Guest Post: Colonoscopy Myths and My Mistakes

Guest Writer, Sian Phillips

Guest Writer, Sian Phillips

Today I am sharing a guest post from Sian Phillips,  who is stepping outside her usual comfort zone to write about a recent health scare she underwent. Sian offered to share the lessons she learned in the hope that it may be of some help to anyone to you.

This is quite a hard post for me to write as it is so personal but when I thought about it I realised I’m always writing personal stuff as I normally give my own opinions so what the hell.

For starters everything is ok with me health wise and I felt a bit of a fraud writing this post but Marie assured me that it would be useful.  I like to think it may help other people who need to have a colonoscopy and also not to be as silly as me in worrying alone.

I had some blood spotting when I went to the loo. I knew this wasn’t right and within a week I went to the doctor. One thing I don’t do is put something off if I think I may be ill – the sooner it’s sorted the better in my mind.

I have a lovely doctor in the Shandon Medical Centre in Dungarvan and she immediately put me at ease and suggested I see a consultant for a colonoscopy  just to be sure.  I think I also had a swollen tummy and that was another worry – personally I think that’s just something that needs liposuction. Luckily I have medical insurance so I knew I would be covered – although it was different depending on which hospital I chose so always confirm that first if you can.

Be careful what you read on the internet  

So this is when I made mistake no.1. Of course after seeing the doctor I went home and looked it all up on the internet and read a lot of horror stories about the colonoscopy really hurting. Obviously this worried me.  Besides the embarrassment of having a tube stuck up my bottom it was going to hurt too. Marvellous!

So I then had to wait to hear from the consultant for my appointment. The doctor thought it would be quite quick but it actually dragged out to three months.  I didn’t have the blood spotting again but of course I still needed to be checked.

Talk to friends and family  

Now came mistake no.2. I have my own personal policy whereby I don’t worry about something until I know there is really something to worry about. I try to keep to this rule as much as possible so as not to waste emotion and energy on something that actually turns out ok. And because of this policy I also don’t like to worry other people until necessary. So I didn’t tell anyone about the problem or the colonoscopy.  I don’t have a boyfriend or husband or I’m sure I would have mentioned to them.

My Mum, older brothers and sister in laws live in Wales and I’m in Ireland so I’d hate them to worry from afar. My closest friends don’t live near me either. Although I did end up telling my neighbour who is a really good friend too, but that was only because I needed a lift to and from the hospital which was an hour away.

Of course it was still on my mind a lot. I know it’s the classic “coincidence” where you suddenly see lots of references to something you want to forget about .There were a lot of TV adverts recently about Colon Cancer and how it’s ok to talk to your doctor about it. I also watched what I thought was a RomCom film and it was actually that she had a colonoscopy and found out she had cancer and then died. But then she did get off with the dishy doctor so there was an upside :-)

The Prep 

The day before the procedure I couldn’t eat anything and had to take some medication to clear me out – that wasn’t too pleasant but I was at home and close to a loo so not really a problem. And the plus side was I lost half a stone in weight. I’d happily take that every couple of months :-)

For most of my life I have had an unnatural fear of hospitals – I know most people do but I struggled to even visit people on the maternity ward. I’d get very shaky and panicky, feeling like someone was going to strap me down to a bed. In my 30’s my Mum mentioned this could have been because I had my stomach pumped when I was 2 as they thought I’d taken a load of junior aspirin. No one had thought to mention this before! Since then I’m a lot braver but it’s still not a great experience.

The Procedure 

Thankfully I didn’t have to be in the hospital very long – I arrived at 11.30am and left at 3.30pm.  There wasn’t any hanging around at all. It was a bit like a conveyor belt of colonoscopies – one out, next one waiting to go in…..literally.  I found that a little strange but it did make me realise the nurses weren’t considering this as embarrassing as I was. I also didn’t want to tell people because it was such an embarrassing procedure.  Stupid me – that was mistake no.3.

I was sedated so I couldn’t feel anything but still knew what was going on. I think I may have rabbited on to the doctors and nurses about something stupid – one of the nurses saw my name on the form and thought she had the famous actress coming in so I was very apologetic.

Mistake no.4 was expecting it to be painful. I can honestly say the procedure didn’t hurt at all and wasn’t even that embarrassing. I had colonic irrigation in London years ago when it was the “in thing” – that was a lot more uncomfortable and humiliating.

During the colonoscopy I was able to view my insides too on the TV if I wanted to – it looked strange but fascinating.  I do remember saying to the consultant that it was a conveyor belt of bottoms which made him laugh but as he pointed out – it was the insides he was concentrating on, not how he got to see them.

The All OK 

Before I left the consultant told me that he hadn’t seen anything wrong so all was ok and he would write to my doctor.  So I was ok. I know there are probably a lot of people reading this that probably had bad news at that point and my heart goes out to you.

I wanted to write this post to just explain that the procedure doesn’t hurt and isn’t embarrassing so that should be one or two less things to worry about.  Also please do speak to someone about it; don’t worry alone. Even if you don’t want to discuss it with those closest to you there is always someone like Marie to speak to. To be honest although we have only met online through blogs and social media, Marie was the only person I thought of to have a chat to, but I didn’t – another mistake.

I hope this post helps somehow and if anyone wants to ask me questions about what happened during the procedure I’m happy to answer to the best of my knowledge.

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About Sian

Sian Phillips is the Managing Editor of TweakYourBiz.com, an Associate with The Ahain Group and a Moderator on Bizsugar.com. With over 20 years’ worth of experience in business and accounting, Sian provides help to the SME sector. The other half of Sian’s day is spent working in the Social Media space; writing blog posts and conducting interviews for TweakYourBiz.com, plus writing for clients globally about Social Business and Accounting. She is a qualified Accountant with an Honours Diploma in Journalism.