Monday, November 21, 2011

Worry, Faith, and My Colonoscopy

I looked-up how to spell the word, "colonoscopy." Blogger is underlining it which means I've spelled it wrong...oh well. I learned something today by trying to spell a FUN procedure. The very first Google Search revealed the first item pulled-up... a doctor stating that, "Do not fear to check your rear." and right after was the next entry was to "Get Your Rear In Gear." Actually, that little rhyme may be a title of the Doctor's book. Great.

My picture at the top is absolutely, positively me. It really should be on my car as a bummer sticker, but Steve drives my FJ a lot. My confession with this blog post is that all of my problems with my system have me convinced that I definitely show an indication I have something abnormal going-on in my gut. The interesting thing is that the first colonoscopy that I had when I was 49, was way too easy. I was in the hospital a minimal amount of time and done. The prep wasn't a bit upsetting to me and I knew ahead of time what to expect. I had a wonderful doctor that I completely trusted and even though a gastroenterologist.... he's the doctor that finally found my murmur or mitral-valve regurgitation of my heart. How could any other doctor top him?

My dear husband reassured me to not worry this time. He told me that all the medications were the same as the first time, my weight is lighter, and I exercise regularly. My system runs the same as always. Really? I'm so unsure that I'm the same as before especially a lot older.

My first scheduled appointment had to be postponed because I fell out on the asphalt carrying a bunch of puppy food in a round, plastic trashcan lid. It's hard to describe my fall. I need to learn to never assume that what I learned in 4th grade was the proper way to carry anything. Over and over, as little kids, we were told... as we went to our assemblies to carry our wooden chairs safely in front of us. I can say after 4th grade, every time I have ever carried anything in front of me... I have fallen down. I never got it and it had to be that the teachers were just saving space, not safety-minded. If you can't see what's in front of your feet--you're NOT safe. I hope I remember. No more "age amnesia!"

The accident was very fast. I fell off of a step and then fell over the board that kept the puppies in the stall. My toes came out of my shoe and became caught under the gate. Quick-as-a-blink, I hit the pavement with my leg as a fulcrum. Added to that ... and I know this can't even be visualized, I fell with a twist. I also conked-my-noggin' but, my pelvis was the problem. Oh, my leg was a problem and my toes, too. I think when you hurt something, the place that hurts the most, is the only injury a person thinks they have. I hurt more in the place that if I had colonoscopy too soon, it would've caused me unnecessary pain. Postponement was the only alternative. Great! Now I have time to set-up a "worry-counsel" with myself.

I decided the Sunday before my procedure to have a "blessing" to help calm my nerves and give me the comfort I needed to go ahead a prepare for the screening. I asked a dear friend that mentioned in passing that a resection of my intestines would mean that I would completely have to change my meals and life-style. Gasp! he knows. Now, looking back ... I'm not sure he knew what kind of test I was going to obtain, but I took what he said way too seriously. This isn't going to turn-out well.

I have had in my mind that I have finished my journey
here on earth. This is my thought process -- 

  • I have been released from my callings and for the only time in my whole 42 years, I wasn't given another job in Church and we are a very small ward.
  • I've done lots of genealogy and I'm at a stand-off with the brick-wall that inevitably occurs at some point. Now, one of my children has shown a great interest in helping me continue the work in finding my ancestors and thankfully it thrills me to be able to pass some work over to her that she wants so desperately to do, herself. My daughter gained an aunt that works for when she married Matt. 
  • I was told once that I was "spared" to receive the "Word of the Lord" and it was meant literally, and I asked. "Literally" So thinking about that...I did receive and acted upon knowing I needed to be baptized and become a member of the true church. I was married in the Temple, love my family and I had asked to receive that great blessing and all of those great blessings were granted to me. However, I'm where all of my children are adults, some already with their own children and married and on their own. My mothering-time is over.
  • I'm alone most days because my husband's work at the fire station is unending. He truly has to work every day that he has time off on his CERT and city job. I fit-in just a bit.
My conclusion came when I saw the "everything works-out in the end" sign and I saved it and thought, "Well, why not?" My Relief Society lesson the Sunday before my procedure was to be prepared for the "end-times." No pun intended, I mean like my life is now closing. The whole lesson I'm thinking, "Whew! I'm glad I gave my testimony when I did" that morning. I guess I'm prepared and had felt the presence of the Spirit that day. I knew Heavenly Father was watching over me.

