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Tuesday, 25 February 2014
It's been a while since I've blogged. This is another update of all the IBD stuff that has been going on. I recently went to hospital for a colonoscopy and will try my best not to be too graphic.

The Hospital Appointment

Originally, I had a letter to say I was scheduled for a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. This procedure is performed differently to a full colonoscopy and only examines the sigmoid part of the colon. After seeing a consultant at the hospital beforehand, it was decided that examining the whole bowel would be more beneficial. 

Before The Exam

Before the procedure you have to "prep" your bowels so that they're clean. There two ways this can be done, I was given tablets and a laxative drink but if you were to only have a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy you'd be given an enema before the procedure.
I was scheduled in for the Monday afternoon, so the Saturday beforehand I had to start a low fiber diet which restricted me from eating things like wholemeal, vegetables, fruits, seeds...etc. On the Sunday I had to take Senna tablets and drink one sachet Picolax which is a laxative drink. On the Monday morning I had to drink another sachet of laxative drink but this one was called Moviprep.
Over these two days I was only allowed to eat a low fiber breakfast on the Sunday morning before a no solids diet. I drunk a lot of water to help clean the bowel, sucked on clear mints and had lemonade ice-lollies. 

When it came to the drinks, I won't lie, the first sachet was disgusting but bearable, the second sachet had to be mixed with 2 pints of water and I found it very difficult. Every person will react differently to the taste, other people mix it with clear flavoured cordial but even then I did end up throwing back the first 8oz.
The only way I can describe the taste is that it's like drinking salty, lemon barley water but with a powdery consistency.
You have a certain time window to get the drink down and I eventually got there. I won't lie there were tears, and I really thought I couldn't do it as I hate being sick. I did phone the hospital in the end to double check that I would still be considered "clean" with the first 8 oz coming back up. Thankfully I was, and what I think helped that is drinking much more water over the three days.

These drinks are used to clean your bowels, you need to stay by the toilet. I won't go into detail but oh my gosh.

The Colonoscopy 

When this was all brought up I was terrified, not of the camera but because I have a needle phobia. I was told by the consultant that 6 out of 10 patients who have a colonoscopy have no form of intravenous sedation. I was relieved that I had the option of entonox or gas and air as it's known but then ironically became scared of the camera.
Getting a little more graphic on the situation, you have to have your blood pressure taken and wear a gown and some shorts with a slit in the back (very fashionable). Then your taken into the procedure room and asked to lay down on the hospital bed with your knees tucked up. Then your prepped for the camera to be inserted. I suggest you start the gas and air (if you opted for that) around about then.The camera is really thin, trust me the insertion isn't painful or uncomfortable but the end of the camera has an air channel attached to inflate the colon to make it easier to pass the camera through.
For me this is the painful and uncomfortable bit, I had to be rolled onto my back, the bloating pain hit me quite suddenly, t
his is because the air had nowhere to go. 

In a state of panic I did get a little upset, which is completely normal. 
So after the camera went past the first corner and I'd huffed more on the gas and air, I was fine. When the biopsies were taken I didn't feel anything. 
During the procedure, you have the option to watch what they are doing. This can be comforting to some people but I politely declined this and put my iPod in one ear and looked away.
The procedure takes about 20 minutes and after you've finished you are cleaned up and rolled down to the ward where you can have a drink, get changed and come round from the anesthetic if you opted for it. I was then given a report of the general findings but usually everything is confirmed when the biopsies are tested. This can take around a week or so.

That is a little update with a general go through of my procedure, if anyone has questions then go ahead, I have had my results back and will do an update on them in a few days.

As always, thanks for reading...

Saturday, 1 February 2014
I know that I had so many plans and ideas for blogging over Christmas and didn't follow through with them. I thought I'd create this post to explain a little bit about something I have kept personal and only shared with family and close friends.
Around 18+ months ago, during my second year of University, I had been experiencing upset stomachs and problems with needing the bathroom urgently. For a few weeks I did think it was dietary, I was living the life of a student, eating out and drinking. After confiding in some friends they urged me to get checked out as the eating changes hadn't helped and other symptoms I was experiencing wasn't normal. I went to my local walk in center as getting a GP appointment was difficult at the time. After being examined I was told I was having a bad experience with constipation and was sent on my way with a laxative. This didn't help and before stating my next semester at University, I was able to get a GP appointment. 

I had blood tests done and he concluded it was more to do with Food Sensitivity and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Since then I was back and forth with more tests, different medications, eliminating food, but nothing was helping. I was very stressed, trying to finish university, working and I was feeling very low.

It wasn't until graduation the symptoms started to get worse but by that time I had become very constrained to where I'd go and what I'd do. I spent my week either at work or at home. I didn't go out and socialise as I was very scared about either not getting to a bathroom in time or suddenly being unable to move with the pain. Where I did go, I felt safe, my home is my home if anything happened like a sudden low point or a struggle with the pain, I could stay in bed. At work (to which at the time I had two jobs) I was surrounded by so much support and the most lovely people. For a few hours each day I was able to push everything to the back of my mind. I knew there was a bathroom nearby and I knew if I felt very unwell I could confide in management. Then something hit me...

I was trying so hard to push it all back and be normal that I didn't realise that the symptoms weren't just worse but also changing. As soon as I felt hunger I also felt sickness, even when I smelt certain foods I felt sickness. I was put off by food so quickly that I didn't eat properly, what I was eating wasn't giving me any nutrients and I lost weight quite drastically...
8 Pounds in just under 3 weeks. 

I went back to the doctors suspecting it was a stomach infection with the Food Sensitivity/IBS. I was told to drink lots of fluids and see if it passed. After it carried on persisting I went back to be given more tablets and go for more tests. This time I wasn't called back for a discussion of the results like previous, I was phoned and told I was being referred for an emergency appointment with the hospital.

Panic...that's all I was doing. It was a bit silly in a way as I didn't know why I was being referred until I went to the first appointment. I just couldn't help it, I felt very embarrassed by what was happening to me and I was having to then share that with another person.

At this moment in time I am waiting to go in for a endoscopy and have biopsies taken.

I'm very scared and feel very embarrassed by it but I know that it needs to be done and there's gas and air available. I'm currently on steroids to help with the inflammation (Prednisolone) and they are making me very tired and very hungry.

For my blog there's going to be a delay in posting but I will update with what is happening, 

I was umm-ing and aah-ing with the idea of posting this and putting it out there, but after researching IBD I came to find out it can affect people from such a young age and seeing other people's stories and journeys has been really reassuring. I am in no way an expert on the subject im just starting to learn everything myself but what I learn I will share and hopefully it can benefit someone.

As always, thanks for reading...

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