Thursday, December 29, 2011

Colonosco - ME!

Well Folks. I did it! I've had my first Colonoscopy..........

And I must say it wasn't that bad. I think the fear of the unknown is the scary part - but (pun intended) now that I've done it, there is nothing to be afraid of. Promise!!

The prep - although not fun, really not bad. You and your toilet are BFFs during this pre-op prep and you and your bathroom get to send some quality time together. Your bathroom does not feel neglected at all during the prep.

I chose the Dulcolax tablets and Phospho Soda/ Mag Citrate prep. It was not that bad and after reading the stories from hell of the "Go-Lightly" (sounds like that guy had a sick sense of humor - lol) I said bring it !I won't bore you with the full instruction on the prep, but suffice it to say,there is a day of clear liquids, the bowel cleanse and you drink a LOT of water and Gatorade to keep hydrated.

If I can make a few suggestions - and of course I'm trowing my TMI disclaimer out there now, it would behoove you to get the moist flushable towelettes, some good magazines, Vaseline and maybe even a few nice scented candles because you will be spending a lot of time in the potty room for the two days before the prep.

The day of the procedure, you are NPO - which means nothing by mouth or you are fasting. Small sips of water are okay but that's it. I found myself feeling really nervous and anxious the day of. I think mostly of silly things like: "will I toot during the procedure?", "will I say some unspoken subconcious thought or desire" "will I poopy on the table" "Will my butt look fat" - I mean really..... I guess I was worried about the drugs too, "Will I lose control" "feel too high" etc.. but surprisingly I was calm about the procedure itself. But once I got there - my anxiety decreased.

You must bring someone with you to drive post-op, so my huddy was my designated driver and colo buddy and for moral support. The medication they gives you actually prevents you from driving for 24hrs post procedure which I didn't know - so as an FYI, if you make plans for the day after - you cannot drive. But for the record, you are A-OK fine TO make plans the next day.

The anxiety seemed to subside a bit (not all together) once I was in the pre-op room, that or I realized I couldn't run at this point - cuz there were a few moments in the wait room where I was going to go rogue on my colo and call it a day! But once inside my vitals were good (meaning my pulse was not 220 and that of a race horse) and I felt more succumbed to the process.

They take vitals, start an IV, do the standard pre-op questions with you and then you wait. My MD came in to say hi and I told him I was terrified at which time he told me a "Butt" joke I can't remember and assured me I would be okay and then they wheel you in to "the Room".

I must say the hanging hoses were a bit daunting and looked rather LARGE from where I was laying, but everyone was so nice. They kind of show you the TV and explain the procedure, and then give you some pain meds in the IV and the fun begins. After the pain melds they introduce Versed which is an amnesiac so to speak, so it is anesthesia that allows you to not remember the procedure or any pain associated with it. Good stuff - but kinda freaky though because you really "Can't" remember! I can recall bits and pieces of talking and looking at the screen, and from what I do recall - there was no pain. In my minds eye I can see my bright and shiny colon on the screen and the MD saying something, but for the life of me I can't really remember and have no idea what I was seeing or what was being said.. Then it's just kind of "Over" and you are being wheeled into your post op recovery room.

The funny story about that is, I musta wanted to prove something because as I was being wheeled out, my husband said I was saying rather loudly "I am women - Hear me roar", which I think is pretty damn funny. I don't remember the MD talking to me after the procedure, but my husband assures me he did. I don't remember getting wheeled out to the car pick up, but my husband said I was having a gay old time and the nurse wheeling me out was my new BFF and I was telling her my life story. Nice. Also pretty funny and per my husband I asked the same question about 5 times on the way home. Gotta love Versed! lol

What I do remember is my couch, getting Burger King because I was starving and loving every last bite, watching a bit of TV and zonking out. There was NO post op pain. Some mild post op gas but no residual anything from the prep or procedure.... but all the pre-op fasting, liquid diet, bowel cleanse weight loss was put back on with that Burger King! Lol - What I do remember was asking the nurse if I could eat and her saying "Sure - you got an empty colon, you gotta fill that bad boy back up!" Also funny!'

