I had a colonoscopy today. If you’ve ever had one, you can sympathize with me–they’re the WORST (Okay. Okay. Maybe not the worst, but they’re damn god-awful.)
Why are they the worst you might ask?
- You can only have a liquid diet the day before. I’m the hungriest person I know, and liquid doesn’t suffice. By ten yesterday morning I had a raging food withdrawal headache. Not to mention the non-solid foods that are allowed like chicken broth (sodium-laden with hidden garlic and onion), sodas (sugar bombs), and popsicles (frozen sugar bombs) I’ve eighty-sixed from my diet because my sensitive tummy handles zilcho processed foods. But I managed to choke down lime Jello and bubbly ginger ale all day (P.S. Little Thing couldn’t handle my dietary complaints yesterday because soda, Jello, and popsicles all day sound delightful to a second grader. Don’t worry, she got her Schweppes, jigglers, and ice lollies on, too.) And you know the worst part? YOU CAN’T DRINK, SUCK, OR SLURP ANYTHING RED OR PURPLE, the two best flavors of all things liquid or gelatinous. Sigh.
- Your innards need to be vacant. Yep. No intestinal occupancy. I’ll keep this brief because, well, ewwwwwwww, but my doc told me to take 4 laxatives at 3 p.m. and then drink 64 ounces of Gatorade (not fruit punch, harrumph, but lemon lime) mixed with a bottle of Miralax over the course of five hours. Sounds rip-roarin’ doesn’t it? When you’re already feeling shitty, pun intended and hence the reason for the colonoscopy, this adds insult to injury.
- A doctor puts a camera up your booty. ‘Nuff said. Thank the heavens you don’t remember this part because the anesthesiologist knocks you out.
But all bad jokes aside, he did discover that I’m having my first relapse with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, in twenty years. This flare feels a bit different because it’s a mild form (Mild my ass. I still feel wretched.) called proctitis, only affecting the rectum.
Now I understand that I may have grossed you out and talking about poop and colonoscopies might make you uncomfortable but:
- A wise philosopher once said, “Everybody poops.”
- Ulcerative colitis isn’t a bad stomach ache, IBS, or annoying diarrhea. It’s a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (along with Crohn’s) that can completely debilitate its sufferers. In high school it made me severely anemic, and I almost had to have a blood transfusion. I know people who have had parts of their colon removed and now have colostomies because of it and others who are no longer able to work because of their symptoms.
- When you turn 50, you get to have a colonoscopy too.
- And as always, invisible illnesses only remain invisible if we don’t talk about them.