This has probably been the first time in forever that I haven’t really been bothered about going to see my Gastro. I haven’t really had any problems; I’m not taking any medications, my wounds are all healed, my surgeon is happy with my current progress being made and my stoma seems to be getting into a solid routine. All good on the symptoms front; nothing to report.
But, I still attended because I felt it was high time he saw how well I had been doing, what I actually look like when I am well. And it was a good picture. I’ve got good hair and skin, I’ve gained much needed weight and being on no medication for my Crohn’s means that clinically I’m no longer a worry to the department.
Given that, I am glad I went. We discussed how I currently feel without any medication: great, I said, except for sometimes experiencing fatigue. He suggested that my GP shouldn’t need to test my blood again for my Vitamin B12 level, an injection should be available given my medical and surgical history. We also touched on my stoma and its output; if it was manageable and consistent – which it now is due to the fact my diet can support it and I understand the importance of hydration.
Overall he was very happy with me – which makes a change; I always seem to come in with some issue or problem that needs resolving or I don’t seem to be responding to medication and getting sicker; this is a noted and welcomed change. If I didn’t feel so well now, I would probably be doubting the reasoning behind my lead up to surgery last year, but I don’t. My Gastro always seems to have a concerned look, one I’ve not seen prior to my ostomy surgery admit, which to me looks like guilt or shame; as if he wishes that I hadn’t had to have my ileostomy formed the way I did and probably when I did. I don’t look at it that way at all, yes it sucked at the time and I went through hell to get to that point but life since has been surreal. I hope I can share why, later on this month.
Before we left he handed me a poo bottle and asked me to do a calprotein sample. Of course, no problem with a stoma! This will help him decide if I need to return in 3 months or 6 months. I hope it is the latter. His parting words of hope were what made me stare open mouthed for a while, but it is finally sinking in, the reality of it.
I asked, tentatively, when does he sees me needing medication again to control my Crohn’s and his response?
“Hopefully for a good five to ten years…”
Seriously? I replied. SERIOUSLY?!
Yes, unless something happens and you flare, I will not give you medication unless you really need it. Removing your colon seems to have done the trick. Here again, the sad, uncomfortable guilty face comes out. I don’t even care, that is bloody news to my ears! The enormity of it, the longevity of what I’ve had done has hit me hard the last couple days but jeez, if I would go that long, I would be so happy. If anything, that fact gives me the strength to carry on and look after myself. I admit, medications were a big part of my life – almost all my time since diagnosis I’ve had to be on something – and it feels odd to not need anything. Who know removing my colon would be so bloody freeing, in more than one way!?!
So, things on the Gastro front are all A-Okay. My test will be back in two weeks time, so I’ll see when I’m now next seeing him again. You might think “no medication and you’re well, why do you need to see him again?” Well, I will always need my Gastro. Going annually would be the next goal but I know its a long weaning off process. It’s nice to have the support there if I need it.
We did have a follow up with my Liver specialist a couple days later; he took bloods for his records and to help him determine if I need a 6 monthly follow up and scan or a annual check and scan. With my surgeries and my now lack of medication, he was happy that my liver had finally calmed down and is probably mostly down to loosing weight – I was 100kg+ when I first saw him in 2014 and I struggled to loose it, and now I am a healthier 70kg. His results will be in next week.
Overall, its been a good health week.