Browsing Tag: health

    Miscellany

    The 5 Stages of Colonoscopy Prep

    July 13, 2019

    My first colonoscopy went well, thanks for asking. It happened yesterday — my first surgery/medical procedure of any kind. It’s true — no broken bones, no sprained ankles, nothing that has ever required me to see a doctor for anything other than preventative treatments and regular checkups. I’ve been blessed.

    The procedure itself went well and the doctor pronounced me totally healthy on the spot — he didn’t find any polyps or anything else to cause concern, so I’m in the clear for 10 years until I get to do it again.

    The days leading up to the colonoscopy weren’t so great, of course. Even though I knew what to expect from having watched my wife go through the process less than a year ago, I wasn’t looking forward to the prep phase. No one does.

    Since I have a lot of friends in their 40s who’ll be going through this in the near future, I want to put down my experience of the five stages of colonoscopy preparation.

    Stage 1: Dread

    There’s no avoiding it. As soon as someone older than 50 finds out that you’re having a colonoscopy, they’re gonna tell you about it … just like I’m doing right now.

    In the days and weeks leading up to it, the doctor’s office will make sure you know all the rules about not eating and when you have to take the (awful) prep medication that clears out your system. You’ll look at what you’re allowed to eat (almost nothing) for the entire day before the colonoscopy, when you have to take the prep medicine, when you have to stop drinking liquids and consuming anything … and it’s all terribly dreadful. You’re gonna tell yourself it’s gonna be awful, and you’ll mostly be right.

    Stage 2: This Ain’t So Bad

    The day before actually starts out fine. You’ll have your jello made and ready to eat, maybe you’ll have some popsicles, too. And you’ll have clear liquids like apple juice or even Sprite — yep, that’s allowed. It turns out that jello and Sprite are a better combo than you expected, and if you consume enough of them, they can kinda fill you up for a while.

    I got through breakfast and lunch on this menu, along with one popsicle for “dessert” after lunch. It really wasn’t so bad. And then….

    Stage 3: Starvation

    It hit me at about 1:30 p.m. My stomach started growling loudly and when I went out to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door, I had just one thought: If I ever see a bowl of gelatin again, it’ll be the death of me.

    I kept eating it, though, along with Sprite and apple juice. Then I got back to my desk and texted my entire family: “Can someone PLEASE bring me a cheeseburger ASAP???”

    No. No, they couldn’t.

    Stage 4: Disgust

    The real prep starts the night before your colonoscopy. There are apparently several different prescription prep kits you can get, but I was told to ask for Suprep. It’s apparently the least bad. When I had my initial visit at the gastroenterologist about a month ago, I asked the doctor’s assistant to prescripe Suprep for me, and the instant reply I got was “Good choice.”

    To be clear, that’s kinda like being told you made a good choice by crashing your car into a shallow river instead of hitting a tree.

    Suprep is not pleasant and what it does to you the rest of the night is awful. It tastes like a very, very salty cold medicine. Did I mention it tastes salty? And you have to mix it with water and then drink 16 oz of this concoction within an hour. (Suggestion: Drink it all immediately and get it over with. Don’t drag out the salty torture.) And then you also have to drink 32 more ounces of plain water within an hour after finishing the Suprep. You’ve pretty much got a one-way ticket to the toilet no matter what.

    So you drink all this stuff and then the prep really begins. For me, it took about 30 minutes for the bowel cleanout to begin. Your timing may differ, but you’re gonna spend most of the night on the toilet and it’s pretty disgusting. And by the way, Stage 3 is over at this point — once the cleanout begins, you’re not gonna be starving. In fact, the thought of eating or drinking anything should put the fear of God in you.

    One last note: You have to take the same 16 oz. Suprep concoction the next morning, about four hours before your colonoscopy, and the fun begins all over again.

    Stage 5: Amazement

    This may happen during the night, or maybe (like me) the next morning — but at some point during all this your disgust will turn to amazement as you wonder … How is it possible for anything more to come out of my body?

    If all goes well, you’ll be completely drained out by the time that 4-hour window comes to an end. You’ll go to the hospital (or wherever you’re having the procedure) and you won’t have that urge anymore. And hopefully, your colonoscopy will go as smoothly as mine.

    I ended up losing three pounds over the course of two days — the prep day and the day of the procedure. It wasn’t even remotely fun, but I got through it … and you will, too.

    The most important thing: Don’t put off your colonoscopy out of fear or any other reason. It’s an important procedure and can save your life. Do it.

    Miscellany

    A Connection to My Biological Parents

    August 6, 2018

    It’s been more than a year since I sent some saliva to 23andMe to learn as much as I could about my genetic makeup. None of the reports I’ve been able to access since then have revealed any inclinations toward serious medical conditions … which is a Good Thing. (Here’s hoping that trend continues!)

    I’m happy that I took the dive into this genetic testing/sharing, but it’s all been very abstract. For the most part, the tests are related to medical conditions that aren’t part of my daily life and experience.

    That changed not long ago when 23andMe emailed me about several new reports that they added — one of which was for a minor condition I have called misophonia. I clicked through to read the report and, sure enough, 23andMe says that my genetics make me more likely to have it.

    It never occurred to me that something like hating the sound of chewing would be a hereditary thing, but that’s apparently the case. Who knew!?!? This is something I deal with every day, which makes it the most visible and tangible connection to my biological parents. And that’s really cool. Less cool is that I’ve also passed misophonia on to my daughter. Family meals are few and far between with half the family not enjoying the sound of other people eating!

