Before starting my colonoscopy prep my digestive tract was already in pretty bad shape, but I didn’t really pay too much attention. Why? Because I was already on the fast track to getting it figured out. The procedure was SUPPOSED to go off without a hitch and i was SUPPOSED to be getting back test results right about now. So whether or not my up till then somewhat manageable symptoms had gotten worse, it didn’t really matter, I would have been put through the same prep, same test and been stuck waiting for the same lab results.
Now however with the scope a huge failure and the hospital taking their sweet ass time calling me back with a new date and my ability to digest…well… anything coming to a screeching halt along with more abdominal pain and tenderness than usual, I’m ready to be a little worried. It might also be time to worry the GP, who up till this point has let the Gastro guy handle everything gut related and himself worry about my joint/muscle/nerve pain management for the most part. No offence to him, but it’s not working out very well and extremity pain isn’t going to be what puts me 6 feet under.
At this point if you’re uncomfortable reading about any details about what has been expelled from my derriere… I’d turn back if I were you. You’ve been warned.
I’ve suffered from IBS for years now and just like with my lupus related joint and nerve pain, it comes and goes in flares. There were times when I would be almost symptom free, especially if I ‘behaved’. Which basically meant eating on the healthier side, eating a variety of whole foods, lots of mixed fibers, lower fat foods, less processed and sugary foods, and avoided a lot of things that don’t digest easily (like popcorn, nuts and seeds). I was one of the lucky ones that could tolerate, nay completely enjoy a wide variety of spicy and flavorful foods without complications (if anything it helped a lot of the time) which is great for someone who loves to cook and bake as much as I do. I wouldn’t say my bowel movements were normal or regular during these times, but in comparison… yea.
I was a classic case of IBS C and D when a flare would start up. I would get bloated and crampy, even the smallest amount of foods (especially things containing insoluble fiber) would feel filling and I would get nauseated. I would lose my appetite, let me be clear, I would lose my feeling of hunger…not my love of food or my interest in putting tasty stuff into my gob (no it’s taken a lot longer for that to happen) there’s a lot more than simply hunger going on there. I would feel full and look pregnant and be uncomfortable with both gas pain and eventually just the lower end stiffness that a weeks worth of ‘piling up’ can do. After long enough, my body switched gears and in order to remedy the constipation it had caused, days of diarrhea followed.
The first few days were always the worst. The liquid trying to make it past the solids that have wedged their way staying stuck….a mix of both constipation and diarrhea symptoms both at once. Eventually it all gives way and the last few days of the loose shit is kind of a break (ok an ass burning, exhausting, dehydrating mess of a break). Unfortunately due to the fluid loss and the irritation and inflammation caused, its the perfect scenario created for it all to start over again. That’s how the cycle continues until the flare is over.
It’s been part of my shit to deal with for so long it’s seemed like something manageable. At least compared to everything else that’s been going on. What’s happening on in my innards now though? Totally not the same fucking thing. Before with my IBS, digestion was never a problem. Whether or not my stool was loose or rock hard, it was stool, digested (except for the odd corn kernels…you know what I mean) enough to be no longer recognizable as what I had eaten. There were certain foods like cabbage or broccoli that either had to be avoided or extremely well cooked and chewed, over all other than wheat/gluten (for that and other reasons) other foods were safe options during a flare up (they didn’t seem to make things any worse).
Now? If it’s not digested by my saliva/in my stomach (a simple starch/sugar) it comes out the same way it went in…no joke. That being said, you’d think I could then just be decently happy living on a diet of breads and spreads, crackers and crisps. While they may not pass through whole, they do not pass through well. Any solid food still gets turned into a loose piece of stool and at this point anything in there is causing problems. While the scope may have been a failure, it did go far enough to prove that I don’t have an actual obstruction in my colon, so the pasta thin poop is caused by the inflammation an swelling of my own body on it’s own and NOT like my IBS back in the day where the looser solids had to squeeze by partial blockages stuck from chronic constipation.
As if handling a lack of digestion and pain, discomfort and problems within hours after eating anything weren’t enough, more immediate issues had to be added. It seems like my gallbladder has decided to join in the ‘kick Ms Mango while she’s down’ party. Usually the Omeprazole does a pretty decent job of keeping my acid reflux at bay as long as I’m careful about eating before bed or laying down, but the last few weeks it’s been worse and worse. Now to be joined by a strange stabbing pain under my right rib that spreads out through my back and up my spine. At first it was intermittent, usually after any attempted meal, now it’s persistent and just worse after eating or drinking any more than a mouthful. I was dumb and didn’t ask if there were any gallstones seen in my last CT scan, it’s not what they were looking for, and if I didn’t voice any symptoms… why would they say anything. Many folks live symptom free with gallstones their whole lives. If my intestines are swollen enough to cause pencil poop they’re probably swollen enough to cause some issues up there too lodging stones weird places or simply just aggravating the gallbladder enough. It’s just a hunch though, or a hopeful guess. I’d rather it be gallstones than something wrong with my stomach/esophagus… fuck those are the last bits and pieces of my digestive tract that DON’T have something wrong with them already…
While Mr. Mango is determined that the ER is my next stop, I don’t think there’s anything they’d do for me other than schedule another colonoscopy….which apparently is already being done and schedule another CT….which apparently is already being done. I’m still walking and talking so clearly not dead or dying yet, I’m not a triage situation and an ER ain’t got time for that. His second place idea is to join me next time I visit the GP and poke me until I cry. He says he’s sorry, but that if that’s the only way the doctor is going to take it serious ‘finally’, he’ll do it. I’m assuming the scenario would end him in handcuffs for domestic abuse…. and my doctor will just think we’re both just batshit crazy.
After my carrot eating incident (the first and only time since starting the prep I’ve even tried to have a whole cooked piece of anything resembling vegetable or fruit) I’m more sure than ever that this is some messed up new nonsense and that it’s been going on longer than I initially thought. Getting ready for the scope and then sticking low residue afterwards hoping for the call to come back in meant missing the signs for a lot long than I would have, had I been eating ‘normal’ with the rest of the family over that time. The problem is what to do now?
I’m already low energy, sore, tired and nerves on the fritz. There’s only so many days of liquids and jello I can take before I’m completely useless and it becomes unsafe and I’ve used up a lot of those lately already. What’s worse? The pain and struggle of trying to actually manage any solids or all the symptoms of nutrition loss and electrolyte imbalances along with other hunger symptoms (yea I don’t even remember what those real hunger cues feel like).
Whatever the near future holds for food and my digestive tract, all I know right now is I’m too tired to fight with it right now. It’s been 3 days of worsening right abdominal pain and it’s meant very little/no sleep and coffee and water are going down ridiculously slow (to avoid feeling like it’s trapped in my throat) or like there’s too much pressure once it hits past my stomach.
All I can think of right now is… I don’t even fucking like cooked carrots….