Disclaimer: This post may contain what you consider to be ‘too much information’ and if you are squeamish (or eating) I would advise you to skip it.
I have been rather self absorbed of late. I’ve had a lot on my mind. I said I would eventually blog about it when I have a clearer idea of what is going on myself. This is that blog post.
Quite some time ago (as much as a year) I noticed that I was bleeding internally. I ignored it and hoped that it would go away, but it continued on and off. I decided to go to the doctor to find out why I am so tired and eventually get this out in the open as well. My fear was that they would want to prod and probe and do all sorts of things I was too embarrassed to have done to me. All the time it has been nagging me. I would burst into tears every time the blood appeared again, fearful of what would follow. I sucked it up and went to the doctor. He did quite an uncomfortable examination, but it was over really quickly and it was not painful as I had anticipated it would be. The doctor then calmly asked me for a stool sample (a WHAT?! O.o) and told me he thinks I’m tired all the time because I am depressed. He was about to write me a script for some anti-depressants when I pointed out that we are trying to get pregnant. He promptly crumpled the piece of paper and said ‘No meds for you, go to counselling’. Ja. Not happening. If I could afford counselling, I would already be getting it. That is all. After mulling it over for quite some time I feel that I disagree with that diagnosis and I think I would be the very best judge of that. Anyway, after much griping about method and HTF am I meant to give them what they want I managed to collect and drop off a sample at the doctor. A day later I received a call to say there was blood present and that I had been referred to a specialist as it would need to be investigated. They squeezed me in as soon as they could. Cue panic.
I simply knew that the specialist I was going to see would want to do a colonoscopy. Who wants one of those done? Nobody. That’s who. My grandfather and grandmother had both been to him for scopes before (he was the doctor that discovered my grandfather’s cancer). I decided to power through it and see the specialist, even if I was scared. I started making enquiries with my medical aid about what would be covered, etc. Let me tell you this, medical aids are assholes (no pun intended). I had two options a) have the procedure done in hospital and they would take the first R2600.00 out of my savings for the year and pay the rest out of hospital benefit or b) have the procedure done in the doctor’s rooms and it would be paid in full out of the hospital benefit. When I say ‘paid in full out of hospital benefit’ I mean they would pay up to 100% of the hospital benefit for my plan type. Doctors usually charge 200% +. So I would have a bill to pay either way and with example a) my savings would have a huge dent. I went to see the specialist, he examined me and explained the procedure to me. He gave me the procedure codes and said his office could refer me to another doctor if his methods were considered ‘in hospital’. After spending some time on the phone with the medical aid I realized his method would be option a) and that I would need to choose an alternative route if I wished to spare my savings which we need for the rest of the year. Winter is coming! I called his offices and they referred me to a doctor at the same hospital. I called the new doctor’s offices and said I needed to come for a colonoscopy. They treated the call as if I was making a dentist appointment. The receptionist was so casual about it. They sent me a e-mail with details of the procedure and a break down of the costs. The procedure alone costs around R1800.00 of which the medical aid only covers R800.00. Already R1000.00 out of pocket. I didn’t even bother to enquire about what the medical aid covers for the rest of the costs (equipment, consultation, etc). I would have to foot the bill not matter what it cost. I suppose after the R6000.00 bill I got for the amniocentesis we had done when I was pregnant with Jamie, nothing can scare me now. I mentioned in my previous post that the doctor offered me a 20% discount after calling him and asking what he could do for me, we’ll see how much I have to fork out soon. Then all I had to do was wait till it was time for my procedure
and worry about it and stress and be afraid and cry.
On Monday I was booked off sick to prepare for the procedure. I was dreading it. I’ve heard from various sources who have had the procedure done that the preparation tastes AWFUL. Most doctors recommend Cleenprep…4 litres of awful stuff to drink. I got myself Picoprep which really doesn’t taste bad at all. I had to drink 3 sachets, each with 250ml of water and the rest of the fluid I had to take in was water. My great aunt had spooked me on Sunday with tales of having to go twice if you’re not clean enough, etc and how she had to stop eating two days prior. I did not know this, so decided to eat nothing on Monday and just drink as much water as possible and take the sachets as prescribed. I hate drinking anything. I’m not a drinker. I don’t even drink a lot of stuff I like. If you had to tell me right now I must drink 4 litres of chocolate milk I would tell you to bugger off. I decided to focus and just get it done. I started at 9:00AM and progressed really well. The point of the Picoprep and water is to completely clear out your colon so that the doctor is able to get a clear view of what is going on in there. 1 hour after I had drank the first sachet it started to work. I went to the loo many, many times. I was afraid I would have an accident, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I still had full control and heeded nature’s call whenever it came. The day went by surprisingly quickly, but towards the evening I developed a headache. I was not sure whether or not I could take anything for it and I was not willing to jeapordize the procedure and have to go through it all again, so I left it. I didn’t sleep well at all. The headache haunted me all night, keeping me awake. I’m sure I was nervous as well and this did not help. I woke up early the next morning, before everyone else and lay awake crying. Afraid. In pain. Rudi said something comforting and before I knew it, it was time to go to the doctor.
I reported to his office and filled out all the paperwork. Soon he called me in. He had a warm and inviting manner. I actually preferred him to the previous specialist! We had a short consultation since he had no idea why I had come and discussed the procedure. He walked me through to another room and after I had disrobed and lay on the bed waiting for him, he came back and inserted a drip into my hand. He then gave me some medication through the drip and before long I had fallen asleep to the sound of the heart monitor. Unfortunately my sedation wore off while they were still busy. The doctor was almost finished and whatever he was doing was rather painful. There was a woman in the room who assured me they were almost done. After hurting me about 3 times more they were done. I’m not sure how much time lapsed and it was very sore, but then it was over. They said when I was ready I could get up and lie in the room next door until I felt more awake. I asked them to get up immediately and the lady I mentioned before helped me to the next room (I was a bit unsteady on my feet). I lay down there for a little while and when I felt better I got up and got dressed (still a little unsteady), but I had heard Rudi’s voice in the waiting room and wanted to sit with him.
The receptionist brought me a cheese and tomato sandwhich and a cup of coffee. I was most grateful for some nourishment. Going without food for a day was very difficult for me. I know there are millions that go without food for days at a time and I caught a very small and forgiving glimpse of what that could be like. It’s horrid. We waited a while and we went back in to see the surgeon. He told me that the procedure had gone well and that he had found a polyp of about 2cm in diameter which he had burned off. He was kind enough to show it to me (EWWW). He said that it would be sent away for histology (or biopsy). He said that he expects good news since the polyp was growing on a stalk (like a mushroom) and malignant polyps usually grow over their stalks. It will take about 3 days before I get my test results. The doctor was very hopeful and said he does not expect them to find anything out of the ordinary. I am certain he would not have given me false hope. He was clearly optimistic as if the testing was just a formality. I am positive that he is right and that I will be okay. I need to return for another scope in a year and if I am clear then 5 years after that. The doctor did say he didn’t expect to find a polyp in someone my age, but that fucker is out now and I am really happy about that!
Last night I started feeling nauseous and rather tender inside and out. I assume whatever the doctor had given me had worn off, so I just took meds that I had at home and I was deemed able to return to work on Wednesday.
Now you know what has been going on and why I was so quiet. Now we just wait for the test results.