Hey Cycle Cats!
Emily Here, For this week's post I wanted to focus on struggling with my chronic illness, because I know I am not alone on this journey.
So about 2 1/2 years ago I started to notice some irregularities with my bowel movements. At first, I did what I think most people do, which is to ignore it out of fear. A few months later when I hadn't noticed the situation getting better I decided it was time to see a G.I. doctor.
So I found a doctor my insurance took, and went in for a visit. I explained to her what I was noticing and how long the problem had been going on. For those of you who don't know what happens next means you have never gone to a G.I. doctor.....
She stuck her finger up my butt to check everything out. I can't say it was a pleasurable experience, and I am sure she would agree with me here. So after that experience, which brought us to a whole new level in our relationship, she told me I needed a colonoscopy. The only memories associated with that word were my mom on the couch drinking thick Gatorade because it was mixed with laxatives and making disgusted faces while she drank this smelly liquid through a straw.
So I set an appointment, and a few weeks later I did the prep for my first colonoscopy. I am going to say what everyone else says, the prep is the worst part. You can't eat anything 24 hours before, only clear liquids, and then the night before you have to drink the laxatives. I remember when I picked up the jug from the pharmacy, it was large and definitely overwhelming. That night I prepared my first glass, took my first sniff and sip, and immediately got nauseous. My husband was supposed to be home from work by the time I started but he was running late so I was all alone, sick, and about to just start shitting everywhere, pardon my french. I remember the more I drank the sicker I became, and the more laxative went down the sink.
Yes you heard me, I drank one glass and the next glass went down to sink. I know, I know you are supposed to drink all of it, but after the first four glasses, I was ready to make a deal with the devil. I mean raise your hand if you are able to drink that whole jug?
So after I drank half the jug, I had to stop, I went to bed, got up like 100 times to go to the bathroom, and then before I knew it, it was morning and time to go get the procedure.
My dad took me to the hospital so my husband could go to work. I remember changing into the gown, getting the IV in my arm, and having to wait two hours till the procedure. During that time the nurses ask you questions, one of them being "Did you finish the whole jug?" I lied and said yes. The anesthesiologist came in and explained what I should expect, and before I knew it, I was being wheeled into the room, I counted backward from 10, made it to 8, and took a long, hard nap.
About 30 minutes later I woke up in my room with my dad. The doctor came in told me there was inflammation in my colon and unfortunately didn't have a diagnosis. Then she said the words I dreaded, "we are going to have to do another colonoscopy in 6 months to a year."
So before I fast forward here let me say it is extremely frustrating dealing with these invisible illnesses, especially since they are usually pretty hard to diagnose. Anyway, I decided then and there to cut red meat from my diet because it's really bad for your colon.
So, now let's fast forward a year, we are at the start of the pandemic and it's time to go for Colonoscopy number 2. I'm going to skip forward since the prep and procedure were the same. The only difference this time was I got a diagnosis. A few days later the doctor called me, I was sitting on my couch and she told me I have "ulcerative proctitis." Hearing you have something wrong with you sucks. I remember I got off the phone with her and immediately started hysterically crying. I thought about my future, my husband, the life we want to have, and how I may not be able to have it. So I did what most people would do next, I went down a rabbit hole on the internet. I do not suggest this, you will most likely see the word cancer come up in your search which just adds fuel to the fire.
So after a few hours of sitting in my own gloom, I picked myself up and decided to try and move forward. I started the medicine my doctor prescribed. One suppository straight up the butt every night before bed, which I still do today. There is no cure, and the name of the game is to keep the infection where it is. I am lucky, I have a mild case, basically no problems, and I live most days without pain. But, I know there are people out there who are suffering every day, and to those people, I say I am sorry, you are so much stronger than anyone realizes and if you need someone to talk to, I am here to lend an ear. Also to those people who are not suffering please realize that people are going through things you can't see, be kind.
Emily's list of things she learned from her chronic illness:
Apple juice is your friend
The anesthesia is the best nap in the world
Putting something up your butt is easier than expected
Do not go down the internet rabbit hole
have people around you that love and support you
Love your cycle half,