, walking, kayaking, reading

Colonoscopy history: At least half a dozen

One piece of advice: If you’re supposed to get a colonoscopy, get it done. The inconvenience pales in comparison to cancer treatment.

My history with colonoscopies began in my 40s, due to my father's diagnosis of adenocarcinoma of the bowel when he was in his 60s. He had a colon resection as his treatment, never having had a colonoscopy before that. He did well, no further treatment was needed, and he lived another 20+ years receiving regular scopes from that time on.

I remember dreading my first one. Fear of the unknown is always greater than the actual object of the fear, I guess. I had heard the "horror stories" of the prep drink, the 24 hours without solid food (what could be worse!), and then of course the actual procedure!

Well, in my case, it turned out to be a surprisingly benign experience, in all manners of speaking. Thankfully, no surprises were lurking in my colon. I was sedated for the procedure, which certainly helped. The feeling of calmness that chased away all the anxiety of the previous days was a welcome change. When I woke up I couldn't believe it was over and that cup of coffee and toast was the best tasting breakfast I'd ever had! I have been followed closely ever since. My primary care physician is extremely thorough and makes sure that I get my colonoscopies regularly.

The longer I live and hear of the effectiveness of early diagnosis versus the alternative, a day or 2 of inconvenience (and that’s all it is) certainly trumps surgery, chemo, and an altered lifestyle for much longer than 2 days. There is no pain, and there’s no reason to be embarrassed, as only the doctor doing the procedure is on the scope end and the patient is completely draped appropriately. I know this because I occasionally work in this area of the hospital.

I now know that for me, colonoscopies are not to be dreaded but thought of as just another means of insuring that I am able to spend as much time as I can doing the things I love with the people who mean the most to me.

 

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Thelma W Thelma W

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Thelma W Print Age: 53 Location: Raleigh, NC Occupation: Hurricanes hockey, spending time with my kids and grandchildren, baking......

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Thelma W


Age: 53

Location: Raleigh, NC

Occupation: Hurricanes hockey, spending time with my kids and grandchildren, baking

Hobbies/Interests: Project manager

Colonoscopy history: 1 colonoscopy—February 2011

One piece of advice: Do it! A day of inconvenience is worth it to either know you’re OK or to become aware of something you need to treat.

I think I have a pretty typical colonoscopy story. No known family history when I had mine done, no particular symptoms that led me to get it done. I knew that you’re supposed to have one done when you turn 50, so I did…sort of (I did put it off a couple years). 

Everyone told me that preparing for the colonoscopy was the worst part of the whole experience, and I have to agree with them! I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything but clear liquids the day before the colonoscopy. That part isn’t so bad. It’s certainly weird to not eat anything all day, but if you put your mind to it you can get through a day with no food. Two things that helped me get through it – first was eating something at the last possible minute, 11:30PM the night before my clear liquids day. Second was having some beef broth during the day – I think it just felt more like food than the other stuff I was drinking, so it helped stem the hunger for a little bit. 

The actual prep I took was MoviPrep—half the night before my procedure, and half starting at 4 AM the morning of. Everyone talks about how the prep tastes, so no sense harping on it. I can vouch for one thing – it works! 

The colonoscopy itself was really not a big deal at all. They take your vitals, ask some basic questions, hook up an IV, turn you on your side…then the next thing I remember is waking up. A little time in the recovery room, the doctor told me my results (clean!), and my husband drove me home. I was hungry, so I ate…I think I took a nap that afternoon…but that was it, no big deal.

My advice to anyone who is approaching 50 – get the colonoscopy when your doctor recommends it. So many people think it’s something worse than it really is. But let’s all be adults here – a little inconvenience and discomfort in exchange for the peace of mind of knowing everything is OK is absolutely worth it. And if, God forbid, I did have colon cancer or anything else wrong in my colon, it can’t be treated if you don’t know about it. Listen to your doctor, and just do it!

 

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Indication for MOVIPREP

MOVIPREP® (PEG-3350, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid for oral solution) is an osmotic laxative indicated for cleansing of the colon as a preparation for colonoscopy in adults 18 years of age or older.

Important Safety Information about MOVIPREP

Do not take MOVIPREP® (PEG-3350, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid for oral solution) if you have a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction (a blockage in your bowel), bowel perforation (an opening in the wall of your stomach or intestine), gastric retention (problems with food and fluid emptying from your stomach), ileus (bowel muscle unable to move stomach contents), toxic colitis (damage to the thickness of the intestinal wall) or toxic megacolon (an extremely dilated or distended colon with fever and/or abdominal pain at times), or if you have a known allergy to MOVIPREP or any of its components.

It is important to drink sufficient liquids before, during, and after the use of MOVIPREP. Liquid and blood salt changes can lead to serious side effects including abnormal heartbeats, seizures, and kidney problems. Talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP if you take any medications that increase the risk of blood salt abnormalities or if you have known or suspected low blood salt (sodium) level (hyponatremia).

If you have kidney problems or if you take medication that affects kidney function, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.

If you have suspected bowel blockage or a suspected opening in the wall of your stomach or intestine, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.

Talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP if you have problems swallowing, if you have gastric reflux, or if you are predisposed to aspiration.

If you have a condition that destroys red blood cells called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.

Please be advised that MOVIPREP contains 131 mg of phenylalanine per treatment.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.

In clinical studies with MOVIPREP, the most common side effects for split dosing were malaise (feeling uneasy), nausea, stomach (abdominal) pain, vomiting, and upper stomach pain. The most common side effects for evening only dosing were stomach swelling (abdominal distension), anal discomfort, thirst, nausea, stomach (abdominal) pain, sleep disorder, rigors (body shakes), hunger, malaise (feeling uneasy), vomiting, and dizziness.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch/ or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For product information, adverse event reports, and product complaint reports, please contact:

Salix Product Information Call Center
Phone: 1-800-508-0024
Fax: 1-510-595-8183
Email: salix@medcomsol.com

Please see complete Prescribing Information for MOVIPREP. pdf icon

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