It shouldn’t really be too much of a surprise, really it shouldn’t. Colonoscopies are most definitely a big part of getting diagnosed, and living with colonoscopies. Maybe you can think of it as the ultimate test of how your ulcerative colitis is doing. Maybe not the most fun test you’ve ever taken before, but a test none the less.
I’ve had one colonoscopy so far, and today is going to be my second one, and funny enough, I’m looking forward to it. Quite a different story compared to 4 years ago when I was just about to get diagnosed, that’s for sure.
There’s a couple of steps that I decided to take for this colonoscopy which I’m hoping will help the doctor get some really good looks at my inner colon. First, I’ve eaten pretty lightly for the day leading up to the actual scope. Yesterday, I didn’t stop and eat at the Mexican restaurant, and I didn’t make up a big fat steak or burger for dinner. Instead, I had some chicken soup last night, that my wife thankfully prepared for me. Nothing special, but there will be plenty of time for some good food later on after this little procedure is taken care of.
The whole process is nothing to be scared of. I can say that now since I’ve already been diagnosed with UC, and I know that life after a UC diagnosis is not the end of the world. You want to know what’s really going on inside, even if you’ve been in denial with strange symptoms for years and years, or only a few days, I’m sure you’ll feel better after a doctor takes the camera up inside of you and checks out what’s really going on.
Simply follow the colonscopy preparation procedures (This time I’m taking one called MoviPrep from a company called Salix) and try to enjoy the forced bathroom bowel movements when they start happening.
Best of luck,
A few days ago I announced via Facebook that I’d be running a “Prednisone Survey” which was actually just some questions about people’s use of prednisone/prednisolone steroids while fighting ulcerative colitis symptoms. What I had no idea about was how many people would actually be interested in participating in this sort of survey. But it makes total sense, so many of us who are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis end up dealing with prednisone as a medication at some point in our life. As it turns out, there are people from the prednisone survey who have been dealing with Colitis for over 10 years and using prednisone for about half that time! That’s unbelievable to me, I don’t know how they can continue on that medication for so long especially considering the side effects that it has.
Some of the questions from the steroid survey were based on side effects that people noticed and that list is quite impressive. Many people had very similar if not identical side effects, which was not surprising. Also, many people noted that the side effects did not always go away as was the case for the overwhelming majority of prednisone users. A select few seem to be still dealing with either the medication or the side effects. Some women report increased facial hair, others reported rapid weight gain, and many others.
I would encourage anyone to read the full results at IHAVEUC which you can find here: PREDNISONE SIDE EFFECTS SURVEY.
For all of the patients who are testing out different medications to help and treat their ulcerative colitis symptoms, there might come a time where you are prescribed Remicade. This is a very strong immune suppressing medication that is often prescribed to UC patients when other medications like steroids, and Asacol, Colazal, Sulfasalazine and several others are not helping.
After taking a remicade infusion, it is administered much the same way as other infusions and chemotherapy drugs, you very well may notice positive affects within just hours or a few days. Other patients it takes several days to notice positive effects from Remicade.
For another group of patients who use Remicade, there are no positive affects and remicade does not work on their ulcerative colitis. This group of patients often visits with a gastroenterologist who will talk about other treatment options, a common treatment at this point is called Humira. This is another immune suppressant which works in a similar way as Remicade. Some patients who do not have good luck with Remicade have better luck with Humira.
At this point though, everything is going to depend on the patient’s symptoms of colitis. If the patient is very severe with their symptoms and is feeling horrible and there is a fear from the doctor that the colon might rupture, there is always a possibility of having surgery. And, this possibility is not a negative one. In-fact, most patients who do have surgery to remove all or part of their colon are so happy afterwards, they wish it happened long before.
One other option that has not been talked about yet is a much more simple option. It is the use of a radically different diet to treat the ulcerative colitis symptoms. Many people have found that by simply eliminating certain types of foods, they can begin to control the bacteria that is causing the problems within the colon walls. Eliminating things like breads and alcohol for example along with certain dairy products has proved time and time again useful in treating ulcerative colitis. You can read more about these types of diet options at http://ihaveuc.com/the-diet.
It is pretty difficult to say there is a standard situation for anyone who is getting ready to try a new medication to treat ulcerative colitis. With Remicade, that is definitely true as well. In reviewing and looking at all of the different stories from people living with UC and also taking remicade to control symptoms, there are so many different outcomes. Many people who I follow say that Remicade was the wonder drug for them and it helped them finally achieve remission from their UC. Other people have mixed results and yet other people do not receive any benefit from the drug therapy.
For quite a few ulcerative colitis patients who are using Remicade, one relatively common response is with regards to the timing and requency of the infusions. Many people say that their symptoms seem to relapse before the are scheduled for their next infusion and that once they get the next infusion things get better again. Some people in the medical community believe that patients build up an immunity to Remicade and that is why the benefits are sometimes not forever.
If you are one of those types of patients who is having symptoms re-occur in-between infusions, you should definitely let your doctor know. There might be something they can do to speed up the frequency of treatments which just might help you avoid the feeling of a new ulcerative colitis flare up taking place.
Back in the early days after my Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis, I was getting ready to take a ton of different drugs to help treat my disease. I surely had no idea of the long list of medications that I would eventually try, and I also had no idea how long each one would be in the trial phase either.
When the months kept on moving along and the “current” medication wasn’t proving useful for me, I found myself prescribed Humira for my colitis symptoms. I must admit, my memory is a little bit foggy, but I definitely had some joint pain which might have been arthritis problems previously, but it was very minor and nothing that restricted my upper body movements. That would all change pretty quickly after starting to take the Humira injections.
It was just a few weeks into the medications that my joints in my upper body and mostly my arms and shoulders and chest became so inflamed that it was very hard and painful to move at all. I felt like I was not just walking but living on eggshells all the time. One wrong movement could send me into some pretty severe pain. It was only the Vicodin pain medications which gave me relief from this. And of course all along my UC symptoms were raging on pretty nasty as well. What used to be a simple task of going in and out of the bathroom for my one of many bowel movements each day was now a majorly painful task to complete.
It was a very strange time in my life. Trying to fight off one auto-immune disease and then realizing that you are actually fighting off arthritis which is another similar auto-immune disease is tough. I wish the Humira had helped my symptoms more, but in the end, I decided along with my gastroenterologist doctor to stop the medication completely. I think it was a good decision, who knows what I would be writing about if I continued.
Some related links:
Joint Pains with UC