Yep, I've been taking care of my mother, but she 
does have her other children.***Deep Breath***

People I know really well that are my age are dying everyday. I know, because Steve comes home and says, "John and I killed only 11 people today." Do I know them? I don't ask ... I'm just stating we live in a small town and yes, I do find-out and I know when I read the paper and line-up the days. I feel his regret in not having success each time the engine pulls-out and his sadness each time there isn't a "save". Still thinking ... it seems everywhere I turn, someone is talking about colon cancer, even on my Twitter account.

I left the doctor's appointment and while climbing in my car I figured that my new "distant" doctor must do colonoscopies because she can't have a family practice. I asked her for reassurance and comfort. She said tersely, "I'll give you a report on my findings when I return." She told me of just a few procedures that didn't have a good outcome, like I was a statistic. The appointment desk assistant quietly said the doctor was going to the East Coast for Thanksgiving." Nooooooo.

I Shouldn't Be have been Judging her
I tried really hard to not worry after my swimming class on Wednesday and my appointment at the hospital was Friday. All of my friends that are there in my class told me not to worry at all, especially my dear friend Vicky, who had some problems that were "taken-care-of" and Vicky is in absolutely in great health, now. "Don't worry." was instead of good-byes from all of them.

I spent all my Thursday on caring for my mother and way more so than usual. I immersed myself in her care. My day was filled with home-cooked meals, finding vitamins she could take, helping her with the channels on the television, cleaning and fixing things she needed, and then talking to her about our family. My mom didn't know about my colonoscopy. She said out-of-the-clear-blue, "Did you know your Grandma Wellman died from complications when she had a colonoscopy?" "WHAT?" "She didn't die from a stroke?" I instantly thought a word that means same as "crap" but starts with an "s".

I didn't talk much after that and I think that "nervous non-jabber" upset my husband because he knows what my usual "M.O." is the just the opposite before any event in my life. I couldn't talk even on the way to the hospital. I just sang in my head the song, "Lead Kindly Light" our practice hymn for this month. I mean, months. We haven't got the timing right yet. As the song flowed...and I can sing good in my head... I was grateful for the extra rehearsals. Now I know "Lead Kindly Light" by heart. I needed it. I reminded myself that by tomorrow all of this will be over.

"What me worry?" I had mention that because even though not too many people know or remember ... but if you're over 60, there was  Mad Magazine. Honest, I only read it at my friend's house! Honest.  I had said I was a little worried and Steve looked at me like I was crazy. Worry? And this boy's face jumped into my head. Alfred E. Newman's face made me smile. I hadn't thought of this since the 1970's.

So dang ... What happened? 

My husband, a former bishop, attended our "Linger-Longer" Thanksgiving dinner after church this past Sunday. I stayed home because I was so sore, I couldn't walk. Steve was on-duty but was invited for free dinner with the firefighters. My Steve was taking my food assignment to the building. It was one of those "eat and run" stops, no visiting because he was working. I don't miss church, so everyone was concerned that I wasn't AT Church. Only two others knew of my hospital test. "Where's Susan?" "Oh, Susan... she had the colonoscopy from Hell."
I Entered The Hospital Bravely

At the time, I wished it had been a lot different. The medication to calm and make me drowsy, didn't work. The nurses changed shifts and didn't look at my medications, I take everyday. I had trouble with my rolling veins ... I should've gone home. The actual test didn't go well because my doctor was behind schedule and in the rush--- the scope became tangled, my intestines were longer than she thought, had lots of tight-turns, and the more she rushed the longer it took and she pushed-on harder and harder. The last straw was when she administered even more gas inside me. I saw myself on TV, I was a balloon, and rising. The process was over an hour of pure torture. The additional gas was where I hit "critical mass".

