My First Colonoscopy

If you’re in the Southern California area and need a colonscopy, may I recommend The Endoscopy Center in Encinitas with Dr. Seeger? Everyone there was incredible and super friendly! What I was afraid would be a painful experience wasn’t painful at all. And it was sooo easy. Truly the hardest thing is drinkin’ the bowel prep and enduring a few hours on the toilet.

Why did I need a colonoscopy at 40 years old? My colo-rectal surgeon sprung it on me: one is needed a year after a bowel resection; just to make sure everything is okay inside.

Okay, on with the findings: a small polyp was discovered inside my sigmoid colon and removed for biopsy. The rest of my guts looked great! Wanna see?

Colonoscopy photos of my guts

My favorite thing I learned from your colonoscopy? I still have my ileocecal valve! I thought that bad boy was removed during my bowel resection. Seems like I still have it, according to the photos! I’ll ask my colo-rectal surgeon when I see him. Yay! And I like that they could see, and photograph, the section where my guts were stapled together!

Drinkin’ my Suprep

Thursday night’s bowel prep was…a lot. I thought I poo’d a lot for my November 2018 bowel resection? Oh my god…I poo’d 32 times. Thirty-two!

And more Suprep Friday morning

And Friday morning’s prep? I crapped 41 times! Including 20 minutes before the camera went up my bum! Apparently my rectum is competitive and had to beat the record from the night before. One day I’ll log the times, etc., but not today.

The plan? Wait for the biopsy results, discuss with my physician, and have another colonoscopy in five years!

A huge thanks to The Endoscopy Center crew for making my first colonoscopy wonderful: the receptionist, Tanya, the nurses (Elaine, Allison, and Lia), and Dr. Seeger. I wasn’t gassy or sore or bloated or anything I feared afterward. It was truly a pleasant experience (well, except for the prep ha!).

PS – if you’re ever afraid that you’ve still got some liquid-poo inside your guts and you’re going to just poo all over the staff during your colonoscopy, rest assured: they’ve got suction at the end of that li’l camera! It was my one big fear; and they alleviated it by explaining the suction! YAY!

Feel Good Fridays

The week is over! And what a week it’s been!

All I can say today for your inspirational quote of the week, “Be brave.”

Whatever it is you’re dealing with…just be brave. You can do this. Put one foot in front of the other and trudge forward. And remember, it’s brave to even ask for help.

If you ever need anything, please reach out.

PS – we all need a wee bit of a bravery reminder, eh? Even myself. ❤

The good news, the not-so-good news, and the plan!

A sheet of paper with the word PLAN written on top

Yesterday was horrendous to get through. My pain was almost always an 8 to 9 out of 10. It was SO bad I reminded me of my periods during my 20s. HORRENDOUS. In a ball, crying, and couldn’t find any relief in any position. I barely got five hours of sleep last night, but I’m at work today with my pain down in the 4-level. I can do this.

I met with my gyno/surgeon yesterday to discuss my recent ultrasound: my left cyst is shrinking! It’s down from a 2.3cm to a 1.2cm. Both he and the radiologist feel it’s a simple cyst that is resolving itself. No more need for another ultrasound in two months! YAY!

My explosive pain on Day One of my period yesterday was met with options. He cannot prescribe Tramadol (which is the only thing that works for me when Naproxen doesn’t) because it’s an opioid. So, back to those options:

  • Lupron Depot: no
  • Orilissa: no
  • Birth control pills: no
  • IUD: no
  • Depo Provera: no
  • Surgery: maybe
  • Acupuncture: I can’t afford it
  • Pelvic floor therapy: I can’t afford it
  • Pain Management doctor: yes

So, the plan: Get the referral to a pain management doctor (he recommended one and I already emailed my PCP for the referral) and see how that goes. Head on back to Dr. Kurtulus in February to discuss how things are going.

If still desired at that time, discuss another excision surgery and a hysterectomy to remove at least the cervix and uterus (they still suspect I have Adenomyosis), leave both ovaries if both can remain; remove one if one appears it needs to be removed. And excise any Endometriosis he may find, as well as adhesions an restore anatomy to its rightful place.

I was in so much pain in the appointment that I just cried. I felt like such a boob.

Today’s pain levels are much more manageable. And I just received word that this Friday’s colonoscopy is approved by my insurance, so I’m glad I didn’t take any NSAIDs yesterday.

Having a plan, even one that is so far in advance, helps with the mental aspects of coping. And I’m grateful for even that much. And thank you to everyone for your support yesterday!

PS – I love my doctor and his staff. Even though I wasn’t in my best mood and form, they were all so super supportive and positive and loving.

Days like today suck

So last night I started having cramping on my lower left side. I have a colonoscopy scheduled for this Friday so I can’t take any NSAIDs. I also have lower back pain in the same exact spot where my abs hurt. The pain ranged between a 4 to a 6 out of 10. All night long.

I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon just by circumstance with my gynecologist / excision surgeon to discuss an ultrasound from last week. So 2:30 can’t come quick enough. Rather than just update my pain journal, I decided I would draw on my body where the pain is. So some of the marks are from last night and some of the marker marks are from today. I’m absolutely going to pull my pants down in my appointment.

I had a heating pad on all night and it really didn’t do anything.

