Rolling with the Punches
I had a colonoscopy last week.
And now I’m going to write about it because who wouldn’t want to read about my intestinal health?!
Most people don’t have colonoscopies until they’re 50 years old, but I had the thrilling opportunity to experience the procedure 28 years earlier than most (#humblebrag). I can feel your jealousy from here!
Quick back story: I’ve had some stomach issues since my junior year of high school, but various exams and tests over the years have resulted in the equivalent of a shoulder shrug from doctors. So I adopted this nonchalant “it’s probably nothing” attitude toward my tummy and ignored it.
That was a mistake. Whoops.
Lesson learned: If your bod is telling you something’s wrong, there is a strong likelihood that something is indeed wrong.
My stomach wrongness became even wrong-er over the last several months, so a colonoscopy was finally in order. YAY!
After an exhilarating 36 hours of prep which included your usual misery plus the added bonus of passing out and throwing up all over myself (lol fun stuff!!!!), I was finally ready to take a drug-induced nap while doctors took a peek at my intestines. Even before they put me under, the doctor assured me that it was probably nothing, but it was always a good idea to take a look. So once again I thought, “Colon, you’re totally fine, bro!”
My sweet innocent colon is inflamed and sporting some fashionable ulcers – battle scars from my immune system’s merciless attacks. Yikes. Talk about an unexpected punch to the gut from life.
This civil war raging between my immune system and intestines is caused by an inflammatory bowel disease, a chronic (read: it doesn’t go away ever) autoimmune disorder which results in your immune system thinking it’s a jolly idea to go ham on your intestinal tract. What a buncha filthy turncoats! Immune system, you literally had one job: to defend against viral and bacterial meanie-heads… How did you eff this up so bad?! The fun part is doctors aren’t really sure what causes your immune system to go from bae to cray like this. Reassuring stuff.
After the exam and a brief explanation of the findings, the doctors gifted me some images of my ulcerated intestines (awww :) !!) and sent me on my merry way. Now I’m waiting for the biopsy and blood work results to return so we can figure out what exactly is going on in my insides: Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis … currently taking bets on which will be the lucky diagnostic winner.
In the meantime, I’m on the lookout for a Nashville GI specialist bestie-for-the-restie. Once I find my doc biffle, she’ll assess my case and prescribe me some drugs which will hopefully be able to arrange a ceasefire between my T-cells and intestines. Treaty of Versailles? More like the Treaty of Villi! (HAHA GET IT because villi are those things in your intestines that absorb nutrients! PLEASE VALIDATE ME BY TELLING ME I’M FUNNY.)
My biggest concerns - aside from the fact that I’ll have to take meds for the rest of my life for this and that surgery to remove parts of your intestines is not unheard of with this disease (uhh I’ll pass) – are A) Will this inhibit me from traveling the world? and B) Will I still be able to eat yogurt parfaits?
This isn’t exactly what I expected to be dealing with during my first year after college, but it’s NBD. Or maybe it is a BD and I’m just too ignorant right now to realize that it’s a BD. But regardless of BD status, I do know that all will be well in the end. After all, it could be worse. At least I’m #blessed that modern medicine exists and #doubleblessed I can stay on my parents’ health insurance for now.
What I’m learning from this unanticipated turn of intestinal events is that life’s going to throw a few punches along the way. The impact and timing will vary, but the punches will come regardless. You can either panic or attempt a hit back of your own, but neither will curb the inevitability of life’s challenges. So rather than wasting energy fighting back, it’s best to give those incoming punches a quick knuckle-bump and roll on with your life.
P.S. If you ever want to get together over a yogurt parfait to admire pics of my intestines and discuss the mind-blowing intricacies of the human body and modern medicine, hmu.