Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve given an update! I’ve been waiting on a more conclusive diagnosis before I went on with further updates.
The past few weeks have been full of ups and downs for me. I had my colonoscopy which everyone thought FOR SURE would show that I had Crohn’s Disease. My doctor was sure of it, I was sure of it, it just seemed like there was nothing else that could be causing me all of these issues for this long.
Amid my drug-induced state (I don’t even remember Dr. Joseph coming in and speaking with me), my mom and I were told that there were no signs of Crohn’s Disease during my colonoscopy. Because I was drugged up, and because I had prepared myself for the worst. I cried. I cried because I didn’t have Crohn’s Disease. I know that’s ridiculous. I didn’t WANT to have Crohn’s, but I wanted answers and I thought for sure this colonoscopy was finally going to give me answers. I was wrong.
Dr. Joseph was amazing. He took a lot of biopsies, did a lot of blood work, and sent it all off to be tested for various other things, including checking the biopsies for Crohn’s as well. That week and the next, I awaited the results from the blood work and biopsies as well as kits for some “breath tests” I was to perform from home – more on that later.
Most of the tests came back negative except one that was positive for inflammation around my rectum. Dr. Joseph attributed this inflammation to my recent fistula surgery and prescribed a medicine to help heal that more quickly, as well as advised me to not take any NSAID’s – such as ibuprofen – an instead take Tylenol for any pain.
A few days later my breath test kits came in the mail. I’m not going to lie, these made me feel like a cool scientist, but they were NOT FUN. For each test, I had to eat a VERY specific and restrictive diet starting 24 hours before I would administer the test. Then for 12 hours before the test, and during the test, I had to fast. I am a snacker. I am an eater. I enjoy food. This is so tough for me! But I did it.
Here’s how the breath tests went down. 24 hours before the first test, I had to eat a very restrictive diet consisting only of the following:
– Baked or broiled chicken, lean beef, or fish with only minimal salt and pepper for seasoning
– Plain white rice
– Eggs with only salt and pepper for seasoning
– Weak/plain coffee and/or tea
That was literally ALL I COULD EAT for 12 hours! And then I had to fast for 12 hours after that. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper the three days I had to do this!
The three tests I had to “administer” to myself were testing for three different issues:
– Fructose malabsorption
– Lactose intolerance
I took them in that order as well. For the test, I would breathe through a straw into a little test tube, put a cap on the tube, then write the date/time, etc. on a sticker to be put on the tube. Then I drank a substance containing whatever I was being tested for, then every 15-40 minutes after that for about 3 hours I had to repeat the breathing into the tube fun.
Within less than an hour of the first test, which was testing me for Fructose Malabsorption, I could tell it was most likely going to be positive – because I had diarrhea for the rest of the day. Nothing really happened with the lactose test, which made me happy because I love cheese/dairy products and can’t handle having to cut too much out of my diet! And the third test, for SIBO was very similar to the first, so I assumed it would be positive as well.
Then I had to wait.
Finally, about a week after sending in the first test, I received a call from Dr. Joseph’s office that I had tested positive for Fructose Malabsorption. Since this post is getting way too damn long, I’ll go into what my diagnoses mean in my next post.
About a week after that, I was informed I tested positive for SIBO as well.
These are good and bad. Good because, once I get the right medicines and am able to fully implement the right diet into my life, I am hoping my symptoms will go away and I won’t have to deal with the pain, discomfort and embarrassment they have been giving me most of my life. The diagnoses are a little bad, or disappointing maybe, because they mean I’m going to have to make some drastic and somewhat difficult changes in my life in order to get better.
I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater. I do love food and I do indulge, but I’ve always tried to look at food as what it is, energy and a way to nourish my body and give it what it needs. Much of what I THOUGHT was healthy and what my body needed – because it’s what most bodies need – was in fact causing me a lot of my issues.
But, I don’t want to carry this post on too much longer, so I will bring it to an end and cover more on my next one. Thank you so much to everyone who has been following along, everyone who has been checking in on me and supporting me through all of this. I have some amazing family and friends and feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such good people.
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” – Lyndon B. Johnson