Frightened of procedure

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I've just got appointment for colonoscopy, but dread the procedure, as I'm now shaking with anxiety & want to keep crying, I'm like this about any medical procedure even just having a vacation. I've had major surgery 20yrs ago for breast cancer, but really can't even stand the thought of any procedures now. As it's not any urgent reason to have the colonoscopy now, should I cancel it as I'm terrified of the procedure. I don't want to be a time waster. I'm 74yrs old and live alone. I'm feeling I should cancel and hang my head in shame, as I know I'm lucky to have the appointment.a

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  • Posted

    There really isn't anything to fear. For me, it wasn't at all painful just a bit uncomfortable for a few seconds. The worst part was having to drink loads of water the day before the procedure!!! It was all over and done with in 15 minutes and I was home an hour later. The staff were fantastic and very reassuring. If I were you, I'd keep the appointment. 

    Good luck. 


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  • Posted

    I agree with Jan, the worst part is the prep, but the actual procedure is not that bad,I didn't feel pain., just a few seconds of slight discomfort in my tummy area, but i watched it on the screen and now i can't really remember it that much, I was very anxious but afterwards I realised I should not have worried. I had a nice cup of tea and biscuits afterwards and felt fine, The staff were lovely too, Good luck if you decide to go ahead!

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  • Posted

    Hi Sylvia,

    Thank you for your honest and open post. I understand and know your anxiety and panic. My own life is over running with anxiety and in ruins with panic attacks. The slightest little trigger sets me in a downhill spiral.

    I just had my very first colonoscepy this week on Monday. My greatest fear was all of the unknowns I would be facing. I am not an emotionally strong person so I was in a panic mode from the moment my doctor said I was overdue for the procedure.

    I too wanted to bail out of what I thought was my impending doom every moment of every day. What calmed my racing thoughts was knowing that I actually had a few weeks until my procedure and I could cancel any time I wanted to. It really did help a lot to know that I was in control and I get to make all decisions about my health care.

    So what I did before the weeks before my procedure was to research and educate myself about all things colonoscepies, small & large intestines, stomach, etc. I did not allow myself to put pressure on myself but kind of took myself out of the situation as if I was doing research for an article I would be writing.

    I read so much from the best & the worst about the prep you do the day before and the day, the procedure itself, and the days after procedure. The more I read, the more empowered I became and the more I knew I was in control of what my final decision would be.

    As the days approached my appointment, I decided that I would start doing the prep procedure for the colonoscepy. I reassured myself that I could stop at anytime without any judgements which gave me great comfort.

    For me the prep medicine I was given tasted like a very old bottle of cherry flavored cough medicine. I drank it through a straw and made myself do it quickly. I thought I would throw up but I never did. What followed that was 2 16oz glasses of water. I was beloated, but I did it!! I was so proud of myself! About 30 minutes later, I had a strong urge to go to the bathroom. The bathroom time was nothing as horrible as I imagined it would be. I spent about 2 hours to and from the toilet. And about an hour laying in my bed just in case I needed to go again. I slept well afterwards.

    The next morning, the day of procedure, I awoke at 6am to do my 2nd round of the the prep medicine. I was feeling a bit drained from the night before but I was okay. And I still knew that I could still cancel this whole thing at any moment I wanted to. I was empowered!

    So I started the 2nd round. With a straw, I drank the prep medicine and the 2 glasses of water afterwards. This time my stomach wasn't as heroic as it was the night before and I threw up some of the medicine. What did stay down was enough to give me the urge to go to the bathroom. This time, my total bathroom time was shorter than the night before.

    I still knew that I could still cancel my appointment at anytime and that I was still in control. I decided then that I would go to my appointment and if I felt that I couldn't go through with it I would simply leave.

    From then on, everything went so very quickly. I was brought into my own private room, quickly answered a few questions, IV was placed in my arm and i was rolled into the procedure room. I told my nurse that i was anxious, and had an anxiety/panic disorder. I was not ashamed to ask my nurse to keep talking to me the whole time so I knew I was not alone.

    I was in the procedure room for less than 2 minutes before I was fully sedated and fast to sleep. The last thing I remembered was the nurses rolling me on my left side and placing a mouth guard in my mouth.

    I woke up 30 minutes later in my private room. My daughter came in to see me and then my doctor cam in. He explained to me that all went very well and I wouldn't have to have another colonoscepy for another 10 years. I was still a bit foggy so my daughter filled me in later about what had happened. I slept off the anesthesia for about 3 hours and felt okay afterwards.

