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Nasty Nasty Bowel Exams


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#1 lizzie

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 03:09 AM

Hi, I've been having GI problems (particularly bowel) for last couple of months. Saw my rheumatologist last week who referred me to Gastro. Have now got to have barium enema and colonoscopy (not sure why both?). I know that is is necessary but am feeling a bit apprehensive. I'm not usually a wimp, no probs with endoscopy (or childbirth!) but am feeling a little wobbly at at the thought of the bowel prep ( will have to do it twice as the procedures will be scheduled for different weeks) and the indignity! Just wondering if anyone else has had either exam and can give their perspective on how awful or (hopefully) bearable it was. I believe forwarned is forarmed!
Lizzie

#2 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 05:45 AM

Hi Lizzie,

I've had many bowel exams over the years (more than I can count), thanks to a history of ulcerative colitis (among many other things). I can't say there's all that much to enjoy about the whole process, although with my last colonoscopy, I was thrilled because the medication they gave relieved all my fibromyalgia and even a horrific toothache (from two abscesses) for the rest of the day!

I had to have two root canals later that same week. Hands down, I'd take a barium enema and a colonoscopy over a root canal. Also, the procedures are much easier than childbirth. It really does help to put things in perspective of other things you have already survived, as that induces a sense that you can manage this, as well.

One way to get around cumbersome tests is to schedule something you love to do for the next day -- such as a special movie or dinner or lunch with a friend or hobby, a massage, reading a good book on the patio or by a lake or other scenic view, a long hot bubble bath (this doesn't have to be pricey)...anything you can get excited about or have otherwise been postponing. Then, when you find your mind inevitably wondering about the upcoming test, gently acknowledge it and then switch gears and think about the fun you'll have the day after. Also concentrate on the fun things you are going to do the next day during the test and talk it up with the lab techs, etc.

I figure, there's no easy way through things and with chronic illness, it is our job to mitigate the stress of everything, in any creative way we can think of, since stress worsens scleroderma and most of it's symptoms, too.

Good luck with your test -- and our sympathies, too, from all of us who have "been there, done that".
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
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Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#3 Patty

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 06:06 AM

Hi Lizzy,

I have not had the tests but last week my other half had his first colonoscopy and the worst part for him ws the prep. You won't be able to go out after you take the meds for the prep and I advise some nice soft tissue. Tom said that was the worst part. Well that and the Dr checking to make sure he was empty before he got knocked out. he was in and out in one hour, meaning from walking in the door to getting in the car!!

Good luck and let us know how you do.
Hugs,
Patty

If Life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Limited scleroderma, Dermatomyositis. Diastolic Dysfunction, dysphagia, Fibro, restless leg. Lupus is a maybe.

#4 lizzie

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 06:08 AM

Hi Shelley, thanks for the reply. I was particularly pleased to hear from you, who are obviously a veteran when it comes to bowel exams (poor you), that you found the root canal work worse. I'm a veteran of root canal work- have spent many an hour in the dentists chair (just been this morning in fact)- so figure if no worse than that I may survive the ordeal! Also am thinking that doing the bowel prep X 2 will mean I will loose some weight which is always welcome as far as I'm concerned. Like your the idea of having something nice to look forward to the next day.
Lizzie

#5 Lillskuzi

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 07:25 AM

Hi Lizzie,

I have not had either. However, I have had a lovely examination which involved the dr's (gloved) finger in a place being inserted to investigate a place no-one would ever wish a finger to be inserted. I felt very undignified lying on the bed, but I shut my eyes and pretended to be asleep and dreamt off elsewhere. There's no way to make these things more pleasand me thinks, but I think planning something nice to look forward to is a brill idea. Good luck :-)
Susie

#6 MicheleM

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:05 PM

Hey Lizzie! There are many worse things to be done I'm sure ... I'm not sure what, but :P I'm sure!!! I've found that taking probiotics (over the counter & easily available) has made a huge impact on my intestines and digestion and I really know the difference if I don't use it. Maybe that will help you like it helped me! Good luck & really sorry both tests couldn't be done on the same day!!!!!!!!!! Michele
Soft hugs your way,

Michele

#7 summer

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:37 PM

Hi Lizzie,
I am also due to have my first Colonoscopy in December, I used to work in a Day Procedure Unit at a hospital as a Clerk and nearly all the patients complained about the prep the night before.

