What to eat the day before a colonoscopy… March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month!

Colonscopy prep food

Update 2022: Since this was written years ago – the directions I received said NO RED, NO ORANGE. Other articles I read said NO RED, NO ORANGE, NO BLUE, NO PURPLE. So nix the above orange Gatorade and stick with lemon/lime. Also Jell-O – lemon or lime… I couldn’t find popsicles without all the colors you’re not supposed to eat, but I did find lemon Italian Ice. That’ll work! Not sure what the future holds – just follow the directions from your physician – each prep is a little bit different.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. As the CDC says below… if everyone who is 50 years old or older were screened regularly, as many as 60% of deaths from this cancer could be avoided.

Getting a colonoscopy really isn’t a big deal. You have an appointmet and talk to the doctor that will be performing the procedure. He will ask if you’re taking medication (vitamins/supplements included, tell them everything you take) and assorted other questions, then they will schedule an appointment, tell you what you can drink/eat. What your prep will be (there are many variations), what time you can no longer have liquids or anything else… then it’s a quick procedure. Mine was twilight, meaning I wasn’t put all the way under, which is nice because you wake up fast. It’s the best 15 minute sleep of your life! You don’t feel any different, you have no idea you even had it done.

I know. Fun fun. This past year Fred and I both turned 50, we celebrated (woohoo) by getting colonoscopies. Now we’re set for another 10 years. Thank God. For me, the actual prep part of it wasn’t so bad (the part you drink that “makes things happen”) it was NO FOOD the day before. Holy cow. No real solid food. No cheese. No cream in coffee? We work hard to not eat much sugar, we don’t drink soda, so to go from a pretty un-sweet existence to a sugar loaded day creeped me out.  BUT, if I bought the diet stuff, no calories and I could fall over from starvation. Believe me, this was a serious concern, ha ha… Basically, you’re on a liquid diet the day before (check with a doctor, I’m not one, I do not perform colonoscopies or have above average knowledge about them… check. check. check. This post is about what I did (what I was told to do)… and I’m happy to say I’m alive to talk about it!

I basically had jello (made three different kinds… breakfast, lunch and dinner, ugh), Gatorade (or other sports drink) which to me is loaded with sugar and other “stuff”, but it’s important to stay hydrated. If you don’t you get dehydrated which leaves to horrible side affects. So DRINK. DRINK. DRINK. (And not alcohol…). Clear, non pulp juices like white grape and apple are also options, for soda I opted for ginger ale in case I got nauseous from no food (I think that’s what I drank towards the end of the day). Hot tea (or coffee, but with no cream, no powdered cream, etc.). Chicken Boullion, but NOT the brand I bought here. I didn’t drink it, but when it came time for Fred’s colonoscopy prep day, he had to work, had a big meeting. Fun times. So I packed him his lunch (oh, how I felt for him that day), he called me and asked if it was OK if there were “green things” in the bouillon… AHHH, NO GREEN THINGS! While we’re on the topic of color NO RED, NO PINK, NO PURPLE of any kind in any form… it shows up like somethings wrong in your colon, and you don’t want to repeat this for at least 10 years. Popsicles were another thing you could eat, but NOT FRUIT POPS (pulp). So you have to eat the sugar laden ones, but none with RED, PINK or PURPLE! I was getting worried that mixing my Jello (lemon, lime, and orange would some how mix together, kind of like mixing paint, and turn red/pink/purple, ha… I was fine).

Fred’s lunch… heavy sigh… Again… NOT THIS BRAND OF BOULLION… it has “green stuff” (flavoring) in it. I was quite happy how I packed his Jello, hee…

Fred's lunch on prep day!
Fred’s lunch on prep day!

Here is some valuable information from CDC.GOV

March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk?

The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older. Colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but many people are not being screened according to national guidelines.

If you’re 50 years old or older, getting a screening test for colorectal cancer could save your life. Here’s how—

  • Colorectal cancer screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. In this way, colorectal cancer is prevented.
  • Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment often leads to a cure.

What Are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. Symptoms for colorectal cancer may include—

  • Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement).
  • Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away.
  • Losing weight and you don’t know why.

These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you’re having any of these symptoms, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.

When Should You Begin to Get Screened?

You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, then keep getting screened regularly until the age of 75. Ask your doctor if you should be screened if you’re older than 75.

Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. Having any of these things may increase your risk—

  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
  • Genetic syndromes, like familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (also known as Lynch syndrome).

If you think you may be at high risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get tested.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

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