I suppose the best place to start is with the bowel-prep. Partly because it was the colonoscopy that got to the bottom of my problems, but also because it is probably best to start the blog off with a laugh. I mean, rectal cancer is generally not a laughing matter.
By way of quick background, I had been experiencing some mild, intermittent bleeding when going to the toilet. I went to the GP, who became the first person to stick their finger in my ass. He couldn’t feel anything, told me to eat more fibre, drink more fluids and if it got worse, go and see the specialist.
I did all those things, and it got better. Not straight away, because I had a week in Hawaii with one of my best mates and let’s be frank, it was a 7day pub-crawl. When I got back, my wife and i made a conscious effort to try and eat more healthily, I drank more water, added fibre to my diet and voila, things improved. For a while. Then it came back, generally after a period where I had been enjoying life a little too much if you know what I mean.
Anyways, the bleeding became less intermittent and more regular, which saw me making an appointment with Dr Anil Koshy, colorectal surgeon. He booked me in for a colonoscopy on the spot, and I found myself leaving his office with a feeling of dread, a decent bill, and most importantly, a bowel-prep kit.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune to undergo a colonoscopy, you’ll know what’s coming, if not, and you’re squeamish, you may want to skip to the next post.
My bowel-prep kit was MoviPrep, orange flavour (that’s important). It comes in a box which in turn contains two plastic bags, each containing two sachets of what can only be described as a combo of draino and paint stripper for colons.
As my procedure was scheduled for the afternoon, I had the joy of losing my shit (literally), the night before, and morning of, the colonoscopy. I went to the shops and purchased 4L of apple juice, an industrial sized tub of gatorade powder, lemon cordial, beef and chicken stock cubes, soup and water. Lot’s of water.
That afternoon I mixed my first prep. As I opened the first sachet (the one containing the orange flavour) I thought “this may no be so bad, kind of smells like sherbet”. When I opened the second sachet, my nostrils were assaulted with a smell that gave some indication of the onslaught my digestive system was about to suffer. You then chill it, to make it more palatable. When they say that on the box, it’s a lie. A straight-out, fucking lie.
The concoction tasted like (what I would imagine) orange tic-tacs and gooch sweat. The ‘orange’ flavour was overpowered by the salty, gluey texture of the mixture. I drank what I thought was a decent amount, only to look at the bottle and see I had barely made a dent.
Mouthfuls of gooch sludge, interspersed with water, cordial ad gatorade continued for the next hour, and finally, I was done. It was then that the ‘fun’ really began.
One of my friends had told me that it would be the funniest moments of my life. Others gave me advice such as: make sure your iPhone/ipad is charged; have a good book ready; and put vaseline on your asshole. Sadly, I didn’t heed the last bit of advice, and regretted it more than a kebab at 4am.
Within minutes of finishing the concoction, I made my way to the bathroom. Imagine me pushing small children out of the way to get to a table of salami and you’ll have an idea of the speed with which I moved. The only thing faster was the flow rate from my anoos for the next couple of hours.
The packaging tells you to expect that everything inside you will be liquified and expelled, sometimes with the pressure of a firehose, and that same is completely ‘normal’. Let’s be clear…there is nothing normal about your asshole resembling Niagara Falls for a couple of hours. At first it came in waves, almost like a tidal ebb and flow. Later, it was like a tsunami, the only warning being that ‘bump’ on the horizon telling you to flee the low-lying areas. By the end, the only way I knew I was voiding was by listening for the tell tale sounds of water cascading into the now swamp-like toilet bowl below.
Eventually, the deluge subsided enough that I felt safe to leave the toilet. The fact that I was wearing two pairs of undies gave me considerable confidence in the circumstances.
I then had to prepare bowel-prep number 2, to be commenced at 6am the following morning, and again, to be finished with an hour or so. Strangely, although I was dreading the second prep, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first time around. For better or worse, the onset of the evacuation was much faster than the night before, which meant by the time I was heading in for my scope, I was so confident that I’d lost everything there was to lose that I was down to a single pair of undies.