Friday, March 10, 2017

Hello Colon...We Have A Plan!

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy my Gastro doctor? He's calm and soft voiced, I often feel things are going to get easier, even if it takes time. He's the only doctor that when I walk out the door I leave knowing somehow I'm going to get better.

As most of you know I've been off steroids for a week (wow!). I knew while weaning the closer I got the worse my GI tract would get. After all, steroids are anti-inflammatory and issues that were under control (ie, inflammation in my joints and organs) were about to show themselves. To be honest, I never would have guessed it would be my GI tract, I was more concerned about my joints.

I should have been aware about reflux since my insurance decided to stop paying for PPI's (proton pump inhibitors). For my husband who had never tried an OTC before this is ok, for me, its been a nightmare. I was already on a double dose of prescription meds, we worked hard to find something that would work against my GERD/Hiatal Hernia. I had tried 4 different OTC PPI's/acid reducers without luck. I had two choices left Zegrid and Nexium, I use one or the other for 2 or 3 weeks then it stops working and I change to the other for 2 or 3 weeks. As you might imagine this is not a great way to handle reflux. My stomach is getting worse to the point of losing 10 pounds and not eating until I was starving, then dealing with the consequences.

The consequences? Well, let's talk about my colon. I have IBS, for me it isn't about constipation or diarrhea but about spasms in my abdomen when my colon is angry. The spasms are so strong it feels las if I'm in labor on my left side. They're so bad the day after I have pain in my colon because it spasmed so hard. Like when you work out for the first time after a long time and ache the next few days. All the pain with no benefits from working out. A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with IBS after a 10 day hospital stay where I took 2mg IV morphine every 4 hours for 6 days for cramps/spasms. It was horrible, eventually they figured out it was my colon instead of my kidney (which I had originally thought) and put me on Bentyl. I didn't need morphine after I started on Bentyl ( my doctors were happy). I took Bentyl 4 times a day and eventually every once in awhile I would have spasms, I was able to wean to 2 pills daily

My whole GI tract is angry, top to bottom. My Gastro doc agreed that it's definitely the lack of steroids making things difficult. He had me jump on the table and pushed on three spots (yes, I learned an anatomy lesson, who knew your colon was right under your ribs) each spot had me nearly jumping off the table. He sat me down and told me my colon was angry, when he pushed down it spasmed (I knew that, ouch). Now I'm thinking, yay my body did what it should at the right time, then we made a plan...

What I really like about my doctor is, when you leave his office you have a plan, if that fails, he lets you know what's next, it's unusual. We talked things back and forth, adjusted things that he hadn't thought about and he had ideas I hadn't thought about. It was a collaboration and one I thought I could handle. Here it is, I'll start taking prescription PPI's for 10 days (he gave me samples). This will help my stomach calm down so I can eat. He wants to raise my Bentyl to 4 pills a day and see if my colon settles down. If it continues to be painful I'll call and get a CT Scan of my abdomen, if it doesn't show anything he'll do an upper/lower endoscopy.

What I like about this plan is 10 days to do things the easy way. I was sure I'd be scheduling a scope and when he said lets wait I thought 10 more days, ugh! Thankfully, he gave me options to try during this time. I hope things settle down (I'm not sure what happens when I start back on the OTC PPI I'll worry about that then). The idea of waiting to get my body further into the withdrawal of steroids and give it a chance to start making more cortisol so things settle down on their own.

I can't tell you how excited I am to take the  PPI tonight, I hope soon I'll be eating normally, I have missed vegetables. I never realized how good a salad tastes. One thing I learned today (besides where my colon is) is all of my doctor appointments need to be like this. I'm doing less doctoring, (thank goodness) so when I do get to the office I need to make sure the 15 minutes count. I'll ask for a plan of attack at all my appointments because I have a life, and new goals I want to accomplish. I want to spend and effort on these new ideas instead of wondering what's next in doctoring.

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