Friday, May 29, 2009

Anniversary of sorts

One year ago, last Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of my first colonoscopy. (And last colonoscopy, given that I no longer have a colon). It had been many years in the coming.

Before hand, the GI told me he was very confident he would not find anything. He had mentioned before hand that if in fact it was cancer, then I would already be dead. Great.

For some reason, I have a very high tolerance to the knock you out drugs they use before these procedures. (Anyone else have some LL Cool J now stuck in their heads? Or is that just me?) They tend to have a difficult time getting me out and then keeping me out. It is a common occurrence for the nurse to say “Oh my, you’re still awake?!”. This colonoscopy was no different.

I was very conscious at the start of the procedure. I was interested in watching the TV screen, where the camera that is inside you projects what it sees. I wanted to see what was going on in there too. But very early on the Dr. exclaimed “HOLY . . . OH MY . . . “ And then the nurse said “Oh dear . . .” and then blocked my view until the latest does of drugs kicked in.

When I awoke (great now I have that Phish song in my head) in the recovery room my mother-in-law, Becky was there waiting for me. Scott couldn’t be there due to his job, plus we didn’t think we were going to find anything so. . . well . . . definitive. Even though I was groggy to all get out, I knew the instant the doc walked into the room that he did in fact found something. The way he pulled up a chair, the way he looked at me, his voice. Then those pictures. He said he normally only takes 3 pictures. He took 30. You could not deny the pictures. Hundreds upon hundreds of the monstrous, ugly, things growing inside me (and man did that thought creep me out for months to come!)

Thank God Becky was there with me. At this point, my brain checked out. The doc now sounded like the teacher on Peanuts. But Becky was there, taking in everything that my brain no longer would. Thank you Becky. You have been there for me since day one of this journey!

Contrary to what previous post may have lead you to believe I am not a big prayer, only when I am scared really. I prayed before this colonoscopy, even though I don’t remember really being scared. Apprehensive maybe. I told God, I just wanted a name, a word, a reason why I had the problems I had. I didn’t want to go through the procedure and then have the doc say he still had no idea what was causing everything. I think I need to be more careful what I pray for, or maybe how I word it at least.


Christina said...

I can't believe it has been a year and look where you are now. Definitely a better place. You're doing great!

Aunt Deb and Family said...

Wow Steph a YEAR! What a journey you have had in one year, ehy? I hope you never have to travel a road like that again.
Much Love, Aunt Deb

Kierin said...

I just stumbled upon your blog yesterday, while doing a random google search on FAP. I first googled "FAP" in September of 2007, when I was told after a surprising colonoscopy that it was highly probably I had FAP. I do have it, and like you its the first in my family - a spontaneous mutation.

I've only gone randomly through your blog, haven't had the time to go through chronologically or very thoroughly... But this post struck me, as my initial colonoscopy was very similar. In my case, though, I was conscious through the entire thing, but told I'd probably suffer "short term memory loss" and not remember it.

They were wrong. I remember the whole thing. I watched the screen the entire time, I couldn't have peeled my eyes from it even if I wanted to. I only had about 100 polyps, but they were larger than typical FAP polyps. It looked like a mushroom patch growing in my colon. I'll never forget the first words my GI doc spoke, "Interesting... This wasn't supposed to be interesting." That instant I knew we were heading down a rougher than usual road.

My brother just so happens to be an anesthesiologist at that very same hospital.

My husband was the only one who knew I was having the scope. I kept my head hung low so I wouldn't see my brother while I was there. We too, were expecting it to be nothing too serious. I didn't want to freak my family out over nothing. We too, were wrong.

My path has differed slightly from yours, they were able to save my rectum and amazingly I had no polyps in my duodenum or stomach. I have a very distinct memory of when my brother called with the pathology results of my 35+ colon polyp biopsies. He said, "I have some great news for you..." and I interrupted by yelling into the phone, "I get to keep my rectum?!?!" ...Never in my life did I ever imagine I'd say anything like that in conversation with my brother. Since that moment, my "Too Much Information Filter" has been completely obliterated.

Unfortunately, cancer was detected in my colon three days after surgery (but not in any pre-op biopsies), so I did the pre-emptive chemo to go after any "rogue cells". Naturally when I finished chemo (on June 25, 2008), my husband and I threw a pig roast "Chemo-Free Party" to thank my wonderful friends and family. We hosted our second annual pig roast two weeks ago. I'm still cancer and chemo free (and 95% colon-free, I consider my rectum the remaining 5%)... but I now have a lovely desmoid tumor that is very rare, but more common in female FAP patients. No pain, just a thorn in my side. Otherwise, I am healthy and active and living life to the fullest.

I apologize for the lengthy post... I look forward to exploring your blog more and please do not hesitate to contact me if you'd ever like to compare and contrast or anything of that sort.