I’ve felt just about every emotion in the last 72 hours. If you aren’t comfortable reading things that might be considered “TMI,” then don’t continue reading this post. I apparently have no boundaries anymore.
Yesterday, I spent my morning at North Kansas City Hospital having an upper GI endoscopy and a colonoscopy. This was my 2nd colonoscopy since the age of 10 (with a guest appearance of a sigmoidoscopy at the age of 21.) The procedures themselves are easy and pretty quick – it’s prep that is really unpleasant. Back in the day it consisted of enemas, milk of magnesia and a clear liquid diet. Now it’s just 1 day of clear liquid diet and a special cleansing drink and laxatives. The goal is to liquify everything in your gut and push it all out. You will drink more water than you have probably ever drunk in your life. (You are required to drink 32 ounces after each 16 oz glass of prep liquid and 8oz of liquid every half hour you are awake. Yes, 16oz per hour. So if you are awake for 12 hours, you are supposed to consume 192 oz of clear liquid. And you will be awake – a lot. Forget about sleeping well or for long stretches. You’ll be very busy shuffling back and forth to your bathroom. At least my bathroom is part of my bedroom and it isn’t far to walk from bed. You’ll also have to get up around 2am or so to drink more of the prep just to ensure everything is cleaned out.)
Let’s talk about the prep solution for a minute. It is the most vile liquid I’ve ever consumed. Not because of what it does (it doesn’t cause the stomach cramps that are usually associated with a heavy laxative) but because of how it tastes and how you feel immediately after drinking it. This liquid tastes like extremely salty cough syrup. And instead of a couple teaspoons, you have to consume 16 oz at a time. Once you finish it, if you are like me, you will experience nausea and feel like vomiting. You’ll work on your deep breathing and keep sucking down your mandatory water (which will be somewhat of a relief as it helps get rid of the horrendous flavor of the prep solution.) Simply put, it’s disgusting and I started longing for the old days of enemas.
The time at the hospital was really pretty good. The staff in the GI lab was pleasant, personable, and helpful. The nurses were A+ and I can’t thank them enough. I tend to have a panic problem when it comes to being sedated. I don’t like to be out of control. Thankfully, yesterday my years of dealing with anxiety paid off and I was able to keep myself from boiling over. No panic attacks. No craziness. I got naked, poked, and prodded without making a scene.
When I woke up, I was so happy to be awake and done. Answers! I might have answers! I might finally know what causes my problems so I can figure out how what I need to do to keep them at bay. I was GIddy. When I woke up there were pictures of my insides and notes about the procedure. They took 2 biopsies of my small intestine. One for Celiac disease and one for Crohn’s disease. If I was less lazy, I probably would have scanned the pictures and posted them. That would really be TMI for some, but eh. The only hitch yesterday was that I didn’t get to talk to my doctor after the procedure. He had to leave and I woke up early. It was okay, because I had some information, my coveted pictures, and I could have water and food again. (though I oddly wasn’t that hungry – sure, I still wanted to eat all the things because I missed eating, but overall, I didn’t feel famished or sick from not eating.)
So, yesterday I spent the day feeling relieved that the procedures were done. Okay, so maybe I have Crohn’s which would not be awesome, but it would be a place to start in determining how to make myself feel better. I pushed for the Celiac test because of my symptoms and the family history. I also went gluten free for a couple weeks (and I went back a couple weeks before testing so don’t tsk tsk me) and I felt better.
Overall, mentally and emotionally I felt good yesterday. Physically, I was tired and weak and my gut hurt. I was also really bloated (I told you TMI.) Bloating is one of the worst feelings. I knew I should expect it because they pump air into you so they can see clearly. And I’m pretty sure I woke myself up by farting loudly in recovery. I figured the ick would pass and I’d feel okay today.
But I didn’t. I felt really tired. Really tired. And sad. I don’t know if it was partly latent effects of the anesthesia (depressants tend to screw up my neurotransmitters pretty effectively. One of the reasons I don’t drink a lot of alcohol anymore is because if I do, I get depressed for days after. I sometimes forget how this feels and will drink too much and spend the next week in a depressive fugue. Also, my guts hate booze. See also, liquifying the contents of my gut.) [this post is really long now. I never intended to make this post so long. I doubt anyone is still reading. Oh well. Unicorn.]
Okay, so today. Right, I feel crappy. I have weird pinching pains in my gut, I’m bloated, and I’m tired and sad. I’m trying to get through the day at work because I’ve already missed a day and half this week and I have very limited PTO. I can’t afford to take unpaid days because I spent all my savings when I quit my job and I took a huge pay cut when I switched jobs and I’m trying to get my budget back on track. (so, worrying about all that is helpful)
At some point in the late morning my doctor calls. Good! I can hear from the horses mouth. And he tells me both the endoscopy and the colonoscopy were normal. No polyps, nothing crazy. He did find some small ulcers and inflammation at the very end of my small intestine – the type of ulcers that are associated with Crohn’s – this is why he biosied this area. Only, there was so little damage that he doesn’t think that’s what is causing the pain. (I had 2 very strong episodes of pain with sulfury burps in March and early April. The pain was 7-9 on the scale. All the research I did said it was usually caused by fatty foods, an infection, or damaged small intestine from things like Celiac and Crohn’s.) Good news right? NO. It made me so unhappy. Really? So, I don’t have an answer? The only good thing I heard was that I can call on Monday for the Celiac result. I thought I’d have to wait 7-10 days, so at least that is going to be ready sooner.
Perhaps what was worst was when the doctor said it might be reflux or musculoskeletal pain. I’m telling you right now, it is not musculoskeletal. This pain and discomfort? It is GI related. Reflux? No. I’ve experienced reflux. I was fatter and I ate like crap. And I dealt with it on a daily basis. This is not reflux.
I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. I got off the phone and I wanted to burst into tears. I was NOWHERE – again. Meanwhile every time I eat my gut reacts. I can’t get comfortable. My stomach is not happy. I decided to eat mild soft foods for lunch. My stomach hurt. So I stopped caring and ate macaroons because I was irritated, tired, sad, and my gut was going to hurt anyway. FIVE. I ATE FIVE MACAROONS. Do you know how much roughage, sugar, and fat that is? And those are a few of the things that are terrible for GI disorders.
Why couldn’t I do a better job explaining? Why isn’t there a way to record feelings and let other people use their bodies to play them? I feel hopeless. What if the Celiac biopsy is negative? Then I’m really super duper nowhere. Square one. And still uncomfortable.
So, I’m still trying not to sit around and cry. I feel whiny. I hate whining. I hate complaining. But I’m so tired of feeling gross. As I sit here now, I’m bloated and my upper GI area feels tight and painy. I’m not looking forward to getting out of bed in the morning – but I will. I feel very alone.
But I did put my pictures on my fridge. So there’s that.