Colonoscopy: A Pain In The Ass!

A little while ago I wrote a blog about how people comment on how well you look, even when you are feeling really poorly. The other day someone uttered those usually annoying words in my direction; “you look well”, however, this time it was true. They were uttered by another sufferer who knows not to use those words lightly.

I’ve put weight on, pretty much lost the bags from under my eyes and finally got some colour back to my face. I am feeling really good. The bathroom department is almost normal, or at least what I think normal should be. It’s a scary thought being normal. It’s left me with a sense of freedom I’ve not felt for years. As you may have noticed, my blog is not as regular as it used to be. I seemed to have reached point where I can push the Crohn’s Disease to the back of my mind.

My consultant thought it would be useful to have a good look inside and check everything was ok. My bloods were not showing any activity but these cannot always be relied on. A visual of my bowel would give hard evidence of all being well.

I’ve had a colonoscopy a few times in the past. This is where they insert a long camera, about the same thickness as your thumb, into
the rectum. It scopes further round than an endoscopy so it is recommended to have medication to help you relax. Air is blown in through the end of the camera, to expand the bowel and give a clear view.  This can cause a little discomfort and is occasionally painful. When this happens, you will be thankful for the drugs and how they help you forget where you are and what is happening. You remain conscious during the procedure and can view the monitor and see all that is happening. I find this very interesting and love asking questions. I don’t shut up and by the end of the procedure I know exactly what has been seen through the scope, the surgeon’s life story and what the nurse has been up to lately! The biggest problem with this is after the procedure, the drugs have made you forget most of what happened.

During the procedure the surgeon didn’t notice anything of significance. He said it all looked good and had also seen some of the area
that was operated on last year. It was odd seeing the staples that remain in there. Using special pincers on the end of the camera, some biopsies were taken from certain areas of the bowel. These areas were picked either because they are known flare up points in me or because they were a slightly different shade of red.  He told me there was no sign of the Disease but biopsies are taken as standard procedure, just to be sure.

I guess while I’m talking about endoscopes, I really should mention the preparation. This, for me, is the most unpleasant point. I’m so
used to doctors being behind me with rubber gloves on, that I don’t really mind the actually procedure (plus you get some really nice drugs, as I’ve already mentioned!). The preparation consists of 2 sachets of liquid. These are to be taken the evening before and the morning of your procedure. It’s a laxative that ensures the bowel is completely clear. I’m not sure of how it actually works, but it seems to take all the liquid your body and direct it round the digestive system and out the rear. It is very strong stuff and works pretty quickly. You are advised to be within a short run of a toilet. I would ensure you have some entertainment in the bathroom as you’ll be in there a lot.

A couple of weeks after the procedure I was invited back to my consultant. First he asked how I was feeling. To this I responded with the
truth. I was actually feeling really good. He said the visuals on my scope were good and my bloods are all looking stable, however, the biopsies showed some inflammation. So my Crohn’s is still active; I’m not in remission. This wasn’t the news I was expecting. My Mercaptopurine was reduced down to reflect the fact that I’m feeling well. I had hoped we could stop it completely. I must carry on with it though as the Disease is still present. I really thought after seeing a lovely bowel on the scope and some normality in the bowel movements department that I was in some kind of remission. Once again I have been thwarted by my nemesis: Mr Crohn’s.

On the plus side, I don’t need to return to the IBD clinic for 12 weeks. This is the longest amount of time between consultations in
years. So my consultant must be pretty confident that I’m in control.

My next battle will be my mind. My head has been very cloudy recently, with some major memory problems and concentration problems. I had a blood test to see if it is because of low B12 levels. The Op I had last year chopped out a small bit that dealt with absorbing B12. I get my results tomorrow…….. I kind of hope it is B12 as then at least there is a way of dealing with it and hopefully my mind will come back to me. I miss him

Anyway, that is for another blog.

If you’re having a scope, it really is nothing to get yourself worked up about. The doctors and nurses do it all day, every day, so you’ve got nothing to be shy about. Just chat to the nurse and hold his or her hand. It’s a real comfort.

Keep well

Ben x

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