Crohn’s Holiday Update

Just a short post today to update the status of my Crohn’s (and/or other mystery condition) this holiday season. So far this week my “gut” has been remarkably quiet. I had some problems a week ago – which struck during the annual holiday outing with the office sadly – but I went through all of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day without any incident. This was even after eating popcorn two days in a row (which sometimes seems to cause me issues).

My energy is okay – not too tired, but not too energetic either – and overall I’m okay and think I feel pretty much as a “normal” person without an IBD would feel (not really sure of course).

In other good news the pathology report from my last colonoscopy did come back and the polyp that was removed was deemed to be “hyperplastic” which means, according to the American Cancer Society website at least, that it was benign and nothing to worry about (hurray!).

I am scheduled for what is called a “double balloon endoscopy – colonoscopy” on January 29th. This test is designed to go higher than the previous one, which if you’ll recall came back pretty much normal. There was some “focal distortion,” indicating healed injury, of the Ileocecal valve but the etiology (causes) was not apparent. But, still no definitive proof of Crohn’s. And if surgery is needed it won’t be done without this evidence. Though my doctor does say that there is a 95% chance it is Crohn’s. He is also concerned that the Crohn’s could have become lymphoma over the years and wants to rule this out as well.

Another fun thing, by the way, for Christmas I got an “UP 24” (by Jawbone) to help me monitor my overall fitness. So far after using it for two days I’ve discovered that I don’t walk enough (almost 2,000 steps short yesterday), I eat too much (I told you I was feeling good) and my sleep is restless at best. Hmmmm…like I needed a new app and device to tell me all this! I’m also trying to make better use of the GI Monitor app to better track my IBD symptoms. I’m not doing as well with that as I could. But, I’m off work until Friday, January 2 so I’ve got some time to break in a few new habits.

All in all, I’m looking forward to the New Year.

Onward!

Crohn’s or No Crohn’s – Step 2 Complete (Colonoscopy)

Well, I had my follow-up colonoscopy today. As I mentioned in an earlier post because of my recent CT Scan my gastroenterologist is very sure now that I have Crohn’s. However, since there is evidence of a fistula having formed and because a biopsy have never been taken, he thought it would be good to have another colonoscopy even though I wasn’t scheduled for one until 2020. Turns out, that it was probably a good thing I had it done…but more on that later.

The prep for the procedure was just as exciting and thrilling as I had anticipated. Instead of how I had to prep for the last one four years ago this time I ended up having to drink 128 oz (just under 4 liters) of “GaviLyte-G” a mixture of ingredients designed to really get the bowels moving – and quickly. I started the first round after work at about 5:00 PM. Within about an hour of taking the first four glasses the flood gates opened. Now, my instructions were to drink one glass every 15 minutes until I had 8 glasses (64 oz). What the instructions don’t say is how to keep drinking while you are going. So it took a little longer than anticipated to finish the first round. And let me tell you, even though the stuff didn’t taste that bad I could barely look at that last glass let alone drink it. About 10:00 PM I went to bed to get some sleep before I began round 2 at 1:30 AM. Round 2 took even longer and I was back in bed by 4:00 AM to catch a quick nap before getting up to leave at 6:30 AM for my 7:30 AM appointment.

Check-in at the medical center and the procedure went smoothly. Even though I was still going to the bathroom as late as 7:20 AM – it appears that I finished just in time.

I got the results of the colonoscopy right away – except for the biopsy results which will come later. However, it looks like the doctor found what he expected, evidence of Crohn’s and a fistula (the biopsy will confirm the Crohn’s). But, he also found something unexpected – a sessile polyp. A sessile polyp is one that is fairly flat and without a stalk like other types of polyps. It was 2 mm in size which isn’t very big but larger than we’d like to see. Given that I just had a colonoscopy 4 years ago it seems to me that this polyp formed fairly quickly. The good news is that it was removed and it’s unlikely I need any other treatment for it. However, they will be testing it for cancer. If they find some cancer cells I’m predicting that I’ll be having several more colonoscopies over the next few years. No waiting until 2020 as originally planned. Well, better safe than sorry. Colon cancer is among the most treatable and curable of cancers as long as it is caught early. By the time symptoms occur it’s often too late. So, that’s why it was a good thing that I had this unexpected colonoscopy.

I was pleased that this colonoscopy was conducted with no pain on my part, though I don’t feel that I was completely under at any given time (they used “twilight” drugs so I can only presume that I will now glitter in the sun) and I woke completely up very quickly. Last time I think I was out for most the day – this time I was awake enough to have some breakfast before taking a nice long nap (I was up half the night remember). But, all in all, not a bad experience.

So, to summarize: no colon cancer (this was stressed), possible pre-cancer polyp, evidence of Crohn’s.  More news in 2-4 weeks when those biopsies come back. Hopefully, the polyp was benign but we’ll see.

Onward!