Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Tuesday, March 6, 2007 -- Colonoscopy

Dear Bloggy,

Yes, today was the day... the day of the dreaded colonoscopy. Not only was I a tad bit anxious because of the past two experiences with the sigmoidoscopies (read: PAIN during the prepping and PAIN during the procedures... not to mention after the second one, that's when there was the start of the strong suspicion of cancer), but this would be the first full colonoscopy that I had and it would reveal if there were any more tumours throughout the intestine and/or polyps (pre-cancerous growths). Now, I have been putting my power of thought and visualization to work since we found out that I DID have that large cancerous tumour and kept visualizing and thinking that once Dr. Brown did the surgery, then there was no doubt in my mind that he got the nasty cancer and the rest of my intestine would prove to be clear, fine, and healthy. Of course, we had to wait at least 8 weeks from the surgery before we could do this procedure because the surgical area needed a good headstart on healing... hence, we had it scheduled for today.

Well, for starters, the prep of drinking the phosphate soda last night was not nearly as traumatic as it had been the last two times. No pain, no fuss, nothing. I was just fine... sure makes a huge difference not having a tumour and infection in your intestine to make things difficult :) The worst part of the prep is having to be on a clear liquid diet, no solid food. I didn't notice that as being a problem last time, but then I wasn't eating at the time. Now I'm back to having a healthy appetite, so going without food is hard!

It was a gorgeous, sunny, warm day today, but I decided to play it safe and took the bus up the hill 9 blocks to the hospital. Normally, I would walk it, but after having had the phosphate soda last night and this morning, I decided not to push it (grin). That's all I'd need is to be 5 blocks from the hospital with no loo in sight and that's when I'd need one (grin).

They were running a tad bit behind time, so luckily I brought a book with me. I was content to sit in the waiting room with my book and while away the time. I was still feeling great... totally different from the last two times I was there. Those times, I was in so much pain, was dehydrated and by then, malnutritioned.

Finally they call my name and in I go to get changed, then the nurse took me to the room. She was busy trying to find a vein for my IV, when Dr. Brown came in. Have I mentioned how much of a hero this man is to me?? He is not like any other surgeon I've ever met... other surgeons have been good at their job but have absolutely no bedside manner, which can really make a patient feel uncomfortable. Dr. Brown was genuinely happy to see me again and couldn't get over how good I looked, my colouring, and overall signs of health. He then checked my surgical incision and said that he was super pleased with how well it is now healing. He told me not to worry... that stubborn two inches that has done a lot better but still isn't closed up yet, not only will it close up nicely, but with time it will end up being a very thin scar (hahaha... as if I am ever going to be wearing a bikini or anything to show off my gut!) LOL!!!

He had such a big smile on his face and told me that, without a doubt, I'm the strongest/toughest woman he has ever met to have overcome the pain, surgery and complications I had thrown at me... and my attitude was beyond anything he ever expected from a patient who has gone through what I went through (do you see why I love this man??) He said that he wasn't sure I realized just how sick I was back in December, that even he was surprised at how large the tumour was and that I was still walking and functioning. I questioned that the surgery was longer than he had planned, wasn't it, and he said "Oh yes... much longer! There were some challenges that we hadn't counted on and we certainly put you through the wringer." Hahaha... I told him I had thought so because I can really remember the agony I felt when I woke up in recovery... and then the next day. He apologized and said he was concerned about that, but that I did handle it like a champ... and blew the whole team away when I was up and walking within 48 hours of the surgery and able to go home a week after the surgery. He thought I might be at the hospital for 3-4 weeks after the surgery. Now, seeing me walk in, even though it is two months later, he says I'm a whole different person from the person he met when I was so deathly ill. I asked about a few pains I feel now and again deep inside my gut and if those are normal for this long after surgery and he said that he's amazed I don't feel more... that it will take some months for the insides to heal totally... so that was reassuring.

Anywho... once the nurse finally got the IV in (it was being difficult of course), our little chit chat had to change to the procedure at hand. I asked if there'd be some sort of sedation... after all, it's not like I invite pain or discomfort. And he said of course... and put two syringes of meds into the IV. Ha! Here I thought I was going to get a free trip to lala-land, compliments of the government... but darn ding it... just like when I had the PortaCath put in, the sedation did absolutely nothing for me (grin). I wasn't anxious so maybe it helped there, but while I was talking with Dr. Brown any anxiety went away anyways... so, yes, I was wide, wide awake and totally coherent for the whole procedure.

Well, I guess that's a good thing because I got to see the whole thing for myself and ask questions. Not a polyp in sight... and not a tumour to be found!!! YAYAYAYAYA!!! The whole large intestine was totally clear and all healthy tissue!! This is the big relief I have been waiting for... and what I've been visualizing since I was told I had cancer. I know a lot of you out there have been praying and visualizing the same thing and this just goes to show it does work!

After the procedure, I had to go back to the "recovery" room... normally it would be the assistant nurse who would roll the bed from the scopy room to the recovery room where the nurses' station is. But, I had my own personal chauffeur, Dr. Brown! We had a good laugh over that. I thanked him for all he's done for me and he held my hand and said that it was his pleasure to help such a wonderful patient and he'd be more than happy to do any of my followup work. I won't need a colonoscopy for 3 years now (yayayayaya) but will need a smaller procedure in 6 months. Where the intestine was rejoined is a vulnerable area with this kind of cancer. If it is going to recur, then this would be a high risk area, so he will check it in 6 months (and probably every 6 months for a few years). We had a good chuckle over, although it would be nice to see each other often, in reality, let's not plan on it!! LOL!!! I love a doctor with a great sense of humour!!

Anywho... all the other patients around me, who had the same procedure, really looked out of it. Some were still out of it, others were feeling sick, some moaning... one would almost think that we were in a sick ward or something!! The nurse came over to me and said, "Well, you are bright eyed and wide awake... did you have sedation for your procedure?" I said yes, but I don't think it took (grin). She said, "Oh well, policy is policy... you are going to have to stay in our care for half an hour for it to start wearing off, even though it looks like you haven't had any, and then you can have a snack before you can go home. Do you have someone coming to pick you up?" I told her that my friend, Mimi, would come, but that I told her someone or I would call her when I was ready to go. Mimi and I had already decided that she would walk up since it was a beautiful day and then we'd take a cab home. This was when I thought I'd be groggy and out of it. Ha!! I was totally fine... and it was so mild outside, when Mimi got there, the two of us walked home. I laughed and told her that, just like after the PortaCath insertion, I thought I could drive myself home and now after this procedure, I could definitely have walked home on my own. I just don't seem to be able to respond to drugs/meds the way others do (grin).

Anywho... I'm home now and have been since about 3pm. I cancelled my neighbours taking Bridget out for her afternoon walkie, because I was doing just fine. I told them that I'm not going to abuse the privilege and I'm sure there will be many days in the future when I might need their Bridget walkie help... so I took the little Diva myself.

Now, tonight is a night of American Idol and House... and I can enjoy them knowing that I'm off to a good start before we start the chemo and radiation therapies. The way I am looking at it... if I am just not responding to meds like the "average expectation" I visualize being the same with the chemo and radiation. Oh sure, I'm not being unrealistic... there will be some rough days but I plan on there being way more GOOD days than bad days. I just refuse to be one of the average stats :)



Kathy said...

YAY! What fabulous news! Healthy visualization does work!!



Bonnie said...

That is wonderful! I thought about you all day yesterday, glad all went well!!!!

Debi said...

You're my hero, Cheryl! Glad all went well. One of my email addresses is messed up, use the work one for now.