Today, the pain is in the same area but intensified. It now ranges from a 6 to a 9 out of 10. I decided to go to work thinking I could just pull through, but I was there for half an hour before I realized I needed to go home. I popped two Tylenol before I left, and an hour later, it’s not done a damn thing for the pain.

The pain was so intense while driving home that at one point all I could do was pull over, cry, and scream.

But I’m home now. I have my heating pad on again which I did bring to work but the pain was so intense I couldn’t focus. At least now I’m on my couch in my bathrobe curled into a ball with my heating pad clenched to my abdomen and I’m talking to my phone as it types what I say.

I don’t know what I expect out of today’s appointment. And I really am grateful that this pain is only present one or two days a month while I’m on my period. But I find it ridiculous that all of my pain is on the lower left side and none of it is where my uterus is, so it terrifies me into thinking something is back.

Supposedly the cyst on my left side is shrinking and they do still believe it to be a simple cyst. If that’s the case, explain away my pain. The only thing I have in mind: In the past the endometriosis is super heavy on my left side. So is it back already?

Perhaps today I’ll schedule that long awaited hysterectomy. I don’t want kids at my age. My tubes are already gone. I know it’s not a cure. But if they suspect I have adenomyosis and if I only have pain around my periods maybe it’ll help?

While driving home, after having pulled over to cry and scream because the cramping became too intense, I freaking shouted the words, “I can’t do this anymore.” To nobody. To my steering wheel. To the air. To myself.

Not words of suicidal ideation, but the words of pure desperation that this pain is just too fucking much regardless of the fact that I only get it once every few months if that. I don’t want any more surgeries. I don’t want any more pills. I don’t want any more pain. I shouldn’t have to curl up into a ball clutching my heating pad on the floor at work. Something needs to be done.

But with how bad today is, how bad August was oh, and the fact that I’ve skipped 5 periods this year, something is amiss. I fear I’m going to go in and ask for one more surgery.

August was intense but not as intense as this. I missed a day of work then, too. This! A 9 out of 10, constant, and nothing is helping? Days like today suck.

Maybe it is back. Maybe it isn’t. But I feel like I’m dying today.

Pain Journal: October 2019

Summary of Oct 2019 pain journal

Boy, October was interesting!

Throughout the month, I’ve had a few bouts of abdominal cramping. As I go through my pain journal, most of that was either diarrhea-related or getting close to my period. I did, however, have a few odd episodes of stabbing or throbbing pain toward the lower right and lower left of my abs. And when I cough, sneeze, or twist a certain way (hubby and I have recently signed up for a yoga class), there’s a pulling sensation on my lower right abs.

An ultrasound yesterday found my right ovary may be slightly stuck to the underside of my uterus, which may account for the right-sided pain. The cyst on the left ovary appears to be collapsing. I have my official meeting with my physician on Tuesday to discuss the ultrasound findings.

Sex is still painless, but I do think again it’s in part to the fact that we’re avoiding positions that we know cause me pain (aka doggy style).

My period showed up on October 7th, announced with cramping. Throughout the eight-day period, I only had to take 3 Naproxen and those knocked the six out of 10 pain down to a one or a two. So those still seem to hold their own and help. When the Naproxen wore off, I cuddled my heating pad and suffered. There was one night where the pain kept me awake.

If you’d like go scroll through my pain journal, here you go:

Boy, I ate a LOT of fast food in October. What? That may explain the excessive diarrhea throughout the month. Oh. My. God. And a lot of alcohol…Too much food, crappy food, too much booze: it all goes straight through me. Again, I really need to get better at that. I feel like I type this sentence every month…

And here’s my pooooooo-craziness! Although there was A LOT of loose bowels…I’ve made it through another month with NO pain when I poo! I simply CANNOT believe it! Thank God for my Dr. Kurtulus finding the endometriosis on my bowels and involving Dr. Schultzel for the bowel resection! My pooping is SO much better, and it’s almost been A YEAR!

I’m ashamed to say this is probably my most diarrhea-filled month since surgery. I failed October miserably and vow to make November easier on my body and bowels!

What do you learn about yourself when you track your pain, symptoms, and diet? I’m still learning!

Feel Good Fridays!

Welcome to November 1st. There’s only 61 days left in 2019. And I feel like this year has just flown by.

I struggled to find a quote today. Everything I read fell flat in my heart. So, I reached to my co-worker, Shaldon, and asked if he had a favorite inspiring quote. He had shared this one on his Facebook page today…and I loved it…and I borrowed it for our blog.

No, it’s not Shaldon’s sloppy seconds. It’s sharing! And sharing means caring!

Damned if I do, damned if I don't...so damnit I will!

This one goes out to those EndoWarriors who need a cheat day and crave that bite of chocolate ice cream, or that cup o’joe with whipped cream, or those nightshades, or how about some cheeeeeese.

It’s okay to allow yourself a moment of happiness. Some may call it weakness, but I call it happiness. Don’t let the “Endo Diet” dictate your every day. But, do understand, that it may cause you some pain or symptoms to worsen.

Many of us don’t feel any difference following strict meal plans. Follow your heart. Your gut. Your instincts. And listen to your body.

But don’t be afraid to cheat every once in a while.

But the same goes for self-care. DO find time for yourself, to breathe, to meditate, to reflect, to honor your body, to say “no”, to embrace the need to sit back and do nothing but hold your heating pad and cry.

Do whatever you need to do. At this moment. Right now.

I wish I could end our suffering.

Love, Lisa