Thursday, March 26, 2009

Step 1 - Surgery Prep

Ugh. That's all I can say. I'm not sure if it's the excitement from the surgery, or having to do the GoLytely, but my body is in full rejection mode. Typically I've done the Phosphosoda, which can be a little brutal, but only requires two drinks during the day. I got about halfway through the GoLytlely prep before I started to have a short gagging spell. This very quickly escalated to my body giving back the last drink of that blasted juice, to giving back everything it could find in my upper GI.

I had to call the surgeon to see what to do next, as even trying to continue, my mind had sorted out that it was no longer going to allow anymore into this body. So much for mind of matter. Since I had got some down and was already starting to feel the effects of it, they decided to shift towards Magnesium Citrate. It's definitely easier on the stomach, on the mind, and the bowels, but still does the trick. I still battled getting down a bottle of that, but it was enough to keep everything moving and clear out the colon.

It's going to be an early morning tomorrow with being the first surgery of the day.  Unlikely we'll see any sleep, but with the excitement from above and the lack of food, I'm pretty exhausted, so let's see how it goes.

Tips and Tricks for an easy bowel cleansing from two decades of scopes:
  • Good toilet paper: You make fine furniture using sandpaper, so leave it in the workshop. If you don't already, splurge on the good stuff.
  • A*D ointment; There is nothing worse than wiping your butt 20 times in a day. It doesn't like it and neither will you. I find using A&D before the process and after each movement, you don't get the buttburn from all the acid.
  • Baby wipes: If they are good enough for a newborn baby, then they are definitely good enough for an old cowboy or cowgirl. Remember, there is no reward for toughing this out.
  • Good reading material: Even for water, it can take a while for each emptying, and just when you think this wave is done, there's another one right behind it.  Pull a Dick Dale and ride it out: Don't leave it sit too long, it is acid after all!
  • Good clear liquids:  I always gravitated towards Gatorade.  This unfortunately ruined me drinking some of them when I wasn't prepping, as I would smell it and my body would panic that a prep was coming, so use with caution.
  • The first meal:  Prepare where you're eating afterward.  Going over 30 hours without eating would be maddening for me, so I would always have a plan where to eat on the way home from the scope.  Remember, you'll be doped up and doped out, so try to avoid thinking too hard that day:  Best to leave a plan with your driver that is easily executed.  [My favorite:  Burger King ... and it was lovely everytime!]

Friday, March 20, 2009

Final Appointment

Today was the final consultation with the surgeon before the first step. We verified the results from the bowel check and were relieved to see no signs of Crohn's. We went through the actual surgical steps again and I asked a slew of questions, some of which he would get a chuckle out of. [I found being prepared and having a list of questions ready for rapid fire allowed me to cover my concerns and avoid the "Oh, I wanted to ask..." moments.]

As I am in fairly good health, at least not dealing with any UC symptoms other than the dysplasia, the surgeons are expecting a fairly straight-forward recovery. I am strong, active, and all signs look good. This definitely helps my nervousness and mood going into the surgery. I can't say I'm terribly nervous, more anxious. What lays on the other side, I'm not sure, but this is the day I've been preparing for mentally for almost two decades: Let's hope I didn't fool myself on this one.

Okay, we need to lay out our plans on what to eat before surgery, as we know there's going to be some limits afterward. [Little did I know how long that would last!] Spicy chicken, check. Dunkin Donuts, check. Fast food, check. Okay, got all the bases covered! Considering I gave up trying to put on muscle a few months ago and just went for pure poundage, I've successfully added a few pounds to make it through any "lean" periods. [I would later find it's easier to lose than it is to gain with this surgery.]

The preparation for the surgery is the same for a colonoscopy: Drink, starve, and poop for an entire day before. GoLytely, Phosphosoda: I won't miss you for a single minute. Thankfully, this is where our paths separate. I'm not saying it's worth having your colon removed to not have to do a yearly scope and prep, but if you're having it removed anyway, it's surely a plus! Got my gatorade and my baby wipes: Bring it on!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Upper Bowel - Crohn's Check

My wife and I decided on the second surgeon for a number of reasons. We felt he was more comfortable with questions and upfront with information. His practice has been specializing in colo-rectal surgery, especially JPouches for a years, especially laparospic. The time delay was a strike against, but everyone noted it was like that and you just worked around it or checked on time delays before coming. I'll be honest: I'd rather have to wait for a doctor that takes his time with his patients rather than ripping through them like a 6th grade quiz papers.

We let him know with our decision and he ordered a followup procedure to verify that I didn't have Crohn's. I hadn't had an upper bowel barium before, so off I went to have the procedure. The hospital is about 45 to 100 minutes away depending on traffic: Right, it's usually closer to 100 than 45, unless it's 5 AM.

This was my first time drinking barium, which I didn't find all that bad. It was similar to drinking toothpaste. I don't do this with any regularity, but at least it wasn't like dirt or slime: That would have been a little more difficult. [This would prove beneficial, as I get to have more in the future.] After slamming down some cups, then slowly drinking while the shots were taking, the radiologist noted I had a fast digestive process: Maybe this is why Wendy's never stayed around that long?