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How many have had a colonoscopy without anesthesia?

CessnaFlyer's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Aug 2009

I didn't have anesthesia when I had my colonoscopy, because I'm a control freak and don't like being knocked out, and I didn't even have anesthesia when I did an endoscopy a week later and so I got to watch it all on the monitor. I watched as the doctor found the first and second polyps and removed them. I was feeling pretty good about things as he turned the corner into the ascending section of the colon and there I got to see in real-time this huge, grayish, greenish, reddish tumor. I said something like: "That isn't good is it?" Without missing a beat he launched into something like an angry attack. He told me, shaking his head in disgust, things would have been different if I had listened to him over a year ago. He told me how it had to come out, and that it had all the signs of cancer, and that they had to rush me into a CT scan to see if the cancer had spread and repeated several more times that I should have had the colonoscopy a year ago when he had recommended it because it wouldn't have been so advanced. On and on he went, as if I was the dumbest person on earth for not having taken his advice over a year ago. I felt like taking that probe that was still up my butt and shoving it up his. Anyway, they operated a month later. I asked the surgeon if they could do it without anesthesia, and he just looked at me bewildered. It turned out that the tumor was the size of an orange, and had nearly punched through the wall and I was staged 2A. That was over three years ago. I've had many CT scans since then and several colonoscopies, all without anesthesia, and I'm clear of cancer, and hope to stay that way. At 71-years old I'm still in the game, still working as a freelance writer, still creating havoc everywhere a go (I'm one of those type A personalities and that's what we do) but I'm having a great time and I feel very lucky that I'm still on the planet.

Posts: 826
Joined: Jan 2010

Hello Cessna! You might remember I am one who doesn't do anasthesia either. I have had 3 colonoscopies without it. I have problems with Versed and it isn't necessary so why do it? I too like to see what is going on since I got royally screwed over on my 1st scope. Gastro got into a rush & didn't do a complete scope, next year I had emergency surgery to take out a tumor in ascending colon the size of a fist. I was very fortunate to be staged II A/B. I just hit my 3 year mark and my PET/CT was clear.Onc says that is all of the scans I will have unless something unforeseen comes along.

I am so glad that all is well with you.Take care and thanks for checking in and giving such encouragement.Enjoy making the havoc:)


CessnaFlyer's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Aug 2009

Good to hear from you again. My doc still wants me to have ct scans every 6-months. I think I will tell him since you don't have to then I don't have to either. :)

westie66's picture
Posts: 642
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi: Gosh I've never heard of anyone having a colonoscopy WITH anaesthesia! They are usually sedated and sometimes fall asleep. I wanted to see the monitor through the whole thing. Didn't hurt at all.

Posts: 172
Joined: Jul 2012

I wouldn't even consider a colonoscopy without major sedation. I had conscious sedation for an endoscopy and it was horrible! Like being paralyzed but fully aware of everything and feeling everything. I get way to anxious.

Posts: 74
Joined: Jun 2012

When I had my Colonoscopy on Tuesday they knocked me out good. I am a wuss and would not even consider getting it done without being in la la land.

johnnybegood's picture
Posts: 1122
Joined: Oct 2008

to hear from you and congrats on the clear scans.i dont know anyone who would go thru all that and still be awake.i could not do it.stop by more often and keep us updated.....Godbless....johnnybegood

Posts: 826
Joined: Jan 2010

Yes Cheryl, It is called conscious sedation but because it is an amnesiac drug few people remember being 'conscious'. Where I have my scopes they use Versed and Demerol. The folks who are sedated can still feel and I have heard many of shouts of "Oh!Oh!Oh!" Whereas when one is fully conscious it doesn't usually get to that point. You feel uncomfortable or in pain you are alert and can tell the gastro.

It is all a matter of choice.I got screwed over with a rush job on my first scope and it very well could have cost me my life. Like Cessna said, I choose to be in control. In most countries outside of the US it is rare for anyone getting a colonoscopy to be sedated like we are here.

