A couple of days before Hawaii, I noticed a change in my digestive schedule. I am pretty “normal;” however, a couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Doesn’t sound fun, huh?
Fun Fact: Ulcerative colitis is the result of an abnormal response by your body’s immune system. Normally, the cells and proteins that make up the immune system protect you from infection. In people with IBD, however, the immune system mistakes food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine for foreign or invading substances. When this happens, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation and ulcerations.
Anyways, I did not think much of the changes as I was about to go on vacation and typically, this happens when I’m on vacation. After I got back from Hawaii, my symptoms increased and before you know it, I was back at Kaiser getting my blood drawn and stool samples almost on a daily. Before you know it, I had to schedule another colonoscopy. Having a colonoscopy done at 24 and a sigmoidoscopy at 25 isn’t really “normal.” Well yesterday, I had my second colonoscopy.
If you don’t know about the preparation and procedure, well let me explain.
Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables an examiner (usually a gastroenterologist) to evaluate the inside of the colon (large intestine or large bowel). The colonoscope is a four foot long, flexible tube about the thickness of a finger with a camera and a source of light at its tip. The tip of the colonoscope is inserted into the anus and then is advanced slowly, under visual control, into the rectum and through the colon usually as far as the cecum, which is the first part of the colon. To help with movement and to see inside, air is pushed into the intestines to help inflate.
NOT. FUN. AT. ALL. But if you think that sounds horrible. The preperation is worse. My preparation started on Friday the 18th. I had to stop eating high fiber food. On Saturday I had my last solid meal at dinner time around 6pm. Sunday I was on a clear liquid diet starting when I woke up. I had to drink 8oz of clear liquid every hour until 4pm which is when I took a stool softener. Then at 6pm I started the laxatives. Basically I had to go to the restroom every 10 minutes. NOT. FUN. AT. ALL. The day of the procedure I had to take more laxatives at 7am. Basically I had to clear out my intestines and colon by 12:30, which was when I had to go to Kaiser.
So as you can see, the last couple of weeks have been quite unpleasant. I am now on a steroid medication that has some funky side effects (that include nausea, headaches, insomnia, etc.) and a medication to regulate my UC symptoms for the next 8 weeks. That’s 2 months of popping 13 pills a day. This sucks.