My brother has had a Colonoscopy and he said to me that he didn't know what the big deal was about the prep, he never had to get up in the night to go to the toilet, and was fine with the whole thing!.

Apparently their are two preps (fleet) that you can have, so you are ready for the procedure.
I'm not to sure what the first one is called, but I know it is "fleet", and it is used on normal healthy people with no medical problems.
The second one is called Glycoprep - C, this fleet (prep) is used for people who have medical conditions and is a little more easier on the bowels.

My Specialist gave me this one to take before I have my Colonoscopy in December.

I'm not too sure which Country you live in but I am in Australia, so maybe you have different preps there.

I am also a little nervous about the whole thing, but try not to worry.

Take care
Celia :mellow:

#8 LisaBulman

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 01:35 AM

Hi Lizzie,
Hang in there..... I have had a few colonoscopies and the prep is the worst. I am not going to lie, it's not pleasant. It might make it easier for you if you eat a lighter diet the few days prior to your exam. Maybe salads, veggies, fruit and stay away for heavier, greasier foods like burgers and fries. I think the prep might be eaiser this way.

Once you are in there they will give you a nice sedative and you won't remember a thing..... and if you do, you really won't care.

Hugs,
Lisa
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#9 lizzie

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 01:37 AM

Thanks for the sympathy and support. Ced : I'm in the UK and I have actually just picked up the prep from X ray , as due to postal strike here they are not posting them out. The exam is next Thursday pm-on Mon, Tues saysI can eat white bread , rice or pasta and poultry/ lean meat and drink clear fluids (no milk) and have to take two biscoydl Tues evening . On Wednseday clear fluids and no food but two doses of Picolax and it says rather ominously prepare for frequent bowel movements. Not sure whether they are just warning that this will happen or whether they mean prepare in the sense of laying in stocks of toilet tissue and bathroom reading matter , maybe a radio and warming the seat :D. Looks like the worst part is going to the prep, being English I'm addicted to tea but hate it without milk- ah well I suppose I will just have to bite the bullet.
Michele: There are worse things - and I know because I have just remembered a treatment (urotherapy- developed I think by some sadistic Antipodean physiotherapist) for post pregnancy incontinence that I had a number of years ago! I won't go into details (the memory is too too painful) but I will just say that it was an electrode on the same principle as the abdominal toning belts which make the muscles contract but was not positioned on the abdomen!. The though of it still brings tears to my eyes!
Lizzie

#10 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 02:26 AM

Hi Lizzie,

Definitely plan on an extended stay in the bathroom. Soft toilet paper, a must. Good reading materials. To be on the safe side, do not stray from there until you are certain you are out of danger, which can be hours.

And I've revised my thinking on whether or not it is worse than a root canal. I think any procedure we are going through, at the moment, is the worst. It all takes a toll on us, physically and mentally, and the best we can do is try to reduce the toll through knowledge, planning, and attitude development.

There are some positive aspects, like the happy-wappy feel-good drugs they give nowadays, but frankly the prep is a real "experience" even with the very best of attitudes.
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#11 lizzie

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 02:59 AM

Think I had better plan to work at home next Wednesday!

#12 summer

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:39 PM

Hi Lizzie,
Actually I was born in England, my parents migrated to Australia in 1970, when I was 12 months old. I have never been back to England, I'm more Australian than English and call Australia home. I too love drinking tea, it is going to be hard not having milk in it.

Take care
Celia

#13 lizzie

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 11:37 AM

Hi Celia, Wish I was in Australia right now, I love England but come this time of year when the nights and morning get dark and its cold I would rather be somewhere else! Having said that, if you ever get the chance to vist the UK, I would, its certainly worth seeing ,plus they know how to make a good cup of tea here!- just make sure you come between May and September (although even then there is no guarentee that the weather will be OK) Do you have relatives in the UK ?
PS how is your back feeling now?
Lizzie