    (By the way, my misophonia is probably not as bad as it is for others. Generally speaking, if I’m also eating, I don’t mind the sound of other people eating. Generally speaking, the sounds that bother me most are crunchy sounds like the cracking of potato chips or crackers. It’s annoying but I know it could be worse.)

    Miscellany

    “Are you afraid?”

    April 24, 2017

    I made a big decision recently: I bought a 23andMe DNA kit and have submitted my saliva sample so I can learn more about myself — at least the stuff that DNA testing can tell.

    One of the things it can reveal is my proclivity to contract certain diseases and/or health conditions. This is a black box for me because I’m adopted. My whole life, whenever I see a doctor and they ask about my family medical history I have to say, “I don’t know.” I have no idea if my parents had any diseases or conditions that could’ve been passed on to me. For me, it’s really the only downside to being adopted — the not knowing.

    I posted the photo above on Twitter not long ago, and one of my followers asked, “Are you afraid?” It’s a legit question: Would YOU want to know if you have the potential to contract a serious or even terminal disease?

    I thought about it for a moment and tweeted back, “No.” I’m not afraid. I’m tired of the not knowing. I’m tired of shrugging my shoulders every time I see a doctor and they want to know about my medical history. I want to know. 23andMe won’t tell me all the answers; I may have to track down my biological parents for that, and I’m giving that some thought for the first time in my life.

    But in the meantime, I need as much information as possible. And I’m ready for 23andMe to tell me whatever it can. No fear. God is in control. Whatever will be, will be. And I’d rather know than not.

    Miscellany

    The Five Guys Diet

    June 17, 2013

    five-guys-diet

    I’ve been saying for a couple months now that I’m going to be Five Guys’ version of “Jared” — you know, the guy who lost weight by eating a lot of Subway sandwiches.

    Here’s why: Five out of the last six times that I’ve had Five Guys for lunch, I’ve lost weight when I got on the scale the next morning.

    Seriously!!!

    Let me explain how and why it works.

    The Five Guys Diet

    What I eat: This happens when I have Five Guys for lunch. I order a regular meal, which is typically a Little Cheeseburger with my favorite toppings, a Little Fries and a small drink if I’m eating at the restaurant. If I’m bringing the food home, I skip the drink and just have water at the house.

    What happens: A Little Cheeseburger at Five Guys isn’t very little, and the Little Fries turn into an enormous serving of fries because they always scoop an extra serving into the bag. It’s a lot of food and it fills me up for the rest of the day.

    I eat this at about noon or 1 pm and I literally don’t eat again the rest of the day. It’s that filling.

    Sometimes I work out in the evening, sometimes not. Either way, by skipping dinner I somehow end up being full while eating less than a full day’s worth of calories … and I lose weight.

    How much I lose: Some days I’ve lost as much as a full pound. Some days just .2 or .4 of a pound. But it’s still weight loss, no matter the amount.

    Requirement: You have to eat breakfast first. Read on for why….

    The One Time It Didn’t Work

    As I said, this has happened five of the past six times that I’ve had Five Guys. The one time it didn’t happen? Well, I didn’t exactly follow the above plan.

    I skipped breakfast that day and decided to try to make Five Guys my only meal of the whole day. Didn’t work. Since I didn’t have the breakfast calories in me, the Five Guys lunch didn’t fill me up. I got hungry and ended up having a late dinner (about 8 pm) and actually gained a pound that day.

    So the lesson is obvious: You gotta have breakfast.

    That’s it. The Five Guys Diet. If anyone from the restaurant chain happens on this and wants to get in touch, I’m easy to reach. 🙂

    Miscellany

    Accountability: Highly Underrated

    December 27, 2012

    fitbit-logoA couple years ago, I got in shape and lost 26 pounds in about 2.5 months.

    I’ve since put back on about 15 of those pounds.

    So, a month or so ago, I decided that I’d go back on the same plan after the new year. (Trying to lose weight in December is pointless. It’s a crazy month here with holidays, both kids’ birthdays, etc.)

    Part of that plan was to get a Fitbit to track my daily activity … or lack thereof. It had been recommended to me by friends like Todd and others. Plus, I have this unusual love of tracking things. Like, how many times I filled my car with gas in 2011. And another thing I’ve been tracking all of 2012 that I’ll post about soon.

    Anyhoo…

    I got a Fitbit Zip for Christmas and just set it up tonight. Easy-peasy. I connected it to the Lose It app, which I used in 2010 to track my food and exercise. (Like I said, I have a thing for tracking stuff.) I updated my current weight, set my weight goal, and did all the stuff to be ready to start the weight loss effort.

    One of the things Fitbit asks is for you to tell it how much water you’ve drank each day. Even though it’s 9:30 pm, just seeing that made me grab my water bottle and guzzle as much as I could.

    Subconsciously, I’m already wanting to eat and drink healthier because my activity is being tracked. I’ll get hungry late tonight like I always do, but I’m telling myself I won’t eat anything. Because if I do, I have to tell Fitbit and Lose It.

    Accountability is a strong motivator. And highly underrated.

    Miscellany

    Doctor’s Orders

    October 27, 2011

    Went to the doctor this morning for a checkup. I’m at that age, you know? The age when guys need to have a doctor and need to get all of our parts checked regularly because things start to break about now.

    Well, I’m generally in excellent shape … BUT … turns out that my cholesterol is a bit high, likely due to genetics. As you can see below, one of the new doctor’s recommendations is 1-2 glasses of alcohol per day. Hehehehehe.

    doctors-orders

    And I have to say … considering that I tend to have about five alcoholic drinks per year and usually only drink rum and Coke, this will not be an easy directive to follow.