It's time to close one of the more harrowing chapters of my life. Thursday, I went in for a colonoscopy. Evidence was found of the diverticulosis that I suffered from earlier this year. There was still a little pocket of infection there, but it was healing up nicely. The rest of my colon was in good shape -- and no signs of cancer.
The big question going into this procedure was to determine if I was in need of further surgery, to remove a portion of my colon.. According to Dr H.. (the gastroenterologist) surgery will not be necessary. He did prescribe double doses of Metamucil, twice a day to stave off any further problems with diverticulitis. He said that if I faithfully take the Metamucil, that there is a 99.9 % chance that I will have no further problems with diverticulitis. It was diverticulitis that the eventually led to the infections and abscesses that landed me in the hospital last March.
Dr. H also noticed that I have been taking Prilosec for acid stomach problems for the last couple of years. He asked me, if anyone had ever scoped my upper GI tract. I told him that no one had done that before. Since the good Dr. was actually running on time, he suggested that they take a look at my esophagus and stomach as well. He explained that they actually use he same kind of equipment for the upper GI as they use for the colonoscopy. He even offered to switch to a clean set of equipment for the upper GI procedure!
Everyone was so nice at the endoscopy center. I got all settled in, signed all the consent forms, and then they injected some sleepy-time drugs into my IV.
I remember nothing at all of the colonoscopy. They waited until I was out to expose my shiney hiney, and enlighten places where normally the sun doesn't shine.
The first thing I remember was the Dr. probing my stomach with this tube. I could feel it in my mouth, but no further down. In my mouth they must have used some sort of anesthetic, like at the dentists office, because I could feel that my mouth, where the tube was, was kind of numb. I was still quite drowsy, and didn't move a muscle, other than my eyelids. It was really painless.
Later the Dr explained, and showed me pictures of two ulcers in my stomach. An older one, that was mostly scar tissue now, and a newer more active ulcer. He decided to double my dose of prilosec to prevent further damage to my stomach wall.
Really the overall experience of the colonoscopy was not too bad. The worst part was preparing for the procedure during the previous 24 hours. They have to clean out your colon, and you have to stay on clear liquids for a day. There were some rather unpleasant moments during the process -- but I was clean as whistle by the time I was through.
The last 6 months have brought health challenges to me like I have never experienced before. The possibility (even inevitability of further surgery, according to some doctors) hung over my head like the Sword of Damocles. It was hard to make plans for the summer for vacations. It was hard to plan projects I am involved with at work and other projects in my church assignments. I never knew when I might have to undergo major surgery, and be out of commission for another 4-8 weeks. Not to mention the expense, and having to use up my remaining sick leave at work.
Now this chapter is over. I am willing to put my faith and trust in Dr H. about not needing surgery. Even if other doctors suggest otherwise. I've been trying out the orange flavored Metamucil, mixed with fruit juices, and it hasn't been too bad at all. I'm just doing the standard dose twice a day for now. I'll work up to the double doses after my body gets used to having more fiber. It's great not having to worry about going under the knife any time soon.
I still have the remaining issue of peripheral neuropathy in my feet, and to a lesser degree in my hands. I have consulted a local podiatrist, and am undergoing some treatments that seem to be helping. Unfortunately one of the medications I was on to kill the massive amounts of infection that was in my body, had the side effect of damaging some of my nerve endings. It still remains to be seen whether or not the damage will be permanent. I am doing all I can to promote healing -- but only time will tell. Nerves don't heal quickly. I probably won't know for sure until up to a year from now.
I would be remiss in closing this post if I did not acknowledge all the fasting and prayers that have been done on my behalf. My family and I have fasted and prayed that I might not have to have surgery. My extended family has prayed for me. My ward, and stake leaders have prayed for me. People at work have prayed on my behalf. Even people I have never met before, my blogging friends, have prayed for me! I so appreciate all the prayers and support I have received. I want you all to know that your prayers have been answered. When I was in the hospital, the likelihood of surgery seemed like a foregone conclusion. I believe that it has been the power of the faith and prayers in my behalf that has made the difference. That, and the kind and tender mercies of a loving Heavenly Father.