I'm happy to report I successfully made it through another colonoscopy. I'm pretty sure this was my 12th colonoscopy over the past 16 years.
Miralax and Gatorade prep
My GI doctor recommended I return to using one of my preferred preps from the past: Miralax and Gatorade. I know it's not everyone's favorite, but it's much better than the gallons of salt water-tasting stuff I used to drink in the early days.
I cut the prep instructions in half since I've got an itty-bitty colon to clean out. And because I'm a frequent flyer to these procedures, I didn't get the supplies until about 5:30 on prep night.
Just a tip: don't wait that long. I learned the hard way through the all-nighter I spent in the bathroom.
I "like" the taste of this over other prep options and it did a good clean out job; however, it dehydrated me to the point I struggled for several days following.
If I do this again, I'll need to form a better rehydration plan following the procedure.
Paying for the colonoscopy
This is not an aspect I often recap in my health updates, but I feel it's important to mention how paying for this scope went down.
I will fully own the miscommunication on my end, or should I say lack of availability for communication. I was traveling for several days and then jumped back into work, wife and mom-mode. I didn't check all of my voicemails (I assumed when I answered the call for the check-in questions that's why they'd been calling). I also neglected to open my mail and get the notice from the billing office until the night I stopped to look for prep instructions.
Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this.
By the time I read the letter explaining I owed over $1,600 upon check in (unless I called the business office ahead of time to arrange payments), it was too late. The sinking feeling in my tummy probably helped with my prep that night.
Thankfully I had a credit card on me the next morning and I try to save back funds for emergencies like this. The procedure carried on. BUT, I share this for two reasons:
1. Check with billing ASAP
If you're getting a colonoscopy (even if you get them every year like me), check with the billing office for the charges. This had never happened to me. Don't assume coverage or charges will work the same year to year. Also, if the GI office keeps calling from one number, it might be coming from multiple people.
2. Cost barriers to getting a colonoscopy are very real
The cost barriers to healthcare are very real. I can't imagine what this would have cost if I didn't have insurance. Even with insurance, I could have bought a used car for what it cost me to have a colonoscopy. And I do this every year.
It's not cheap to stay healthy (or alive), and especially if there's a genetic disease, pre-existing condition or other situation threatening it. It doesn't take away the need for screening, but the reasons many don't get screened are very real. I felt it on a whole new level this year.
The colonoscopy procedure
Once I got to the actual procedure, the colonoscopy went great.
I'm a big fan of the nap I take during the scope. Those few seconds of being put under are some of my favorite out of the entire year (I know I'm weird). I woke up what felt like hours later (but it was only a few minutes) and I hadn't felt a thing. Seriously, it's that easy.
The good news is my colon was cleaned out very well for the colonoscopy, and the doctor got a good view. The frustrating news is: I did have one colon polyp removed. He wasn't concerned about it, and felt confident it was benign. But still - here's what I wrote in my prayer journal leading up to the scope:
No polyps in my colonoscopy and clean bill of health.
I couldn't help but have flashbacks to years prior when I prayed:
- to not get cancer again - and yet I did
- for a polyp to be benign - and yet it was malignant
With another crisis of faith on the horizon, the distraction of getting dressed and walking to the car broke the oncoming emotional train wreck about to hit. Which was probably a really good thing.
Perspective after the scope
My friend Nicole and hubby Mike waited at the doctor's office during my colonoscopy and once I got the "all clear" to leave, they didn't only get me home safe but they went above and beyond. Homemade breakfast sandwiches, bags of candy corn and glasses of Sprite were soon served up to me.
They sat with me, listened as I processed the news of a polyp and took care of everything that needed done around the house and for Mae so I could rest and recover. Their care helped me feel love.
As the day went on, I also reflected on my GI doctor and how he's been so diligent to take good care of me over the years. His confidence that my polyp was benign helped calm my anxiety. (His text several days later with a screen shot of the lab report confirmed it.)
I'm grateful for his care through the course of my survivorship and that our doctor-patient relationship has become a full-circle friendship. His reassurance that I am healthy and going to be OK was what I needed to not spiral down and once again lose my faith in the moment of my unanswered prayer.
God has used him to heal me and keep me well.
Peace after my colonoscopy
So colonoscopy #12 was a unique one. It wasn't like some of the others that came without financial burden and zero polyps. But, it also wasn't like some of the life-altering ones where cancer was found or a big surgery was recommended.
My prayer request didn't get answered exactly as I prayed. I did have a polyp. But I also did get a clean bill of health. And, as I reflected over those two truths, I had to make a choice.
Either the polyp meant God wasn't good and didn't hear me - a lie I've fallen into believing many times over the years Or, the polyp meant God is bigger than me, loves me and works for my good even if I don't always understand. And I've just got to trust Him.
And this year, on colonoscopy #12, I decided to believe the second.
Danielle blogs about cancer survivorship, communications and faith. Subscribe to her weekly devotional in the Monday Morning Survival Guide so you don't miss anything she has to say!