8.06.2010

Diary of a Colonoscopy

So today was the big day! Colonoscopy: Accomplished.

First - a back story. I don't talk much in detail about my stomach issues because it has simply become a part of my life - few people know just how serious I have been struggling over the past few years. But - like the book says, everybody poops. Yep, that's right. Everybody does, including you and including me, but the difference is I don't do it especially well.

Are you uncomfortable yet?

Long story somewhat short - I have had stomach issues since I was about in the 7th grade. I was initially diagnosed with IBS which I believe triggered my troubles of anxiety. Hey - if you get the trots a lot you'd develop a sense of social anxiety as well. In college began my more severe issues and the 2 year long road to be diagnosed with Gallbladder Disease. Gallbladder removed, IBS perhaps improperly diagnosed, new life begins, problem solved!

Not so much.

Since then and especially within the past year and a half following my surgery my bathroom habits took a turn for the worse. Meaning I wear diapers (that I've never had to use, but ease my anxiety) on trips any longer than 1 hour, I will drive the long way home because of fast food restaurants and 7-11s to stop at vs. a long stretch of freeway with no bathroom. I don't leave the house often and stay home from a lot of fun activities because of bathroom options - for example, I no longer travel into D.C. because of the anxiety of being on the metro without a bathroom. When it hits - it hits. I have little reaction time. A 10 minute trip to Wegmans may include 2 bathroom stops along the way - whether I ate a cracker for breakfast, hashbrowns with bacon and eggs or a piece of fruit. No known triggers and sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.

*Waves* Still there? Remember - everybody poops. Just be glad this isn't your journal entry and it will be less painful to read.

So today I bit the bullet and got a colonoscopy. It's been a long time coming and it can rule out a lot of things. The road to the colonoscopy was a greater ordeal than the colonoscopy itself. With insurance changes on August 1st it became quite the nightmare. I had the insurance company, the doctors office and Adam's employer all telling me different things. The entire day prior to the procedure was a back and forth of "I'm not going to have it" "I'm going to have it" "We can't afford it" "I can't live until I figure out what's wrong". Back and forth. Not only that, but you have to "prep" (<--- colonoscopy lingo for the nasty drink) by 6PM and I was still going back and forth and trying to straighten out our insurance by 5:35.

I find out the details and get everything squared away when I attempt to begin my prep. Only to find out that the pharmacist never gave it to me and my bundle of prescriptions I picked up. Instead what I thought to be my laxative was instead high cholesterol (which I don't have) medicine that cost me a $50 co-pay that I didn't know I was being prescribed or being given at the pharmacy. In my ignorance I just assumed it was my laxative. I found they had forgotten to give me me the laxative and then they put it back when they thought I didn't need it.

GREAT.

After making a beeline to Target (in the middle of an incredibly severe thunderstorm) to pick up the prep drink, or "MoviPrep", so begins my night of hell.

Yes. I said hell.

Imagine being told you have to stomach 2 liters of warm, Atlantic ocean salt water. Warm, salty, supposedly lemon flavored water. The prep is 32 ounces and you have to drink to 4 lines every 15 minutes - 8 ounces each time. TWICE.

I struggled.

My gag reflexes aren't that great because of the pro at vomitting I became before my gallbladder was removed and a few months of morning sickness, so getting it down was hard. Keep in mind that in addition to this prep, you cannot have any solid foods 24 hours before your procedure and the liquid you CAN have has to be clear. Empty stomach, warm salt water, bad gag reflexes...

I made it through 26 ounces before I give up and poured the rest of it down the drain. That will just be between us. You'd think "rejoice! you made it!" But you heard me say that you have to drink 2 liters right? 64 ounces. I had only finished half the battle. Within two hours I had to start this all over again.

Alright, for the two of you still reading this novel, let us continue.

Again, I couldn't finish the entire prep. I couldn't finish the last 8 ounces but luckily it appeared as if I was making the progress I needed to be.

Now, when people gripe and get all uncomfortable about the idea and discussion of a colonscopy (like those who gave up on this entry in the first paragraph) I always thought it was because of the night of bathroom trips they were in for. I didn't bat an eyelash when I was told I would need a colonoscopy because living in the bathroom was nothing out of the ordinary for me.

I was wrong.

So. So. Wrong.

The prep was worse than childbirth. I would have much preferred to give birth again than drink this drink and I am a strong, strong person.

At the end of the day and the ordeal the colonoscopy was a breeze. You're knocked out for the embarrassing part, it doesn't hurt, and it's over in about 20 minutes. Plus, you get cookies and Ginger Ale afterwards. Cookies - FOOD!

I don't really know anything now, except that nothing appeared out of the ordinary upon initial viewing. A biopsy may review more, as well as the 8 containers waiting for "specimens". I was disappointed - yes, really - when my doctor said that everything looked good. So badly I want something to be wrong. Something to be wrong so I know how to treat it.

I am tired of being confined to my house because the anxiety of going out is so strong. Not visiting my brothers and their families because of the long car rides and confinement to a car. I can't have more children until I sort this out because it is already a struggle to give Autumn the attention she needs and the life experiences I want to give her.

I've never asked "Why me?" - the only question I want answered is "How do I fix it?"

Hopefully after today I'll soon find out how. I'll keep you posted.

And remember - everybody poops.

8 comments:

  1. I love that you have no fear in writing about this. It is the stuff that other people may have problems with but are too embarrassed to know about. I wish you luck in finding out what is wrong, and if I hear anything while working at the hospital I will let you know.

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  2. I'm glad the test is done! I hope that they find something! I totally understand the feeling of 'please let them find something wrong' because I went through that too.
    Hang in there! I miss you and all the girls night peeps!

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  3. Good luck! I hope they find something you can get fixed.

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  4. Hey kelly...I'm 32 and had a colonoscopy 3 weeks ago. I've thought about posting my story, but thought that maybe it's something to keep to myself. But maybe I will now after reading yours!

    I haven't had problems as long as you...I've had probs (blood in stool) for about a year.

    Long story short: the cleanse was the worst part, propofol is a hell of a drug, and luckily (?) I only have internal hemmoroids. Nice. Doc says eat more fiber. See you when you're 50.

    But here is the deal...since the procedure...I am not right. My tummy hurts all the time now, and I can't poop. aaaagh!

    Anyhoo..Hope they find out what is wrong! Keep us posted!

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  5. How long will it be before you know the full results? It sounds wrong for me to say I hope they find something, but I really do. It's time for some answers, baby! =)

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  6. Thanks all! There isn't much that can make me blush and I was happy to share my story because it's a serious, widespread condition. Just nobody talks about it! =)

    I should hopefully get the results by the beginning of next week and the specimen samples by the end of next week.

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  7. Thanks for sharing! Believe me when I say you aren't the only one. I have been dealing with tummy problems for almost 5 years now. Unfortunately for me, my colonoscopy showed nothing abnormal. Even in the 5 biopsies that were taken. I dont travel without immodium, ever. I completely understand the whole bathroom panic too. I am on a ever searching quest. One day I hope to fix my problem too. :) Good luck to you!

    Jaclyn

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  8. i know you posted this a while back but i just now found you blog . First off bravo for posting this so many people are to embarrassed, but for me its comforting to hear your story cause i can relate . I am 28 years old , but i was 19 when i had my first colonoscopy , and like you i have like a zero gag reflex .. to the point that they have tried two more colonoscopies on me, no luck. nut it turns out after many many more tests i have colonic inertia and IBs-c. i guess im telling you this now because you are not alone .. and i wanted to say thanks for putting your story out there and i hope you have found some relief.

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