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!!


  1. I just want to say...I love you! Thanks for the eye opening experience. I have to admit to being a huge chicken when it comes to "procedures" that my doctor orders. I was told to get a mammogram 3 years ago & still haven't done that. What an awful thing to admit to, I'm actually ashamed that I don't take better care fo myself. I need a friend who would go with me & hold my hand then maybe I'd have the guts to be brave like you have been. You are woman you should roar!! LOL

  2. I am so glad that the procedure went well and very happy that you are writing again. I compare myself with you because we were diagnosed at approximately the same time and have similar experiences. How were the lungs this time? Georgia

  3. Actually, you seem to be doing well. I was diagnosed at about the same as you were, so I follow your blog. You just don't write frequently enough! Georgia