Angela - Inside the Inside

I was nervous. I know my prep routine by heart. This was my tenth scope at this hospital, and my second scope with this doctor since switching in 2011, but still, I was nervous. No, the procedure itself didn’t concern me. Even though he’s not my regular doctor, I know he’s skilled, knowledgeable, compassionate, and amazing about discussing everything.

It’s the aftermath that has generated my anxiety. What would the test results indicate? What are they going to find? How bad might it be? I’ve had so many tests, and each time I wanted them to find nothing, while at the same time wishing they would. I’ve tried every Crohn’s ‘mab’ in addition to azathioprine, methotrexate, 6-MP, and Pentasa, among others. My current biologic was just recently increased. Each time, I get my hopes up, pray this one would work- and then it wouldn’t, or it’d lose efficacy, or I would build antibodies, or get pancreatitis, or have an allergic reaction, etc. With each admission, test, or successive scope, I had heard the same familiar comments: “We need to start back up/increase the steroids” or “Maybe we should look into another treatment/surgical option.” Was this going to happen yet again?

So I went and changed into that gorgeous gown. (You know, the one that gives you a gentle breeze in the back.) The nurse and anesthesiologist both came in. I warned them right away I was a hard stick. They looked at each other, then at my arms, and told me I looked like trouble. I asked if they meant me, or my veins, because I like to make jokes, especially when anxious. The anesthesiologist started my IV, the GI came in, we chatted, propofol went in, and the scope was done.

Afterwards, I woke up and the nurse told me the doctor would talk with me soon. I was preparing myself for bad news, and was stunned when it was not just good, but fantastic news! The doctor gave me the best scope results I’ve had to date! It took a second for it to sink in, but then I was ready to jump up and hug him. There’s still room for improvement overall, but, for me, this news was positively exciting.

This time of year is hard for me for non-IBD reasons. Light or hope, whichever you choose to call it, came at just the right time. I was asked once what living with chronic illness(es) felt like. I responded, “For me, sometimes it feels like I take multiple steps forward, some days it’s like one step forward and two steps back, and on others, it feels like I took one step forward and then fell backwards down a flight of stairs.” Today, this day, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I can run.