Archives for: July 2011
My horrible experience with a colonoscopy 6 years ago was 80% the doctor’s fault and 20% my fault. I made sure that a lot of things were different this time.
First I got a new doctor! He came highly recommended by friends, and he was wonderful.
Things the doctor did differently.
He used a different prep procedure.
Six years ago my last normal meal was in the evening two days before the colonoscopy. The next morning I was allowed clear liquids only. I tend to be a little hypoglycemic, and this was really hard on my system. I was hungry, irritable, weak, and had a headache.
This time beginning 3 days before the colonoscopy I wasn’t supposed to eat nuts, beef, or raw fruits and vegetables. I could have all of the poultry, fish cooked vegetables, and cooked fruit that I wanted. There were plenty of beneficial choices. The morning 24 hours before the colonoscopy I couldn’t have solid food, but I could have dairy products. This got enough protein into my system to sustain me until lunchtime. It was only clear liquids after that, but I was ok. No headache. No weakness. No snapping at my husband.
This doctor divided the colon cleaning medication into two steps. It took longer, but it was less violent and less stressful. He recommended adding crystal light to the preparation to make it taste better. I did not do that because of the aspartame. It tends to give me a headache and it irritates my digestive system. The goal was to keep my digestive system happy.
This anesthesia was milder. Six years ago I woke up groggy after the procedure. I slept most of the afternoon. My stomach was cramping. I wasn’t thinking clearly. This time the anesthesiologist said I would be fully awake in 9 minutes. I remember everything the doctor said in recovery. I slept for about an hour when I got home, but after that I was up and moving around. The one time I got a crampy feeling I walked outside, and it went away. I was thinking clearly enough to work on the computer.
Things I did differently
My instructions that said I could have dairy products, including pudding and ice cream for breakfast the morning 24 hours before the colonoscopy. Having ice cream for breakfast was tempting, but I wanted to keep my digestive system happy and dairy definitely makes it unhappy. I decided to make boiled custard with almond milk. Recipe is here . As I drank two cups, I knew the eggs were really good for me. I had more custard for breakfast the morning after the procedure. Delicious, filling, sustaining.
The best choices I made for clear liquids the rest of the day were Blue Sky Ginger Ale, Blue Sky Crème Soda, Welches White Grape and Peach Juice, and Vitamin Water Lemonade. All of those tasted good and kept my blood sugar steady.
I was allowed broth, and I got really excited at the grocery store when I found organic beef broth with no avoid ingredients. I thought that would be nourishing, but I really didn’t like it. It was salty and it didn’t have as many calories as the other drinks. When I have to do this again in 5 years, I will skip the broth.
Both doctors said I could eat anything I wanted after the colonoscopy. In my opinion this is very bad advice! Six years ago I took it literally. I was very hungry when I woke from my first nap. I had leftover beneficial food in the refrigerator. I ate lamb and sweet potatoes and broccoli. It tasted so good. It made me feel good…at first. But it was too much for an empty and irritated digestive system. How much of the cramping and fever were a result of this heavy meal and how much were a result of the doctor’s incompetence I’ll never know. But I wound up in the hospital.
This time I treated myself as if I had just gotten over a stomach virus. My first meal was apple sauce. I had rice flour bread to made toast with ghee. I ate vegetable soup mid afternoon and chicken & rice soup for dinner.
The next day I expanded my food selections, but stayed with easy to digest food. I had custard with applesauce and bananas for breakfast the next morning. Eggs and rice toast for lunch. By dinner time I was starting cooked vegetables.
I have a bottle of Type O probiotic. I took one on both the day of the colonoscopy and the day after.
By Friday I was eating everything but nuts, beef, broccoli, and raw vegetables. Even though I felt totally normal, waited another day before I started those hard to digest foods.
Maybe someday there will be a non invasive colon inspection. Until then, by following these steps, I won’t be afraid.
If you have been avoiding a medical test, because you are afraid of getting bad results, this blog is for you. If you think the BTD will protect you from medical problems and you don’t need medical tests, this blog is for you, too.
Those who have been reading my blog since the beginning, may remember that I had a horrible experience with a colonoscopy six years ago. You can look through the archives if you want to know all the gory details, but to quickly summarize, the doctor removed what he thought was a polyp, but it turned out to be “something vascular.” I wound up back in the hospital for tortuous tests to make sure he had not perforated my colon. That was followed by two weeks on three antibiotics all of which cause nausea and diarrhea. It was a month before my digestive tract was healed.
Afterwards the doctor told me I would need another colonoscopy in 5 years. I laughed derisively at him. At that moment I thought I would do anything rather than subject myself to another colonoscopy. I still felt that way when the 5 years were up. My primary care doctor was sympathetic, and did a non invasive test to make sure there was nothing critical going on inside me.
There are colon issues in my family. My grandmother died from colon cancer when she was 79. My mother had a large precancerous polyp removed when she was 85. In addition, I knew two people with colon cancer this year. One died. The other is having success with radiation and chemo therapy. I had to face reality and be responsible.
I had a colonoscopy yesterday morning. I recovered quickly, and today I am feeling 90% normal. Getting the colonoscopy was the right thing to do. The doctor found and removed two polyps. Both were small and looked harmless. I won’t know for two weeks whether they are the truly benign type or the type that can become cancerous. But whatever the results of the pathology, I was wrong to think that I could avoid this medical test.
I know people who avoid going to the dentist, having a mammogram, getting a prostate screen, checking their cholesterol, etc. because they are afraid of the results. This does not make any sense at all. Get the test. If there is a problem, get treatment early.
I wanted to avoid this test because the previous test had been such a horrible experience. Statistically, I knew that the problems I had the first time were very rare, and were highly unlikely to happen again. Still I was afraid. I had to say to myself – “get over it!”