So for all of you who are afraid - please let me assure you it is not that bad at all AND it can save your life, so get one so you don't possibly "die from embarrassment" - it's okay. I promise!!

Okay so for the moral of this story, the climax, the conclusion, the ending - The Results....drum roll!

All's good in my colon! NO SCLERODERMA in my colon!! Amen!

What I do have are Wide Mouth diverticuli

So although I do not have any Scleroderma in my colon (so no sclero scarring or hardening has taken place) the Wide Mouth Diverticuli themselves ARE a part of Scleroderma. They are a symptom and progression of the disease, but not the Scleroderma itself per se' - if that makes sense.

But as long as the scarring hasn't hit my colon yet, then I consider myself very lucky and feel very happy with the outcome and the findings. I guess in a way the Sclero "has" hit my colon - but not in the bad way I was scared about. And before going in, I knew that the Wide Mouth Divertic were a part or sclero and were possible what I have been feeling.

So WHAT ARE Wide Mouth Diverticuli?

Well the colon is made up of connective tissue and as you know, Scleroderma is a "Connective Tissue" Disease - which is why the GI tract and Colon are affected greatly. The strength, health and peristalsis of the colon wall is affected by the connective tissue - which is why we do NOT want scaring in our colon. The submucossa of the colon is composed of collagen - which is also affected by Scleroderma - so the Big S can hit us pretty much anywhere in our colon and GI tract.

Wide Mouth Diveticula are just that - wide pouches (or mouths) within the Colon, along the colon wall. The pouches can trap food or in some cases become infected and cause diverticulitis, which I am sure everyone has heard of. If the food gets trapped in these large pouches - the colon will try to do its job and get the food out, which in turn causes "cramping and pain" while the colon tries to churn or push the food out. I think this is what I have been feeling when I write about my "Koo Koo Clock" GI symptoms. I get so crampy and in so much pain during certain bowel movements that I must turn right around and throw up...after the movement is over and I rest for a bit - the episode is over and I can go about my day, but during is a big Suck Fest, It hurts and it's no fun - But now that pain has a name and it's Wide Mouth Diverticuli (makes me giggle every time). If you haven't read my blog about my GI symptoms and Koo Koo clocking - then please do. A lot more detail (and TMI) but very descriptive if you or a loved one has those symptoms.

Why and How do the Wide Pouches develop?

The main function of the large bowel is to reabsorb water and salts that have been secreted by the rest of the gut. This helps the formation of stools and helps to move the waste along. In scleroderma, there is, as is the case with the rest of the gut, weakening of the gut muscles and impaired motility. This can lead to constipation. And at times, alternating diarrhea - which weakens the bowel wall and can cause these pouches. Wide Mouth pouches are related to Scleroderma (whereas other diverticula are not large mouth and not Sclero related)

So what do I do about it? Well I continue to eat right. Exercise. Eat High Fiber. Drink 64oz of water a day with my Gatorade and live my life!! That's it. There is nothing you can do really - once you have them, they are there. I will just keep an eye out for Left Lower Quadrant pain, fever, and symptoms of Diverticulitis and I will be just fine. 

As a side note and rather ironic I think - previous to my colonoscopy, I HAD diverticulitis - and it was not fun. If you read my blog and/or know me, you know I am not a big pain med person, but boy did I become one with the diverticulitis. Once it is over and you let your gut rest, you are just fine. Its about 3 days of clear or soft liquid diet, tons of water and bed rest to let your gut rest... pretty much your "Gut" is on bed rest - you are just the vessel! lol...

So all in all - My Colonoscopy was fine. I am great. And I don't have to do that for another 10 years!!

Happy Holidays and where did the time go........................

So all I can say it WOW does time go by fast!!

I can't believe my last post was in November. Yikes!!

When the Holidays hit, it just seems like life goes by in a whirl-wind. Like the Tasmanian Devil with bows on!!  One minute its Halloween and the next day there are Christmas decorations in Walmart.

