Crohn's it is!

April 3, 2008

Yesterday I had another colonoscopy. It went very clearly and very smoothly. I say “clearly” because most of my hospital-based experiences of late have been not unpleasant but very hazy. Tending to resurface in snippets and impressions, mostly. For example, this weekend I re-watched a documentary about the Hobart Shakespeareans that I had watched the last time I stayed at the hospital. I didn’t remember any of it, save for a couple brief shots. It was eerie.

This time I remember everything except for the part when I was actually knocked out. In the OR (or whatever they call it for procedures like this), they played Coldplay, I had a handsome nurse named Maudy, and I chatted with my gastroenterologist, Dr. Dolan–he performed the procedure–until after I saw the anesthesiologist inject the sleep goo into my IV and I even then had the wherewithal to say “I’m going to sleep now.” This time, after waking up, I remember everything, even the relatively detailed conversation I had with Dr. Dolan right afterward.

The only things that sucked yesterday were:

  • Getting my IV. The first nurse tried and I noticed it hurt a bit more than usual. I wrote this off as being because this particular department doesn’t pre-numb with lanacaine. But then I looked down and there was a pile* of blood the size of a large slug on my arm. I am afraid of a lot of things, but fortunately blood and needles are not among them. The nurse apologized for “fishing around” so much and got a new nurse. They had to use my other arm and never quite got it right (it was uncomfortable the whole time it was in).
  • After I was ready to go home, I had to wait a solid hour for someone to come and draw blood for an unusual blood test (more on that later). Because of my uncomfortable IV I couldn’t really bend my arm, which meant I couldn’t really read my book. Usually when I’m hanging out in the hospital I’m sleepy enough to doze off, but this time I was just impatient and restless.

The diagnosis of Crohn’s is confirmed. I even have photos to prove it. I toyed with putting them up with this post, but they are slightly disturbing, enough that I will hold off for now. Suffice it to say I have a region of my ileum (right near where my small intestine joins my big one) that is very pissed off–red and plumped up. This is why I keep landing in the hospital because it creates a partial blockage of everything. Surprising: it’s not at all related to my surgery in February, which is what had the doctors all afluff and confused.

How do they know I have Crohn’s? Several things pointed toward it:

  • The pathology of my removed tumor and the area around it (though not entirely conclusive)
  • Symptoms
  • I tested positive for having antibodies against Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This is more commonly known as bread or brewers yeast. Odd, huh? My body thinks beer yeast is dangerous! So do many other people’s bodies fighting Crohn’s disease.
  • The way my tubes looked yesterday.

So, bring on the meds! I’m now taking prednisone (a steroid) and Pentasa (an anti-imflammatory agent). The blood test I had to wait so long for yesterday is going to test for something (I forget exactly what–an enzyme?) to see if I’m a valid candidate for 6-Mercaptopurine, an older cancer drug used to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia.

* It was. A pile of blood, that is. So viscous.

One Comment

  1. Pgirl says:

    Man, I hope you don’t end up with one of those ‘poop bags’ that some Crohn’s patients end up having to use….

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