CessnaFlyer's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Aug 2009

I just kind of like to know what's being shoved up my butt, and I get to hear the jokes the doc and nurses tell each other, and believe me they tell jokes. Also, the conscious sedation is still sedation and I want no part of knowing what they are doing, but not being able to talk or react. When I was 10 I had an operation involving ether and that was a horrible experience. I was semi-awake and heard the words "blankity, blankity, blankity repeated over and over again and I literally saw stars and it just went on and on and on forever and I couldn't get out of it. After that I didn't want any part of anything that would knock me out, or semi-knock me out.

ron50's picture
Posts: 1487
Joined: Nov 2001

many colonoscopies. I don't know why they don't just lay down tracks and park it up there somewhere. I always have the anaesthetic but it rarely works till I am on my way home. I was awake to see my original cancer and have been given a guided tour of my nether regions on a couple of occassions. The endoscopies I never remember. Cheers Ron.

Posts: 1154
Joined: Jun 2010

On your clear scans! I enjoyed my sedation,

Posts: 158
Joined: Jan 2012

My GI doc keeps his patients awake unless they request to be put to sleep. I actually like it that way. When I saw all of the polyps being clipped and the tumor samples being taken it made it all real. I knew exactly what I was fighting.

Joy1216's picture
Posts: 292
Joined: Mar 2006

I'm a wussy control freak. I can't stand pain so conscious sedation wins out over control. I know that my gastro doesn't have anesthesia with his (his brother died of colon cancer so he wants to see his own colonoscopies).

abrub's picture
Posts: 1626
Joined: Mar 2010

I was totally present for my second colonoscopy - got to see two of the anastomoses where my colorectal surgeon had sewn two pieces of my colon back together (the 3rd was in the ileum - out of range of the scope.) Fascinating and painless.

I had throat surgery about 10 years ago with local anesthesia and versed, and remembered the whole surgery, which was weird (but helpful, as I could tell them that the surgical notes were wrong - brought in NYS to correct my notes (and the anesthesiologist concurred with my transcript of events, stating that the notes were definitely wrong.) Makes you really wonder what goes on when you are under.

Then again, I have virtually no recall of my hysterectomy done under a spinal - just remember the word "appendix" being mentioned (that's when they found appendix cancer.) Must have used more drugs...

danker's picture
Posts: 944
Joined: Apr 2012

I;m glad you are still NED. My next colonoscopy will be in 2014. Hope they will let me go without any drugs. I can tolerate any discomfort, and would like to watch the results.

Posts: 126
Joined: Sep 2011

Only had sedation (versed and fentalyn?) but I do remember some things from it - dr told me about the mass in appendix but I didn't really think anything about it until after surgery to remove it when the surgeon told me it was malignant while I was coming out of anesthesia. I don't mind the sedation (don't have any problems coming out of it) but general anesthesia usually is bad for me (have trouble breathing, very nauseous (sp), etc...)But necesary, I guess, they don't like to do abdominal surgery without you under completely.

Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2012

I have had two colonoscopies this year, and one sigmoid. The first one I had some Demerol, no versed. Second colonoscopy and Sigmoid without any drugs.

I don't like the idea of Versed, I don't think it's nessecary or a good idea for me. I don't know what purpose the versed would serve for me. I am very reluctant to have versed, having heard some information about memory issues post versed. Versed might not cause any memory issues for me, but I would rather live without that chance.

I do not think a colonoscopy without drugs is for everyone. My doctor says I have the easiest colon to scope. Some people are going to have a colon that is not so cooperative, and that's life. There are some uncomfortable moments during a colonoscopy when air is introduced, but nothing that rates using drugs.

I also like being able to drive right after the procedure, not having to depend on friends as I am single. The last two procedures I have worked either six to eight hour day.

What works for me might not work for you, YMMV, all the usual disclaimers apply.


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