    I am so very proud of myself that I pushed myself through my fears and doubts. It is now one of my greatest accomplishments!

    What I know without a doubt now is that "the only thing to fear is fear itself" and that I am more powerful than I think I am.

    I wish you the great success in overcoming your own doubts and fears! You are so very special and unique! I am cheering for you!!!

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  • Posted

    Hello sylvia.  Are you in the UK?  I ask as it seems different countries have different procedures.

    I have had my second colonoscopy last month.  I'm a few years younger than you and also live alone.

    Please be reassured, I think we dread the unknown but this only lasts an hour, and all the medical staff I had were wonderful, patient, kind and understanding.

    Others say the prep is awful, but I didn't find it so.  A powder mixed with water that fizzed and tasted lemony.  Drink lots of water.  I also had some laxative tablets to take.

    I made my diet very gentle a couple of days beforehand which was no problem.

    With the colonoscopy there might be some discomfort,but it is shortlived and the practitioner pumped some internal relaxant with me when I said "ouch"!!.

    The nurse is there to hold your hand throughout too.

    After a short rest in bed then tea and biscuits before you go home.

    I encourage you to have this done, the benefits are life saving.

    I expect to be called back next year for another, but remember dozens if not hundreds are having this done all the time.  

    You can cope and you will cope I'm sure.  When it's all over come here and tell us about it.

    Best wishes.    j  xx

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    • Posted

      Mine didn't even take an hour, I had it done because my sister died last year at 59 from bowel cancer, My son also had a colonoscopy and that took  about 30 minutes too, Both results were normal but it does give peace of mind!

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  • Posted

    Hi Sylvia, Unfortunately everyone is different. I am 72 years old and suffer from severe diverticulitis which is extremely painful and I take over 200mgs of morphine a day for the pain. I have had colonoscopies, colonographies and the one where barium enemas are used then photographs taken. When I have had a colonoscopy it is absolutely dreadful and I have never felt pain like it. This was with 7 mgs midazolam and another sedative which I can't remember name. I had to literally jump off the table with the camera still in its position and they had to page a doctor. They ended up giving me 50mgs to finish the procedure. I have spoken to many people about this. Usually the people who do not feel this do not have anything wrong with them. When the camera goes round my sigmoid junction (one of the corners in the large colon) is when the pain begins. I am due another colonoscopy and refuse to have one unless I have a general anaesthetic. When I had a colonography it was really bad as well as I could not stand up after it and when I came out the treatment room I literally staggered along the corridor in the hospital to the toilet. I had bowel fluid running down my legs as the prep had not cleaned out my bowels properly and I had to go home with badly soiled trousers and my husband had to drive the car with all the windows open because of the terrible smell. I wrote to the Consultant who had carried out the procedure but he did not bother to reply. The only thing is I do not think there is another easier procedure and I am like you Sylvia I have to have one done sooner than later. Please do not hang your head in shame it is the nurses or whoever does these tests who have to listen to you before you proceed with these tests. They have no right to say it does not hurt because believe you me in some people like myself it does hurt and that is even taking a pretty big dose of morphine. I will be thinking of you because we both know we have to have it done to reassure ourselves if we need more tests or get the all clear. Best of luck I will be thinking of you. Jenny G

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    • Posted

      Sorry Sylvia I meant to say in my last email that I was given 50mg of pethidine to finish the colonoscooy procedure and it did help. Jenny G 
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    • Posted

      Hi Jenny

      It was interesting to read your account and I think I am in a similar situation. I had a flexible sigmoidoscopy in Sept but due to poor bowel prep (I was advised to have enema instead of laxative) and the fact that he found severe diverticular it was so painful he had to stop the procedure as he said he could perforate my bowel. I went 3 weeks ago for a ct colonoscopy. I went to my doctor last week for an unrelated issue and he told me results if colonoscopy showed irregularities and to stay by phone waiting for his secretary to ring me. No one got in touch so I rang hospital who said it wasn't overly major but I need either a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy again but I wonder how this can be done if it's dangerous. I have spent the last week in a high state of anxiety. I've convinced myself I have a terrible disease but then logically surely someone would have got in touch if so.

      Sorry to rattle on! I hope things are going well with you now.

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  • Posted

    Don't worry I had a colonoscopy 4 years ago . After the sedation could not remember anything till I woke up in a ward . Had tea and Biscuits and went home . The worst bit is the prep the day before . I did not like the sigmoidoscopy it was so painful I had to stop it . 

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