Colectomy: The Tests and Diagnosis

It started in October with a long awaited appointment with the GI doctor. But I ended up with the nurse practitioner. She ordered a Sitz marker study, but then I went to Tijuana. She wasn't super impressed with me and I wasn't super impressed with her.

I went to an appointment with Dr. Moesinger and expected him to tell me that I needed surgery for adhesions. (That's what we had blamed my digestive problems of the last year or two on.) Not a permanent fix, but a relatively easy procedure. He said saying I have adhesions is like saying I have five fingers. Yes, I have them, but they weren't the cause of my problems. He threw me a curveball and said he thought part of my colon had stopped working. He talked me through a resection surgery. A more permanent fix, but not such an easy procedure.

And he needed the order to come from a GI doctor. I had been having some problems getting into the GI doctor, so he made some calls. I eventually got a call from the GI doctor, but he was too busy doing colonoscopies to meet with me. So I ended up with the nurse practitioner again. She asked me some dumb questions like if I had tried taking Colace.

A colonoscopy was scheduled. And rescheduled. Two colon preps later and they told me I was there on the wrong day and sent me to go meet with Dr. Gonzales. But then his office told me I couldn't meet with him because I hadn't had any procedures done. I told them I had been waiting to get into him for two months and you probably better let me see him.

It was my first time actually meeting him. Steve made sure Dr. Gonzales knew that he was willing to fly me anywhere in the country to find someone who was going to do something to help me. I could not keep living with the problems I was having. Halfway into our appointment, Dr. Gonzales realized that I was prepped for a colonoscopy. One more colon prep and eight hours later the colonoscopy was attempted. But not completed. My colon was extremely tortuous and redundant and Dr. Tadros said she was aggressive, but not reckless. And it wasn't safe to complete. Her medical notes refer to me as an "unfortunate 32-year-old woman." She recommended surgery.

A barium enema was scheduled. It was horrible. I hadn't eaten in three days. They were pumping my colon full of air and rolling me back and forth on a table as they tilted it while they used a tool to push the barium, trying to get it to coat my extremely treacherous colon. "It's no wonder you have problems with constipation," the tech said. Instead of fifteen minutes, the torture session took an hour. I hobbled to my car and bawled for a good fifteen minutes before I drove home.

But the results were revealing. My colon was a mess.

Another Sitz marker study was ordered . . . for good measure I suppose? Six trips to the hospital, six consecutive days.

An Anorectal Manometry test was ordered. Probably to make sure they encroached on my privacy in every way possible.

And then I waited and waited. And waited. The GI doctor finally called and said I needed to follow up with the surgeon. So I called Dr. Moesinger's office and they said they had all my results and an order for a subtotal colectomy. But they were completely booked for the year.

I'll address that later . . .

Five office visits, five tests, fifteen trips to the hospital, about ten million phone calls to set all of that up, and a messed up colon: that's what it takes to get a diagnosis for a colectomy. And somehow I crammed that all into two months.

1 comment:

Rachael said...

Oh Emily, I know you've had a round 6 weeks or so. We've been praying for you.