I am not a medical health professional and any comments I post are not intended, nor should they be construed, as medical advice. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, dial 911 (where applicable) or contact proper emergency service personnel.
As an FYI, the procedures I talk about below are great ways to catch these types of cancer early which significantly increases your odds of survival and life expectancy. If you have a family history of these types of cancer or have Acid Reflux/GERD, talk with your doctor to see if they think you need testing.
I suffer Acid Reflux / GERD (see first link below). I am not sure which as various doctors have diagnosed me either GERD or Acid Reflux. The flare-ups can be mild to wild. Some days, I don’t even notice and other days, like today, they are bad enough that it’s hard to ignore. Since I have reflux issues, I am also at risk for Barrett’s Esophagus (see second link below). Before getting a colonoscopy, you have to do a colon cleanse to empty your colon. The worst part about that was the taste of the medicine they gave me (both times although the second time it was slightly more bearable). The bathroom will be your friend during this cleanse. I also had to avoid certain foods for a period before the procedure.
I ran across two posts by Sasha R., originally posted in mid-2017, recently that address Acid Reflux – https://andwhynotshesaid.com/2017/08/25/what-you-need-to-know-about-acid-reflux-symptoms-diagnosis-treatment/ and Barrett’s Esophagus – https://andwhynotshesaid.com/2017/09/18/everything-youve-ever-wanted-to-know-about-barretts-esophagus/.
I have been scoped on both ends – gastroscopy: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gastroscopy/ and colonoscopy: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/colonoscopy.
The first time was in 1995 and I was awake when the procedures were done – consider it a two-for-one deal as they were both done in one visit. I found out that being awake was not my preferred method of having these tests done; the fact they found and removed polyps greatly contributed to this decision. However, it was painful enough before they found and removed the polyps to convince me never again while awake. Once being awake was, in my opinion, one time too many.
The second time was 1 – 2 years ago. My Primary Care Physician (PCP) wanted me awake. I said no. He proceeded to explain why I should be awake, including the remote possibility that I may not wake up if they put me to sleep. I didn’t budge. He tried numerous times to change my mind. He initially only wanted to do a colonoscopy and told me I didn’t need a gastroscopy. I made the point that they had found moderate esophagus damage during the 1995 test. After further consideration, he added a gastroscopy.
Trust me if you have never experienced a colonoscopy while awake, you probably don’t want to. I have a very high pain threshold and the first doctor’s explanation when I complained of pain and telling me it was only mild discomfort didn’t fit my definition of mild discomfort.
Eventually, the doctor budged and found me a gastro-doctor who would put me to sleep. I never met the doctor, unless you count while I was out during the procedure. He did assure my friend the procedure went fine. Personally, I was happy with being asleep when it was done. I did spend the day with my friends as there was a very slight risk the procedure could have done something like ruptured a bowel. It didn’t. It was funny that I went from counting down from 100 to telling them they could begin the procedure. They told me it was over. I do have photos of some of the portions and a CD of the procedures as a souvenir.