this is the story of my last colonoscopy. June 3 2016. [I have another one coming up this Wednesday. insert crying like a baby face here.]
so, May 31 was my first official day in remission as there was no blood in my stool that morning. (blood is the last symptom to take a hike when I go back in to remission.)
then the eve of June 2 I am chugalugging 4 LITRES of liquid drugs aka poison toxic overload. (this is one kind of prep that is required before a colonoscopy, to clean oneself out) all the while wondering what it was doing to my recently healed, ever so delicate, intestinal lining….
the last three times I’ve gone in for a colonoscopy (this one was number 6 or 7) the nurses have problems getting my IV in and I end up blacking-out/fainting. [for those who haven’t experienced passing out, it’s not pleasant. your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen or blood so you lose consciousness. when you finally come-to you feel nauseous and sick. certainly not something I enjoy going through right before a colonoscopy.]
so here we are, colonoscopy day:
My nurse this time around, Nurse Jean, was a Godsend. I explained my situation with the IV and she was determined and assured me that this time around would be different. I trusted her as she was a nurse since forever, retired and was now back. she knew her stuff. and it’s important to know that I am not passing out because I’m afraid of needles lol… As you can see in the first pic below I am in great spirits having a jolly ole time. (my sweet mom by my side). after about 30 seconds of her doing her needle thing, I was convinced the IV was in and I actually even yelled out to everyone that Nurse Jean is my hero. ‘woo hoo, she got it in!!’
I was pretty much doing my happy dance in my mind and that’s when she said aloud that it WASN’T in fact in, and that she was having trouble. so I’m pretty sure subconsciously I was going in to anxiety mode. my mom and I started joking around to distract me from what the nurse was trying to do but then the feelings starting to come. I felt my head starting to feel weird and spinny but in slow-motion. it was a horrible. so that’s me coughing in the second picture. right before I told everyone that I was about to go sleepy. that I could feel it coming. So I was instructed to cough cause apparently that’s supposed to help. I felt myself struggling to stay conscious but yet at the same time I was wanting to black-out so that all the bad feelings would be gone.
I thought for sure the coughing worked, but my mom swears I ended up fainting. I was adamant that I did not, but then I saw the picture in the middle. LOL. soooo.. who really knows. kinda looks like I fainted. I think at that point maybe I was just resting my eyes.
but then the craziest shit happened after finally getting the IV in. the whole ordeal ended up putting me in to shock. it was one of the craziest feelings I’ve ever experienced… all of a sudden my hands, arms, legs and feet got all tingling and immediately began to blow up, like a balloon. I was so freaked out by the pressure building up that I guess I started panicking, trying to explain to nurse Jean what I was feeling. from my perspective she looked worried so that freaked me out and intensified everything. she just kept telling me it was my nerves but I wasn’t convinced. I ended up half calming down because I remembered I was in a hospital and if something terrible was happening I would probably be okay. within minutes it was time to wheel me in to the procedure room for the colonoscopy and then that’s when I got stabbed with a really bad colitis tummy ache.
all of that was a crazy amount of stress that I endured. stress. is. a. WEAPON. and it’s POWERFUL. the dangerous thing about stress is that if I were to have experienced the exact scenario in remission, I wouldn’t have got that tummy ache as an obvious sign of the damage the stress was doing, yet the physical damage to my body would have been the same. (the signs I can feel are usually only there when it’s too late. bam. in a flare) and that’s not just a colitis thing. that’s a stress thing. it just manifests its way differently in everyone.
when they wheeled me in to the procedure room I begged the anesthesiologist to drug me up quick so the feeling and pressure that was going on in my body would subside. but no dice. my gastroenterologist needed to ask me a bunch of questions before the procedure.
post colonoscopy, after I woke up, I had the urge to run to the washroom. pretty much to empty nothing but blood in to the toilet. so yes. I believe that the crap I had to drink the night before, plus the stress of the whole IV thing, and the probing around up there with the camera + biopsies, put me back in to the flare. (Nurse Jean promises me that the ‘IV team’ will be called in for my next colonoscopy and all the fainting shenanigans should hopefully never happen again)
My GI came to chat with me in the recovery room and told me that I was in an active flare. I was quite ticked by the news since 2 days leading up to my colonoscopy I had got myself back in to remission. and not without TONS of hard work and effort. and lots of help from VSL #3. and my bank account.
He explained to me that the drug that I’ve been on for 12 years (Asacol, which ‘apparently’ is the most ‘safetest’ IBD drug to be on) is no longer doing its job and that I need to go on a more powerful drug. an IMMUNOSUPPRESSANT drug. okay so hold on here.. the year before I almost made it a complete YEAR in remission. and the year before that I went in to two flares. and all the years before that I was in flares on and off all the time. so. according to MY calculations, I can’t justify switching to a more harmful drug. sorry doc but NOOOO THANK YOUUUUUUU. I told him I don’t feel comfortable going on a different kind of drug that will, one: only mask my colitis symptoms, and two: weaken my immune system for me to develop all other kinds of problems. He encouraged me to go for a specific kind of blood test that would see if my liver could handle this particular new drug and that we would talk about it again when I went for my follow up appointment. I agreed at that moment but I was pretty sure that this blood test would be pointless because I wasn’t going to change my mind.
I later told my chiropractor the story about the troubles I had with the IV and that my arms and legs ‘blew up’. she knew right away what I had experienced, nodded and said, yeah, that was ADRENALINE (!!) racing through you. CRAZIEST FEELING. I wish my mom would have had a video camera instead. ha ha.
so fast forward a year and a half and here we are today. needless to say I am feeling quite apprehensive about Wednesday because of the damn IV shenanigans. and what makes it even worse is with all the health cuts the WRHA made to the budget, apparently there is now NO IV team to come to my rescue. go figure.
so wish me luck. I will need it.