Friday, April 4, 2014

Colonoscopy - The Day Of

So guess what? I'm back already! When people said that the actual colonoscopy procedure itself is easy peasy, they weren't lying.

This morning, the last litre of prep I had to drink was God awful. I won't lie about that. It was a struggle drinking it all down (but, I was so proud of myself when I finished.) There was such satisfaction in checking off each little glass on the sheet I was provided, that indicated, yep, I'm a good girl and I drank all my medicine. :P

My mom drove me to the Endoscopy/Colonoscopy clinic. I was incredibly nervous, and my heart was beating a mile a minute. Having never been put to sleep, received an IV, or had a HUGE TUBE SHOVED UP MY BUM was kind of stressing me out.

A serious concern - thankfully, averted.

When I got to the clinic, all my nerves vanished. Everyone was incredibly kind and supportive, and I never felt confused or worried about anything. Once I filled out a form, I was guided into a room where I changed into the MOST fashionable blue hospital gown (they're all the rage, I swear) that had a back opening. I was allowed to keep on my bra and socks, but that's about it.

A really kind lady then escorted me to a bed, where she put in my IV. Slight pinch, but nothing horrible. My blood pressure was taken, I met with the man who was going to put me to sleep, and then I was wheeled into the operating room. I met my doctor, who was super friendly and answered all questions I had. Oxygen was placed into my nose, and the sleep medicine (it was Propofol - the same kind Michael Jackson used. Oy) slowly went into my arm. I felt a bit of a tingling/burning sensation and... that's the last thing I remember.

Next thing I know, a nurse is calling my name. I woke up in a little recovery section (I guess I was wheeled there?) and my nurse was all smiles - always a good sign! She told me that my colonoscopy went great. No polyps, no indication of Crohn's Disease, and NO CANCER! Phew. All my anxiety about that dreaded "C" word finally blew right out of me. Or was that gas? It might have been gas. You're REALLY gassy after that procedure :P

The doctor did biopsy several sections of my large and small intestine, just to be safe, and I'll receive those results in four weeks when I go in for a follow-up meeting with him. In the meantime, I've been diagnosed with having Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is easily managed by maintaining a healthy diet and not stressing out so much. I was also given a prescription for pro-biotic pills, just to maintain a good balance in my colon.

I'm surprised I didn't feel groggy or dizzy, or... really anything but gassy after that test. Some abdominal cramping, but nothing serious at all. In fact, I felt better rested than I have in a long while! I even joked that being put out was the best sleep I've had all week!

The moral of my story here is that, if you suspect you have an issue, don't be scared to have it checked out. Chances are, it's nothing as serious as you think. And if it is, the faster you catch it, the more effectively you can treat it. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Colonoscopy at 30 - the Prep

I’m not going to lie – it’s been a rough couple of months. 2014 hasn’t really been my friend. I’ve dealt with some strange health issues (culminating in many blood tests, stool samples, and even a trip to the ER.) So far, the doctors aren’t sure what’s wrong with me… which brings me to tomorrow. I’m scheduled for my first (and hopefully last for a long while) colonoscopy.

EEP! When my doctor recommended I undergo a colonoscopy, I almost pooped my pants (pun intended ;) Being so young (and not expecting to have one of these procedures until I am at LEAST 50) I began to dread it immediately. I even put it off a few weeks, thinking that all my weird intestinal symptoms would get better and maybe I wouldn’t have to go through with this after all.

Well, nope. Things haven’t gotten better, so off to the Endoscopy Clinic I’m going tomorrow morning.

Of course, I’m dreading being diagnosed with the dreaded “C” word. More than being scared over the procedure, I’m terrified of waking up after it’s all done and having a despondent looking doctor downheartedly tell me I have cancer and it’s spread and I’m doomed.  So, yeah. Worst case scenario. It doesn’t help that I’ve been consulting with Dr. Google and Mr. WebMD and they both agree my outlook is pretty bad.

“STOP READING STUFF ONLINE!” – all of my friends and family. I’m trying! But I’m a naturally curious person and I hate waiting and while I know -something- is wrong with me, it’s hard to wait and find out what exactly that is.


Fast forward to today. Prep day! Everyone has been telling me that the prep is worse than the actual procedure itself.  So far, I’ve taken the 3 bisacodyl tablets with water, and I’m waiting until 8pm to drink the 4 glasses of the Bipeglyte PEG/Electrolyte solution I purchased. Four hours before my appointment at 11am tomorrow morning, I’ll have to drink 4 more glasses of the stuff.

I definitely anticipate spending most of my night in the washroom (which, has been cleaned and set-up with a good book for me to read, and my laptop with the latest Downton Abbey episodes queued and waiting.) From what I’ve read online, it won’t be a fun experience and I’ll most likely have a very sore bum by tomorrow morning.

Oh yeah, and I’m hungry (did I mention that I can’t consume anything but clear fluids/broth, Jello-O, herbal teas, and hard candies today? Cuz I can’t.) Nothing red or purple, and definitely no alcohol. And here I was, really craving a nice cold Margarita. Darn! :P

Broth, Jell-O, Clear Gatorade, Hard Candies... there are the only things I can consume the day before!

But I’ll be okay. I can do this. I’ve even looked up #colonscopy on Twitter today and found several individuals going through the exact same thing I am! How amazing are hashtags? I mean, really. Connecting intestinally-challenged people with a simple search. Amazeballs.

I’ll edit this post as my night goes on. I’m sure I’ll want some kind of distraction with all the time I’ll be spending stuck on the toilet bowl (attractive thought, I know!)

PS – The reason I’m even writing this post in the first place, is so hopefully any one going through the same thing, or who are even hesitant about getting a colonoscopy in the first place, realize that it’s a normal thing and anyone (at any age) can (and should) have it done. I’m the biggest wuss out there. I’m terrified of needles and I’ve never been put to sleep or had surgery. But I’m doing this. I’m doing this because my mom had cancer, my grandpa had cancer, and heck, maybe I have cancer. I know from experience, that it’s better to find things early than to chicken out and deal with worse consequences later. If I can do this, you can do this. Trust me.

So… here we go!

edit: 9:30pm. I drank the entire litre of the prep liquid. Four glasses, every ten minutes. I struggled with it, and honestly almost threw up twice. On the package it's labelled as, "fruit flavoured." Well, if SALT WATER is all of a sudden an exotic fruit, then yeah, totally tastes like fruit. ;) I used a straw to get it down faster (placed at back of throat, so I didn't taste it as much) and each long sip was followed with a gulp of clear lemonade vitamin water.  It was bad, but I guess it could have been worse! I'll have to repeat this procedure at 6am. Now, time to camp out in the bathroom.

edit 2: 6am. I'm up to drink more of the dreaded prep. I actually was able to get a couple hours of sleep and guess what? I had a nightmare about drinking this stuff! Groan! One glass down, three to go. The cat keeps looking at me weird - probably wondering why I'm up drinking one minute, and running to the toilet the next. :P