T-4 Days: Colonoscopy Prep

I hadn’t actually been planning to start blogging this soon, but I have a colonoscopy coming up on Tuesday. Hopefully, I won’t need another one for at least three years, so this is kind of a golden opportunity! I mean, who doesn’t love talking about colonoscopy prep? Woo hoo!

So… 4 days out. Yesterday, I stopped taking my vitamins and supplements. Except for one. Some of my recent blood work came back showing low potassium. It’s only a touch low. Not a big deal. It’s a side effect of one of my medications, but my primary doc did put me on supplementary potassium.

Here’s a great example of why life with multiple chronic conditions might not seem complicated on paper, but it gets complicated in real life:

  • Neurologist puts me on Diamox.
  • Primary doc orders routine blood work and finds low potassium (due to the Diamox).
  • Get repeat blood work to confirm low potassium.
  • Primary doc puts me on potassium supplements.
  • Gastroenterologist has instructions to go off of all vitamins and supplements 5 days before the colonoscopy. However… I’m taking the potassium supplements because my potassium was low, not just for fun.
  • So… I had to put a call into my gastroenterologist’s office, leave a message, and get clearance from him to stay on the potassium.

Dang brain meds are supposed to relieve my headaches, not cause them!

While all of that is going on… I’m also gearing up for the endoscopy/colonoscopy, getting papers together for a Chiari management appointment with my neurologist (med changes, MRIs to order, vestibular therapy to start), and I’ve also got an infusion + appointment with my rheumatologist… and he might want to do more blood work since one of my liver enzymes came back a touch elevated. All of that is going down in the span of one week. Fun times!


Yesterday, I finished up food shopping for my colonoscopy prep. Two days before the colonoscopy, I need to go on a low residue diet. You know how nutrition gurus tell you to eat lots of whole grains and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli) and how apples are best eaten whole with the skin on? Yeah. None of that right before a colonoscopy. Since I normally try to eat whole grains, tons of broccoli, and eat 1 if not 2 whole apples a day, I really needed to do some shopping: White bread, white rice, applesauce, bananas, spinach, asparagus… And then, of course, there’s the lovely liquids for the liquid diet I’ll be living off of the day before the colonoscopy.

Pro tip with the liquid diet: Spoil yourself! Do not skimp on clear liquids!

Most doctors will allow you unlimited clear liquids the day before your colonoscopy. The best way to prevent raging hunger is to keep your stomach full. And keep it interesting! Have juice for something sweet and broth for something salty. Make jello and add extra gelatin powder so you have something to chew. Treat yourself to popsicles and Italian ice! But remember: No red or purple colored anything! Personally, I also steer clear of dark blue, dark green, and dark orange, too. You’ll also want to make sure your popsicles aren’t the creamy kind (no yogurt pops, fudgesicles, or coconut pops), and you’ll also want to check the ingredients to look for fruit pieces or citrus zest/peel. Those are no nos.

So how am I feeling about the colonoscopy? The colonoscopy itself has never been an issue for me. They knock me out before the start and I wake up in recovery. It’s pretty awesome! As far as the prep goes, it’s not the worst thing in the world. Doing a 30 minute swallow study was w-a-y worse than colonoscopy prep! My gastroenterologist has me do the Miralax and Gatorade prep, and I’ve never had a problem with it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of jello to make!