Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me ...

I spent my 43rd birthday getting 'scoped from both ends, an experience I'm hoping I won't have to repeat for quite awhile.

The most exciting part of the experience was discovering that my gastroenterologist's office has changed its preferred sedation from Versed and Fentanyl to Propofol.

Yep, I had the same drug for sedation that helped kill Michael Jackson. But unlike the King of Pop, I had a nurse-anesthesiologist with a stethoscope on my throat, monitoring my breathing the entire time, as well as a heart monitor and oxygen saturation monitor.

My major disappointment is that my doctor was unable to locate the source of bleeding in my colon. That's not entirely unusual, since it's been a month since the bleeding stopped and mucosal linings tend to heal quickly. But it's disappointing. He did find a single, 7mm polyp, which he removed and will have tested.

I had to laugh when he told me afterwards that it was very unusual for someone my age to have any polyps. Because, of course, the only people having colonoscopies in their early 40s are people who have some symptoms prompting the 'scopes. So how would doctors know that it's unusual to have any polyps before the screenings usually start at age 50? I mean, they know colon cancer is unusual before age 50, but it's not like anyone knows what's going on in the guts of a typical healthy 20-, 30- or 40-year-old because they don't get to look at them.

I think my GI doc was more surprised to find some suspicious redness in the bottom of my stomach. The medical description is "gastric mucosal abnormality characterized by erythema in the pylorus." In English, that just means that the tissue looks red and irritated and possibly inflamed.

In hindsight, I suspect that's somehow related to the scar tissue I have had from a series of peptic ulcers in 2000-04. But I didn't think to ask if it was, and he didn't mention my scar tissue. The photo of that part of my stomach was clearly irritated enough that when he flashed the page of photos, I immediately pointed to it and asked what was wrong with it. I'm hoping it's not a sign of a developing ulcer because my stomach (the actual organ, not my abdomen) has been acting up lately.

The doctor told me he also took a number of biopsies from various places in my esophagus, stomach, duodenum, colon and ileum because, he says, sometimes when an autoimmune disease is involved, the tissue can look fine but still be affected.

Miscellaneous details that may or may not be of interest (and some of which is undoubtedly TMI):
  • No one warned me that toward the end of my bowel prep that it would feel like I was peeing out my butt. Very weird sensation!
  • I didn't take all of the bowel prep stuff, but got completely cleaned out anyway. I drank about 40 of the 64 ounces I was supposed to take, and probably could have taken less.
  • A friend, Jeanne of Chronic Healing, had recommended that I mix the huge dose of MiraLax with the blue Gatorade because it's the least likely to cause nausea. When she forgot to mention was that the Gatorade would come through my body with the color intact. When combined with urine in the toilet, it was a lovely shade of teal.
  • The weirdest thing that happened -- even weirder than looking into a teal toilet bowl -- was when I discovered my morning allergy pill floating in the toilet, having gone through me unabsorbed.
  • Cottonelle flushable wet wipes are a godsend.
  • Propofol left me way less loopy after the procedure than the Versed and Fentanyl used to. But I still came home and took a nap for most of the afternoon and early evening.
I should have the biopsy results next week.


Q said...

I'm hoping today can be your true happy birthday and that you have a day full of pleasant surprises not surprises like runny butt water as I like to call it. I hope the tests bring some answers and congrats on no appts for Feb!

Birthday hugs!!!

Jeanne said...


1) I'm glad you got the colonoscopy out of the way.

2) I'm sorry it took place on your birthday and that you didn't get any obvious answers. I know that can be frustrating. You're right when you point out that they wouldn't be as familiar with the colons of younger people. (I'm 41 and I've had 4 colonoscopies).

3) I'm glad you didn't get any "worst case scenario" type findings, though.

4) I'm sorry you had a polyp but I'm glad they got it out. Hope you get the all clear when the biopsy results come back.

5) Maybe it would be worth calling and asking about the redness (stomach) to ask if it is thought to be related to the past ulcers or not?

6) To clarify, I would never "recommend" a particular type of bowel prep because that's between a patient and his/her doctor. But, yes, I did mention my experience with Miralax/blue Gatorade that my doc recommended for me.

7) Thanks for the linkback. The post about my last colonoscopy is:

I don't normally leave linky blog comments (for fear of looking spammy) but didn't think you'd mind me leaving the specific colonoscopy post link (which links yet again to my blue Gatorade post... another post I did on colonoscopies).

8) What the heck? The blue color didn't show up for me later! I didn't warn you because that didn't happen to me! So it was just the urine that came out that color? That's odd.


Aviva said...

Thanks, Q! I like the phrase "runny butt water." I'm going to have to remember that!

I thought of you today when I had my MRI & MRA. Hope yours went well. I was very grateful for the valium my PCP gave me. I swear that tube gets smaller every single time I have an MRI.(Although I wondered if it seemed extra small because it was a 3T? Doesn't seem like it should matter ... but maybe it does?)

Aviva said...

Hey Jeanne!

Thanks for all the comments!

Re #5: I figure I'll hear from them next week when they get the biopsy results, and that's probably soon enough to ask more questions. I'll also have a folo-up visit with the GI doc, so if I don't get my questions answered over the phone (his assistant is possibly the least helpful MA I've ever met!), I can get them answered then.

#6) Oh, I'm sorry if it seemed like I'd credited you with recommending the entire bowel prep thing. My doctor prescribed the Miralax and suggested it be taken with Gatorade. You were just the one to recommend choosing the blue Gatorade. :-) (Did I mention earlier that I was perplexed at the grocery store because they had TWO different shades of blue Gatorade? :-) I guess at this point it doesn't matter if I got the "right" one, because I managed to get most of it down without throwing anything up!)

8) That's funny! When the nurse asked what the last few trips to the bathroom looked like, and I told her they were clear but blue/teal (depending on whether I peed or not :-), she laughed and said that was great -- it meant there was absolutely nothing left in my bowels. (If I just peed, it was a normal, very pale yellow. It was the liquid coming out from my bowels that was colored.) I had the impression that was a common result. I guess I'll have to ask the doctor about it next time I see him! :-)

And yes, I absolutely appreciate you leaving the colonoscopy link in my comments. :-) I delete them from total strangers who don't have anything to actually contribute, but from someone being helpful? Totally encouraged, as far as I'm concerned!