Colonoscopies can make or break your day. Today, I had my fifth one since 2007, and fortunately, it made my day. I have yet to see the pictures taken during it, but my gastroenterologist used the following phrase: “It looks dramatically better.” I knew that my colon had to look better compared to my last colonoscopy in December, but I wondered to what extent. I had a period of time – my last days in the hospital – when stools were semi-formed, there was little to no blood, and I only used the bathroom two or three times a day, but I have seen some backsliding since them, as I’ve tapered on Flagyl (now taking once every three days to keep c. diff at bay) and Prednisone (now at 9mg). I started taking Asacol five days ago to help out and also switched up my herbs a bit, and that has helped, although it didn’t get me back to my peak.
Despite being dramatically better, my colon is still not normal. Besides inflammation, there are some pseudo-polyps, which are growths that won’t become cancerous, but they cause parts of my colon to be narrower. There was also some inflammation in my small intestine, suggesting that I could have Crohn’s, but my doctor said that it could be just some “backwash” of the inflammation in my colon. He took a biopsy there (although the results might not be definitive), as well as in some places in my colon.
I feel very depleted after my colonoscopy yesterday, so I rescheduled my appointment today with my herbalist, and I’m just resting with a heating pad on my stomach, drinking Pedialytes, water, and pomegranate juice, and eating a small amount of food, due to my tiny appetite. I slept 13 hours last night but still don’t feel myself yet. My stomach is occasionally uncomfortable, and my stools are watery and bloody. This is common when a colonoscopy is done during a flare. It will probably take several days to get back to “normal.”
I’m relieved at the results of the colonoscopy, though, so it’s worth it.
Two days after writing this post, I was admitted to the hospital. I had a fever the day after the colonoscopy and my gastroenterologist (my new one at MGH…did I mention I’ve transferred from Children’s Hospital to there?) told me to increase the Flagyl and to start Ciprofloxicin (another antibiotic). He thought that an infection may have caused my fever and worsening symptoms. I started those, but since I didn’t have an appetite, the Flagyl made me nauseous, which it’s known for when taken on an empty stomach, and I was also feeling extremely dehydrated, was using the bathroom often, and was feeling pain in my colon. The fever went away but these did not. The pain seemed to increase a bit. So three days after my colonoscopy, knowing I wasn’t going to be able to hydrate myself enough since I was laying down all the time, I went to the hospital for fluids. After the inevitable hours in the ER, where they gave me fluids and an x-ray, I was admitted.
During my stay, I think all of my veins were used for IV fluids and antibiotics due to my small veins that never hold an IV for long. They even needed me to have three different IV’s in at once, although I’m not sure if that was truly necessary, but I wasn’t in the state of mind to fight it at first. They continued the Flagyl and Cipro, gave me a higher dose of Prednisone, and added Vancomycin, another antibiotic. I had blood and stool tests taken and for the first time got a CAT-scan. The x-ray in the ER was to check for perforation of the lining of my colon, which was negative, and the CAT-scan was to check for a microscopic perforation, as well as an infection. In the next fews days of my stay, everything came back negative, but I started to feel better, so we switched my medications to oral and I was able to leave after four nights there.
I think that the reason I felt so horrible after the colonoscopy was not due to an infection that may not have been caught or a coincidental flare, but just because my colon was aggravated by the clean-out and the scope. My colon may be in a dramatically better state, but it is still sensitive and healing. I think the reason I started to feel better in the hospital was probably more just the hydration and the passing of time rather than the increased Prednisone and antibiotics, although I won’t rule those out as helping.
I was discharged on Leap Day, and a million other milestone events happened that day too, all of which were bittersweet I would say. I’m home now and am off of two of the three antibiotics; I called my doctor a couple days ago asking if I could decrease any of them since I tested negative for everything, and he just had me stay on the Vanco. This was wonderful news, plus it’s the easiest one to swallow, and I’ve been doing so much better. Note: I would still be on all three antibiotics if I hadn’t called my doctor. I have an appointment coming up with him, but why wait until then? Even being on just that one, I’m feeling fine, I’m using the bathroom just once or twice a day, I’m not seeing blood, and I have my appetite back.
Next post will be the one I promised two posts back, my first “My Experience With…” post, and it will summarize all that I’ve learned from my past colonoscopies. Get excited!