I'm not going to be posting this on twitter or facebook, so if you happen to run across this in your travels, you have been forewarned of TMI! This is mostly for my journal.
So, for the last couple of months, I'd been having this sharp, kind of pulling pain in my very lower left quadrant whenever I exercise. And it's not even hard exercise. Just walking down my street (albeit quickly) or the elliptical machine at the gym. The pain is pretty intense when it happens, and almost stops me in my tracks. I end up walking slower, breathing hard, and willing it to go away. It feels a lot like stitches, except no where near that area. It can last for several minutes, or it could go away in 30 seconds. But regardless, it's hindering my ability to exercise. I already have enough excuses not to do it - I don't want this to derail my efforts of progression. I'm trying to walk my route faster. Maybe even jog some of it to get more benefit, but I can't with this going on.
I think it might have begun almost a year ago, when I had this really painful (like an 8 or 9 on the scale) IBS attack that just doubled me over while I was driving home from work. Now you're thinking "Don't drive like that, it's dangerous! Why don't you just stop and wait for the pain to pass?". Because you're ignorant and obviously don't know anything about IBS. At this point, I'm doing everything I can not to shit my pants. When you get a severe IBS attack, you find the nearest bathroom and spend the next 10-15 minutes writhing in pain as your colon tries to push out everything that's in you. I can feel it pulsing and clenching; wanting everything out, NOW. So, pushing through the pain, I continue to drive home. But, there's this extra bit of pain in my lower left quadrant that had never been there before. That's what was increasing the pain of this attack exponentially. So, because of this, I make an appointment with my PCP. I'm thinking "Can IBS really be this bad?" I wanted to make sure nothing else was going on. He ordered a CT which turned up normal. But after this, I start getting the pain when I exercise. Pretty random at this point because I do the hCG diet which I don't have to exercise, and then a lot of the time I just never do, so the problem never really occurred. But when I decided to finally do it for the long haul, that's when I noticed the pattern.
Anyway, so I go back to my PCP and he says "colonoscopy". At this point, I'm almost 100% sure that whatever is happening to me is not coming from inside my colon, but the only way to prove it to my doctor is to get the damn procedure, so I agree. (I actually think it's adhesions, because there's definitely a tugging, pulling sensation on or near my colon. But, adhesions are very rare in someone that's never had surgery, and the only way to diagnose them is with an exlap - or exploratory laparoscopy.)
I'm having my procedure on a Friday, and I can't work, so I take the day off. But the prep starts Thursday. Even though I'm not having my procedure until 2pm on Friday, I can't eat all day on Thursday (or Friday). Nothing but jello and broth and other clear liquids. And no red or orange dyes (looks like blood in the colon, I guess) which sucks because those are the colors I like. Red means cherry or strawberry, orange is the color of my Mio: peach mango or orange tangerine. So, I can't have yummy jello, or my Mio. Well, I settle for mixing lemon and lime jello so that works. I still eat chicken broth, and settle for that blue ice gatorade/powerade.
The absolute WORST part of this whole damn thing, and that includes the actual procedure which wasn't even bad, was drinking the PEG-3550. Also called Go Lightly. It's basically salt water, which flushes everything out of your colon in short order. Now, I had a choice between Moviprep, which was a total of only 2 liters (drink one on thursday, and one on friday) for $100, or Go Lightly, which was 4 liters. (yes, a gallon) that I could still split into 2 doses, for $10. Not being incredibly rich, I go for the 4 liter option. Because they say I can add crystal light to it, and Mom had to do it also. She'd told me it didn't taste too awful - there was just a lot of it. So I thought, okay, I can do that.
Now, the only crystal light I had was orange colored, of COURSE. But that's what mom used so I did to. I added 3 to-go packets to the gallon and tried to drink my first 16 oz dose at 5pm on Thursday. Ha. By my 2nd 16oz, I was trying not to gag. On my third, I was shivering in disgust and could barely drink it at all. I tried to just down it as fast as I could, but the flavor was just awful. I managed to drink 32 oz plus about another 8oz. I couldn't finish my 4th bottle. It took me 3 hours to do it. And I had even added a squirt or 2 of my Mio because, orange or not, I needed something.
But, I do have to say, the actual bathroom part wasn't bad. Unlike the time I took a stimulant laxative, there was no pain. It was like being sick but w/o the "being sick" part. Thursday wasn't bad at all. Because normally, I think you're supposed to drink the whole gallon at once, so it happens all at once, but the pharmacist said I could split it up so I did, and Thursday wasn't even bad. (besides a headache that I was sure was caused by the PEG) Friday did clean my out, though. I was supposed to be finished drinking it 3 hrs before my appointment, so to give myself ample time I started at 7am. But, I made Justin go out and get me a different colored Mio. I knew there to be some lime green stuff, so I told him to get that. That got me through it. I don't even know what flavor it was, but I didn't care. Although I still couldn't drink it all, it helped. I did manage to down 64oz, but I still had about another 12oz to go. But by this time, I was running completely clear, (and green, but clear) so I didn't bother to finish it. What the PEG did to me I freaking hated, though. It was giving me a hangover without the "getting drunk" bit, which was totally lame. I was weak and shaky and tired and thirsty because it was making me dehydrated. After I downed the PEG, I drank a 32oz bottle of gatorade to re hydrate me, as per the directions. It helped. Also, I still couldn't eat. I wasn't even hungry until after my gatorade though, and by then, it was almost appointment time.
So, long story short, they admit me, do vitals ask questions. I tell them I'm sensitive to narcotics so they make sure to give me anti-nausea with my Fentanyl dose. I lay on my left side facing the monitor, but unfortunately they take away my glasses so I can't watch it very well. They explained that I might sleep during the procedure, or not remember it, and not remember things afterwards etc. And had I not asked for the anti-nausea, that might have been the case. Because I know Vicodin makes me feel heavy and woozy and forgetful (not to mention pukey). However, I was 100% aware the whole time. I didn't care that a probe was up my ass, mind you, but I was aware of it. I was wincing when they blew air into me in order to see my colon, and I think they gave me more pain killers ("she's still wincing" I remember the nurse saying). I think I might have also seen a puddle of green on the viewscreen - leftover PEG, which I knew I might still have some in there. The whole thing only took about 10-15 minutes. And when they wheeled me out, I was able to articulate and talk just fine. In fact, when Justin had his endoscopy, he ended up worse off afterwards than I had. He'd even forgotten that the doctor had come in after the procedure to talk to us. I was just a little wobbly on my feet, but I was still awake and doing just fine. They told me I should be farting out all the air in me. If I didn't, then I would feel very bloated and in pain. I tried, but not much happened. Still, I wanted to go eat, and eat well, so I asked Justin to drive us to Dupont for the Super Buffet. Even though it was afternoon traffic and I wasn't that hungry, I figured by the time we got there I would be. Problem was, I was feeling incredibly bloated and in so much pain. Like the time I had a whole tub of carb-free ice cream and I felt like my insides were going to rip open. When we got there, and I attempted to get out of the car, I was like "oh shit". I could barely move, let alone walk. And I just couldn't get all the air out. It was awful. But eventually, we ate and I went home and I was feeling better.
Oh, also, they didn't find anything wrong with me. They did take a couple of biopsies that will take 7-10 days for the results. I asked for a copy of my report before I left, which was cool cuz now I have color photos of the inside of my colon. Yippie lol.