Normally when I write about a “double day” this means a double work-out day – a morning ride on the cyclo-cross bike and an afternoon ride on my road bike. But this was not the case on Tuesday. Nope on this day, “double day” meant: endoscopy and colonoscopy… Yes the dreaded double procedure.
Purpose of the colonoscopy was to find out what is going on with my ulcerative colitis. Had it changed? Gotten worse? Gotten better? Purpose of the endoscopy was to take some stomach biopsies to see if I have celiac disease. So really two very useful tests, just not a fun way to spend a Tuesday.
Luckily I didn’t have to drink the 4 liter jug of “poison” the day before. Instead I ingested two rather innocent looking sachets of Pico-Sallax and consumed some Dulcolax. I actually started with the Dulcolax on Saturday – taking one pill Saturday and Sunday evening at bed. Really the “preparation” wasn’t that bad. I’m used to running to the bathroom on urgent notices so this was tolerable and not having to drink the big 4 liter jug was a definite relief. I did have to drink 4 liters of water between 12 and 8 p.m. – I think I overdid it a bit as I was up all night – but better to be safe than sorry.
The procedures went okayish. Unfortunately I woke up in the middle of each one. This was rather horrible during the endoscopy – I think I must have been fighting the tubes/cameras/whatever else they stick down your throat, since my throat is very sore today. The doctor discovered a polyp but wasn’t able to remove it so I’ll have to go back to get this taken out. I also woke up during my colonoscopy… This was rather fascinating – I got to see the inside of my colon – really not pretty. The colonoscopy itself wasn’t painful. Next time I really hope to remain sedated through the procedures.
As for side effects? Well, my stomach was very very sore last night. From my research this is due to the large amount of gas that is pumped into your stomach during an endoscopy. And other than the remaining sore throat, no ill effects. So if you’re at all nervous about these procedures – don’t be. Assuming your sedative works properly and you remain sedated, these procedures really aren’t a big deal.
My gastro doctor also took a number of blood samples. One of which came back today… So on Thursday I’m returning to the hospital to have an intravenous iron injection… Turns out my iron is very low. This could explain why my cyclo-cross racing has not been going well. Each race I’m completely wiped out and finishing at the back of the pack (not good). So hopefully this iron injection will help. I’m also increasing my carbohydrate intake. This is something to be aware of – if you cut gluten out of your diet (as I did), make sure you are still consuming adequate carbohydrates… Removing gluten from your diet eliminates large and important carbohydrate sources, and as an endurance athlete, this is having a detrimental effect on my training, racing and quality of life.
The other immediate result of the colonoscopy is that I am now weaning myself off of Entrocort. My doctor has determined that isn’t helping so there is no point on being on it. Apart from severe muscle cramps, I haven’t really experienced any negative side effects to this steroid. Also, I’ve started taking a Sallofalk enema each night. So now I take six Sallofalk pills during the day (2 three times a day) and the enema at night. Hopefully this helps. My gastro doctor sent me for some special blood tests a few weeks to go to see if I have the TPMT enzyme in my blood – my understanding is that the presence of this enzyme determines if you can take a specific type of drug. So when these results are back, I’ll most likely be on some new medication.
So this is where I’m at. Still frustrated. Still have days of feeling angry at the world, wondering why I have this disease. But also feeling like I’m on the right road with my healthcare and that in short time we’ll have this sorted out and I can go back to feeling like myself again. This disease is a major roller coaster. Good days combined with bad days. Right now when I’m supposed to be racing my bike hard and fast at the front of the pack and instead I’m suffering at the back of the pack barely hanging on, I’ve had more bad than good days. But I feel as though the good days are right around the corner.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be down in Gloucester, Mass. this weekend racing – so if you live in Gloucester, drop me an email or post a comment – maybe we can hook up. It would be great to meet others with this disease. As crazy as it is, I only know one other person with IBD, a fellow cyclo-cross racer who has Crohn’s Disease.