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I had my first colonoscopy at 17. The doctor thought I had GI issues, when I really just had a hernia. A little backstory – it’s common that those developing Crohn’s Disease start to have symptoms/show degeneration on colonoscopies five years before severe illness. However, my colonoscopy was clean. Less than five years later I was diagnosed with Crohn’s. I find this so interesting and while I have several thoughts about it, I won’t get into it because today I want to talk about how to have a positive colonoscopy experience.
Four out of my five colonoscopies have been the most pleasant experiences. Only one, when I was very sick and unable to really communicate my needs, went south. There’s a few tips that I highly recommend you do before having a colonoscopy. There’s truly nothing to worry about, and I like to view them as a nice forced nap with drugs? I’m sure there’s a much better way to say that, but hopefully you get what I mean. And that’s what takes me into my first tip:
Make it positive. I don’t believe in thinking positive all the time will make things better, however, practicing gratitude and starting the practice of reframing negative thoughts can improve your mental attitude towards the thing you’re worrying about and improve your quality of life. The fact is, you have to have a colonoscopy. So instead of fear mongering over something that hasn’t happened yet, and creating a negative experience by living in your negative thoughts, think about the positives. Here are a few for example:
I have to have this done because I care about my health and wellbeing and want to learn how I can best care for my body.
I know the doctor has my best interests in mind and I will do my best to communicate any fears I have so we can sort them out ahead of time and create a positive experience.
So many people, even little kids, have this done everyday. If they can do it and go on with life, I can too because we’re all strong!
Tip #2 is to practice mindfulness and presence. I bring a book to my colonoscopy to read while I’m waiting and do deep breathing if I find I can’t focus on the book. Doing this will relax your body. I found that when I was relaxed, well at least more relaxed, I fell asleep faster in the colonoscopy and woke up with significantly less pain.
Tip #3 is to set up a warm and cozy home environment to do the prep and come home to. Before my last few colonoscopies when I was a bit healthier, I cleaned the apartment, went grocery shopping for easy to digest, but yummy foods, and got extra work done so I could completely rest the two days after. This gave me a little vacation to look forward to. I even ordered some favorite movies and books from the library.
Your assignment this week is to create an action plan for your next colonoscopy, or think of something you can do for a friend who has one coming up. If you know someone needing a colonoscopy, schedule to send them flowers, a card, or a gift card to their favorite grocery store or restaurant so they can pick up their favorite foods afterwards.
I hope this episode has been helpful; please leave a comment if you’re here on Youtube or listening to the podcast. See you soon!
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