There was also the temptation to say, “I follow a health building diet. I eat all the right food. I exercise. I’m immune to bad things like polyps or cancer.” While I credit the BTD, healthy eating, and exercise with my having more energy and fewer health complaints than most people my age, I am not invincible. Genetics certainly plays a role. Plus in this fallen world, body parts inevitably wear out. How foolish to be responsible about eating right but irresponsible about screening tests!
I want to share some things that made this colonoscopy better than the previous one, but today’s blog is long enough. I’ll post Part II this weekend. There will also probably be a Part III about what the doctor recommends for polyp prevention.
I do not know if it’s my age or my body type, but I do NOT like low waisted pants, and I do NOT like capris. That has made shopping for summer shorts very difficult in the past few years.
I am a combination body type. The top half of me is like a Hunter - sinewy, boney, and lean. The bottom half of me is more like a Gatherer - I carry weight in my legs and thighs. Capris make me my legs look terrible. Low cut pants focus attention away from my best physical asset, which is my tiny waist.
Fashion designers do not care about my preferences. Capris and low riding pants have been the style for several years. I know I am not alone. Friends my age complain all the time about low waisted pants and shorts. Rather than buying clothes that make me look bad, I have continued to wear my old clothes. Some of my favorite shorts have been around for five to six years. They are beginning to show their age.
I cannot tell you how many stores I have visited looking for shorts. This year I have been on a campaign. Everywhere I have gone, JC Penney, Academy, Bealls, Old Navy, Izod, Van Heusen, Macys, I have told the department manager, “My friends and I do not like these low riding pants! If you will stock clothes with real waists, we will shop!” Sometimes they say, “We just get what the buyers send us.” Sometimes their eyes glaze over.
Kohls sent me a $10 gift card in the mail. This afternoon I drove to the nearest Kohls and surprise, surprise. I found shorts with waists where they are supposed to be. OK, they are a little lower than my ideal, but they are flattering. If you have a body style like mine, look for Croft & Barrow Classic Fit.
To the other stores - I told you that if I ever found clothes that fit, I was ready to shop. I bought six pairs…and tops to match.
My Honorable Husband was doing some research about a vacation we hope to take in the fall. One day we want to take a scenic train ride. He said, “Uh oh, you’re not going to like this.”
The website states emphatically that you were not allowed to bring food or water on the train. They sell drinks and box lunches. They do not want any outside competition.
I called the toll free number. I was very nice, and my tone of voice was friendly. I said that we were looking forward to our train ride in the fall.
Then I said, “I am on a wheat free and preservative free diet. Will you be able to provide me with a box lunch that meets my needs?”
She quickly said that they would not be able to make me a special lunch, but that I could bring my food in my purse. If anyone questioned me I should just tell them that I am on a special diet.
I like it when people are accommodating. I like it when those in customer service know when to bend the rules. This is not always the case. Sometimes I talk to people who are rigid and irritable.
This morning’s conversation makes me look forward all the more to our fall trip. I’m thinking chicken and asparagus sounds good for a train ride.
Okra is beneficial for both Type Os and Type As – but my Honorable Husband doesn’t usually like it. I think okra is wonderful cooked in a small skillet with just a little ghee or olive oil. But HH will have nothing to do with it. “Too much slime,” he says.
One time when DD and ESS were here for the weekend, we had been off on an afternoon adventure. We arrived home right at dinner time, and we were all hungry. I sent DD and ESS to the freezer with instructions to find a vegetable that everyone would like. They came back with a bag of okra. This did not look promising for HH.
There is a brand of pasta sauce that I really like. It uses olive oil instead of the cheaper oils, has no added sugar, and no preservatives. It is Classico Tomato & Basil. I poured a jar of Classico over the okra and started cooking.
For the Type Os, it was all beneficial or neutral. For the Type As, there were tomatoes to contend with. HH loves tomatoes. He eats them freely when we are away from home. If he turns out to be a non secretor (which could easily happen based on his sinus problems and his tendency to like larger portions of flesh foods) tomatoes would be neutral for him. I don’t buy fresh tomatoes, but I don’t deprive him of pasta sauce either. DD, who does not like tomatoes and who is strict on herself about avoids, was having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so she wasn’t going to eat the okra anyway.
Okra cooked on pasta sauce was delicious. It reminded me of the okra & tomato dish my mother used to cook when I was young, but the Italian seasoning gave it more zip.
This has become a favorite for both HH and me. In fact, I cooked it earlier this week. Yesterday’s lunch was the last of the Classico okra and the last of a leg of lamb mixed together in a bowl.
A lady in our neighborhood was told by her doctor that she needed to start an exercise program. But she has mobility and joint issues that keep her from participating in most normal forms of exercise. What to do? Last summer she bought a set of water aerobic CDs and asked a few friends to join her at the pool 5 mornings a week. The group has grown to 15 – 20 women. One of my friends goes 2-3 days a week and has been after me to give it a try.
I went yesterday, had a lot of fun, and did indeed get my heart rate up. When there are beads of sweat on my brow while the rest of me is cool in the water, I know I am working hard. The exercises aren’t particularly difficult to do, and the CD is easy to follow. The water adds resistance which makes the exercises more strenuous. The water also buoys you up so there is no stress on your joints.
The thing that impressed me the most is the initiative of the woman who started the group. She didn’t make excuses about why she couldn’t exercise. She is not a fitness expert, but she found a program that is effective and safe. She organized this herself, rather than waiting for a gym or the Y to start a class. Though she still has health issues, she is noticeably more mobile than she was last summer when I met her at a party. She has not only helped herself, but she is also helping her friends as well as a growing circle of other residents.
I like a lot of variety in my exercise schedule, so I won’t be at water aerobics 5 days a week; but I hope to be part of the group once a week for the rest of the summer.