I am having an endoscopy and colonoscopy on Wednesday. The endoscopy is to check for eosinophils in my esophagus, and the success or otherwise of the elimination diet I have been on for the last 8 weeks for my eosinophilic esophagitis diagnosis.
I’m not really expecting good news from the endoscopy. I haven’t really had any reduction in symptoms. But at least there is no specific preparation required. It’s a quick procedure, maybe 15 minutes, and I’m all done. It’s done under intravenous sedation, so there’s not even any anesthetic concerns. Simple.
The colonoscopy is a little more involved. It’s about a 30 minute procedure, and there is some preparation involved. I continue to have symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) although my last colonoscopy six years ago only showed some mild inflammation. Nothing diagnosable. So it was put down to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and I put up with it.
But it’s time to have another colonoscopy and as I’m being knocked out anyway for the endoscopy, my gastroenterologist figured now was a good time to check for inflammation in my lower GI tract.
How to prep for a colonoscopy
The preparation is a two day affair. Today, day one, involves following a Low Residue Diet. It’s a very restricted diet designed to reduce the frequency and volume of stools, and disallows foods that are known to increase bowel activity. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘white diet’ because most of the foods are bland, white foods. My specific instructions are:
- Stop eating brown bread, cereals, vegetables and fruit (anything high fibre).
- Don’t not have any food with seeds in it.
Foods that are allowed are:
- Eggs, steamed white fish, chicken, cheese, plain yogurt, white bread, white pasta, white rice, jelly, milk and well-cooked pumpkin and peeled potato.
Because of the restrictions of my low allergy diet (no grains, no dairy) that leaves me with rice, potato, pumpkin and jelly.
Pretty restrictive. But not that much more restrictive than how I have been eating for the last few weeks anyway. Just dropping the fruit and vegetables for a day.
And hey, jelly. That sounds fine.
I have also been advised to:
- Drink 2-3 litres of fluid during the day.
- Add an electrolyte supplement like hydrolyte or powerade to my fluid intake.
That’s a lot of fluid. But doable.
Day 2 is where the fun really begins. I have two sachets of Glycoprep C and two of Picoprep. These are the products that will clean out my lower GI tract so that my gastroenterologist can examine it and look for problems.
I’ve been advised to make up the Glycoprep C sachets the night before, and refrigerate them. Apparently they are slightly more palatable when they are chilled. The nurse who talked me through my preparation instructions turned out to be one of my friends from gym. So she was completely honest and told me to prepare myself. It’s gross. She also suggested that I drink it with a straw. Easier to get it to the back of your throat and swallow it down!
Again I need to drink 2-3 litres of clear fluid. Again, gastrolyte or similar is recommended. I have been given a maxolon tablet to help with possible nausea. Not everyone feels nauseous, but it’s recommended to take it, just in case, at 11am.
12am I need to drink my first litre of Glycoprep over the course of 1-2 hours, and drink a glass of water every 15-30 minutes.
3pm I need drink the first sachet of picoprep dissolved in 250ml of water.
5pm I drink the second litre of Glycoprep, again over the course of 1-2 hours.
As well as that I am on the ‘Clear Food Diet’ which is:
- No solid food or milk products
- Water, clear salty fluids (e.g. strained chicken noodle soup, or clear broth or stocks), clear fruit juices (apple or pear), plain jelly, black tea or coffee, sports drinks, carbonated beverages, clear fruit cordials (clear or lemon/lime). Barley sugar lollies, or fruit jellies.
- Avoid anything with red or purple colourings, as they might make dye the GI tract red and look like inflammation.
- Alcohol is allowed. (But I guess not red wine. Might just give it a miss.)
Again, I can’t have the chicken broths. If I were smart I would cook myself up a nice vege broth today. But I’m lazy and I’ll just drink apple juice!
And the most important instruction? Stay near the bathroom! The response is individual, but by bedtime I should be pretty cleaned out! (Nice, I know.). I have told the kids I’m not doing anything tomorrow. It’s going to be Netflix and staying close to home. So if they need anything, want anything, want to go anywhere, its today. Or it waits until Thursday!
Day of procedure
I’m first cab off the rank at 8:15am, so I need to wake up at 4:30am and take another Maxolon tablet for nausea.
Then at 5am I need to take the second sachet of Picoprep with water.
Again, I should drink some gastrolyte or powerade. At 5:15am, stop drinking. Nil by mouth until the procedure time.
I’m guessing I won’t get back to sleep after 4:30am. I’m not really a morning person. And I don’t usually get to sleep much before 1 or 2am. But they’ll put me to sleep just after 8am and I’ll catch up then.
And that’s it! Fun, right?
I should be awake and all done by 10am. And ready to go home by 11am. All going well.
The biggest bummer? I love those little sandwiches they give you after you’ve had a procedure. Usually you’ve been fasting for hours and hours and those are the best damn tasting sandwiches in the world!
I’m not allowed to have them. I’ll have to wait until I get home to have something allergy friendly. Probably another bloody potato. Or some rice. Or a piece of fruit. *sigh*
But hopefully when it’s over, I’ll be allowed to add a food group to my current ‘Allergy friendly’ diet. And I hope that’s dairy. I want cheese! It’s the thing I have missed most. As soon as I’m allowed to, I’m going to eat a great big chunk of cheese. Any kind of cheese. Probably several kinds of cheese.
Something to look forward to…
I haven’t tried much in the way of elimination diet, just gluten and dairy free, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted the results to be. Part of me wanted to feel better, so I could have a solution that worked. But part of me didn’t want it to work, because I didn’t want it to be food related. I want to eat what I want to eat, though of course, if I knew I would feel better by not eating a food, I would give it up. I might be bitter about it, but I’d do it.
Good luck with your procedures. I hope all goes smoothly.
Thanks J. And I know exactly what you mean. Giving up foods you love isn’t easy. And I certainly wouldn’t do it without a good reason! But if it did turn out that eliminating various foods lowered my daily pain levels, it would be worth it. I’ll very likely have to eliminate a few things because of allergies. Wait and see…nearly there tho! yay 🙂
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