That is pretty much what happened. Albeit, crazy fast but fun. I LOVE the holidays. That is my time. Those are my people!! If there is an event or festival to be had - I am there with bells on (pun intended). I'm not wearing the Christmas Sweater Vest just yet - but give me 15 yrs and I'm your girl. I love everything about the holidays, hustle bustle included!!

Although I must say wrapping presents this year was a hoot!! Tape and Sclero hands don't mix. It was pretty funny. So I just did the bows!! lol

Ah...So where did I leave off. Oh yes - an update: I did discontinue the Effexor and I must say I feel 180% better OFF that medication than I did when I was on it. It was not a fun ride (Crazy Train) getting off the stuff but I am glad I did.

Halloween was a blast. We did the Zombie walk which was fun. I found my inner-Zombie!! Good times were had by all. Halloween itself wasn't too cold, which meant no Raynauds and not raynaud pain which is always a good thing.

November was a blur...Like I said above - one day its Halloween and the next your a "in it to win it" for the holidays... We had Thanksgiving, Band Concerts for my son, and the beginning of all the Holiday Festivals around Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas. November seemed to go off without a hitch! I did splurge on myself for Black Friday (or was it Cyber Monday?) and got myself a Lap Top, of which I am typing on now! I am finally a grown up with my own lap top!

Which leads us to December... December has been great. I mean as far as the Big S, of course the cold weather brings along its own challenges. But no real Flare ups in December thus far and I must say I am not complaining! Give me an "Amen" to that!

This December, literally every weekend there was an event having to do with Christmas, I was there. We went to Natchitoches for their Parade and Fire Works Festival which was (if I can bring this back for a minute) was "The Bomb" (okay we can put it back now). They call it the "Christmas City" which pretty much sums it up. Super cute - if you could put it in your pocket you would. We had a great time.

Then we did Marshall, Texas which is all lit up and their town square is just cute as a button belongs on the top of a cake, it's so sweet!! I'm thinking you could probably see Marshall from space there are so many lights there - which to me, just makes it all the more enchanting! It was one of my favorite Christmas memories this year!

We did Lights, Concerts, Carols, Movies, Christmas band concerts for my son at the Mall and at The Boardwalk - It was magical and amazing (to me) and I loved the whole season, but nothing came close to having my oldest son, Timothy, come out for Christmas. That was the icing on my Stacie Cake. I got to hug and cuddle my two kiddo's and beyond that - nothing else really mattered too much!!

Which brings us to today - The 29th of December. What does this Thursday bring to my table. Well I was battling some dizziness, light headed, stiff neck, sore throat, HA, and fullness since about Christmas Eve - which was kind of a bummer. I shoulda' known trouble was-a-brewin' when I got that Quasimodo cold sore that tried to take over my face, but alas - my body was letting me know it was time to put the Santa Hat away and rest the old Sclero body. So today I marched my booty to the ol' Family Practice doc and got me the good stuff. I got a Rocephen (antibiotic) shot and a Steroid Shot and I must say - Bring it! Because I am feeling a little better already. I also got the proverbial standby Z-Pack, some steroid nose spray and a Medrol Dose pack to help scare this Upper Respiratory Sinus infection away. I love the docs who go old school and break out the syringe!! It helps bring relief so much sooner. So today I continue to just take it easy. Update my blog on my big comfy ginormous couch with my son Tosh (who Santa also brought a Lap Top) and enjoy this Christmas Break from school with my kiddo. I am cocooning now and trying to just enjoy every "post-Christmas" minute until New Years!

The only thing that saddens me about the Christmas Season is how abruptly it comes to an end. Like a screeching hault. Midnight - BAM no more Christmas music, no more Christmas movies, the commercials change, the stores change and it's all about returns and post Christmas sales. It makes me sad and my heart feels a bit empty after the build up. I'd like to ease out of Christmas a little bit more.... kind of gently pass through it to New Years and enjoy what its all really about. It seems the "12 Days of Christmas" have been forgotten or people seem to think its the 12 days before Christmas and not after - so everything just goes back to status quo

I hope the Christmas Season (Holiday Season) was beautiful and amazing for all of you as well. It's a magical time.

Next Stop: New Years!! All Aboard!.....................