chronic illness

Mission Aborted


When Routine Procedures Go Wrong

Yesterday I arrived bright and early at the hospital in Charlotte for my colonoscopy and EGD. Having dealt with chronic GI issues over the last several years, this was going to be my third colonoscopy and fifth EGD. I have Celiac disease but do not test positive on the blood work so I have to have a regular EGDs to monitor but I don’t mind them because there is virtually no prep (just no eating or drinking) and with sedation, its quick and painless.

Colonoscopies on the other hand are torture.

The procedure itself isn’t the torture. Honestly once I get the IV without a nurse killing me, I’m golden. Its just the preparation that gives me anxiety.

Yesterday I shared my updated bowel prep survival kit and since I had to be at the hospital so early (and driving an hour after drinking the morning dose of prep juice would be hell), we checked into a hotel near the hospital with my survival kit in hand. I usually try to get the prep as cold as possible as it seems to make it a little easier to get down but our room didn’t have a fridge (hotel fail) so I kept it in the ice bucket until time to drink. I had the idea to mix the prep with apple juice (versus drinking a glass of prep followed by a glass of apple juice) and it really did make the drink more tolerable. I may not drink apple juice for awhile but it was really helpful in keeping the gagging to a minimum.

As I’ve said before, yesterday was not my first time in the colonoscopy rodeo and sucky as the prep is, it has always done its job.

Until yesterday.

The day started off on a high note as I scored an amazing nurse who got my IV in on the first try with virtually no pain. I was actually taken back for the procedures 30 minutes EARLY (does that EVER happen?!) and the anesthesia team and nurses in the room were excellent.

The EGD portion went off without a hitch and then they started the colonoscopy and hit a wall. Quite literally actually. And I learned firsthand about one possible colonoscopy complication.

The bowel prep was ineffective in fully emptying by bowels and the colonoscopy had to be aborted. Even though I followed the directions precisely (and given the amount of time I spent in the bathroom it seemed to be doing its job), for some reason the prep was just not enough and they were unable to continue.

I woke up in recovery very nauseous and crying. Not an emotional crying, just major tears were flowing. My first memory after waking up to the nurse wiping my tears with a cold cloth and wanting to throw up. They were able to give me a little Zofran to make the trip home a little easier. My doctor had met with my husband after the procedure but the nurse had left the procedure notes and discharge papers on my bed when she left to call for transport.

As I was putting on my shoes, I glanced at the papers and read that the colonoscopy was aborted due to poor bowel prep. The tears returned. To spend 12 hours in misery for nothing was a hard blow. The notes also read that a repeat colonoscopy is recommended so not only did I go through the prep for nothing but now I learned that I would have to go through it again? Heck no.

When the nurse returned, she noticed my tears and tried to help by explaining his notes. Despite following the instructions precisely, it seems that my gut is moving so slowly that it just was not powerful enough to get a thorough cleanse. For a repeat I would likely be required to stay on a liquid diet for 3 days instead of 1 and need to drink a more powerful medication. Awesome

It definitely was not the news I expected. I had expected to hear that my gastroparesis was just as severe (if not worse) than the last time it was checked. His notes cited no motility was noted in my upper GI so I am not sure how much the paralysis extends beyond my stomach. I had one gastric polyp that was removed and biopsied as well as other parts of my upper GI to check how my Celiac is doing and to check for other problems. I had expected him to say something along the lines of needing to up the amount of Miralax I was taking because of slow motility but everything else looked normal and biopsies were only taken to rule out Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s as a precaution. I was not expected him to say he had to abort.

The biopsy results will be in within the next few days and his office will call with the results and to schedule what needs to be done to follow up. In the meantime, I am started a medication to help with the slow gut and constipation issues directly related to using narcotic medications to treat my pain. He knows the complexity of my endometriosis and adhesion issues which requires pain management so he wants to try his best to work around it to provide more comfort (and function) due to resulting GI issues. The medication will not help the gastroparesis but it should help get things moving and provide some relief.

Hopefully I should have more information by the beginning of next week. I have an appointment to see a new doctor at the Womens’ Center for Pelvic Health on February 24th so hopefully between this appointment and the biopsy results and follow-up information from my gastroenterologist, we will soon have a game plan!

For now I am watching the snow fall outside and am trying to recover from all of yesterday’s “excitement.” I forgot how brutal the gas pain can be!

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9 comments on “Mission Aborted

  1. Alicia Beard says:

    I’ll be praying for you, and I’m sorry that today was such a horrific experience for you.

  2. Molly Black says:

    I actually underwent almost the same exact experience. Having a doctor accuse you of not following the procedures in prep does make a person want to cry. I’m taking Reglan (the generic) now to try and up my motility. It’s rough. Hope it goes better next time, though it always sucks no matter how many times we go through it (three endoscopies and two colonoscopies at this point for me) – in fact it becomes a serious dread.

    • Jamee says:

      Thankfully my doctor never accused me of not following the directions. He was just floored that it didn’t do a thorough cleanse! He said it just showed how slowly my gut was working. I have tried Reglan before and it made me all twitchy! I hope it is helping you though! The new medication he gave me is called Amitiza but of course the winter weather has kept me from getting to the pharmacy to pick it up! Hopefully it won’t take too long to clear up!

  3. Cheryl says:

    I’m so sorry, jamee.

  4. Jen says:

    UGH Jamee – what a nightmare!! I can’t even imagine how terrible you must’ve felt. What a pain in the butt – quite literally! Prayers heading your way and just keep watching the snow fall. It’s calming, isn’t it? Love and hugs your way!

  5. Gretchen Osteen says:

    I have UC and a slow gut. I have had 5 colonoscopies and only one was successful. I have tried 3 different types of prep that did not work. At one point I had a doctor who allowed me to take 5 pills and tons of water that was the only one that worked but most doctors will not prescribe it because it can damage your kidneys. The doctor I have now will not use it so I have stubbornly decided that I will not have another colonoscopy as long as that is her decision. The prep of pills got me the UC diagnosis. The other incomplete colonoscopies missed the UC so I feel like the risk is worth it, apparently my new doctor does not. You might want to ask your doctor to do a flex sig next time instead of a full colonoscopy they do not require the prep (you do 2 enemas right before). It may not go far enough up so he may say no but that is what my doctor does now because of the prep is such a problem. You would think by now with all the advances in science and medicine that someone would come up with a more humane prep. I think they haven’t because the doctors performing the test have never had to do the prep themselves. Anyway I just wanted to say that I’ve been there and know how it feels and will be praying things go better next time.

  6. Sonia Barton says:

    My husband had to have his esophagus removed over 7 years ago. His digestion has only got worse in that time. Last year we went to a GI that prescribed a med not sold in the US we get it from Canada have to pay cash but it’s worth it. Donperidone is the drug. I hope the spelling is right, you might want to ask about it.

  7. So sorry you had to go through all the yughhhy prep for nothing, and have to do it all again.

    I had to do it just the once, and I reckon I can still taste that prep solution.

    Praying for you, Jx

  8. Cass says:

    Another great post! I suffer with many tummy issues caused by Lupus soo this is quite helpful!

    Great site and keep smiling lovely 🙂


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