I hurt more than birthing any of my children, (all born Lamaze method w/o anesthesia and even more than the induced one, and the few over 10 pounds) I yelled, "STOP!" "I'm going to explode!"

The Doctor stopped and she pulled the scope-out not so gently, and said "Fine, you'll finish your procedure over at x-ray." and she left. What? The nurses rambled-on about x-rays and Barium. I think one of my daughter's drank Barium once at an x-ray lab. My hand rose to my face and I knew I had rattled the windows in the whole north-west corner of the hospital.

I was on a rolling bed and moved down a few halls and was met by young men, one still in training. (???!) They treated me with great respect, kindness. and a gentleness that my own son would've given me. I'm very grateful. The Barium test was very hard to not only administer to me, but also hard for me to be still, considering how my traumatized end-parts were--right at the moment. I was shaking and trembling and that made the techs run x-ray pictures over and over and over. Both of the young technicians said, "I'm sorry, you look so tired." and I said, "I keep telling myself I was going to be up all night anyway, so keep going." "I was going to go to the Twilight movie at midnight." Sheesh, like that made sense to them! The technicians were so patient and sweet. I hope they get paid a lot for what they do in the lab.

My stay in the hospital ... instead of, at the most three hours, was all stinkin' day. I finally said when I saw my husband- all dejected **add whine here*** "We have to pay for this." and I started crying from pain, embarrassment and relief it was over. "I can't believe I put-on all this make-up." (excuse me, while I laugh ... OMGsh- I'm a mess!)


Where is my faith between all of my fear and worry? Did I ever feel the Comforter? I had faith throughout the whole experience and I faced it knowing that whatever the outcome, it was going to be okay. I did rely on my husband's faith and admonintion that will be well on my insides. (outside?..another post) He just knew that the findings would be normal. Though-out the whole experience I sang the song in a whisper.

If the outcome was required that I needed to take care of a cancer then I would've done that, knowing I could be really sedated, as in "out." The nurse told me it was a good thing and she was glad that I was awake and could yell-out because it caused the doctor to rethink (actually get mad) and gave the three nurses a chance to completely stop. The discharge nurse, and who was one of the nurses in the room with me, knew that if the doctor had continued...I would probably still be in the hospital and under emergency surgery. The nurse didn't feel good about continuing, fearing perforation. Pain was part of the process and was a learning experience for me. Today, I don't regret the colonoscopy or x-rays because it has made me stronger. Sore all inside, but stronger. This is one of those "We Can Do Hard Things"

Home-bound included a side-trip to my favorite frozen yogurt store. My dear husband went in the shop and brought-out the largest bowl he could find... and he bought himself some this time and even my same flavor. I looked at the bowl and said, "Freeze my guts, please."

I believe I screamed..oops!
Today, my family doctor called and 
apologized for my doctor's actions, saying 
she was undergoing a lot of stress in her life. 
The best news--- my tests were very normal and that I can wait another 10 years before going back again. I hung-up the phone and took a really deep sigh of relief. My prayers were answered in the way I wanted, and that's-- I'm able to stay a bit longer here on this earth and do the things I need to finish in my life. That's a huge thought!  I'm not finished with me yet. Thank you, Heavenly Father.

I did enjoy my ride and arrival to my home. My husband had left the heater on in the house so when I came home it would be all cozy for me. Steve even had turned-on my electric blanket to warm my bed because I hadn't slept for over 45 hours and I was still, really shaking. I'm so grateful and appreciate him so much. He left me with my phone and said to me, "Call your kids." I think, I maybe called one of them. Did I tell all of my kids?

I Love This So Much. Yes, It's True

I gazed-out the window and lifted my eyes
to the shadow of lizard-ranch mountain. 
The sun has gone and it's Twilight. 
The paragraph above's so cheesy...give me a break!
 So Blessed! Please Get Screened. I Already Had The Bad Test

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