bloodwork (10 posts)

Having a colonoscopy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Background

This is my fourth colonoscopy. Previously:

I’m a 31 year old woman, and I live in southern Ontario, Canada. In December 2009, I went to the hospital with a perforated bowel. The doctors performed a bowel resection, and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I haven’t been on any medication since 2016, and my Crohn’s seems to be in remission, so this colonoscopy is just a routine checkup.

I expect this colonoscopy will be a little different than my previous ones, since we’re currently in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m not worried about the actual procedure or the prep, since I’ve done that all before, but I am worried about possibly catching COVID at the hospital.

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Gastroenterologist appointment

I saw my gastroenterologist today. I always remind myself to try to remember everything she says so I can write it down here, but I’m not very good at it.

She said my colonoscopy back in July looked very good. I think she said she took a bunch of biopsies, which surprised me, because I didn’t think they had. In previous colonoscopies, there were times where it hurt, and I figured that was because they were taking a biopsy, but during my last colonoscopy, it didn’t hurt at all. She said something about the left side, I think maybe there was inflammation there. But I think she basically said it looks like there wasn’t any active Crohn’s.

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Stopping Imuran and gastroenterologist appointment

Back in September 2016, my gastroenterologist called me and had me decrease my Imuran dosage because my lymphocyte count was low, so instead of taking two pills a day, I would starting taking only one. I have bloodwork done every three months so that my doctor can keep an eye on how my body is reacting to the medication. After my next bloodwork results came back, she called again and told me my lymphocyte count was still low. I hadn’t experienced any negative side effects after decreasing the Imuran, so she told me stop taking the Imuran completely. At that point, I had been taking Imuran every day for almost four and half years, and Imuran is the only drug I was taking for my Crohn’s. I didn’t need to taper off at all, and I didn’t notice any side effects after stopping the Imuran.

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Phone call from gastroenterologist and changing Imuran dosage

My gastroenterologist’s office called me the other week and left a message asking me to call back. I had something to do the next afternoon, and I decided I did not want to call my gastroenterologist first and then find out I’m dying and then not feel like doing the thing I had to do that afternoon, so I decided I’d call her after I finished my errand.

Still curious about why she might be calling, I checked my bloodwork online, and although this is only the second time I’ve gotten my results online, nothing seemed far out of the ordinary range to me.

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Online bloodwork results

I went to get my three months bloodwork done earlier this week. The last time I was there, the lab company had just been bought by a bigger company, so they were in the process of changing some things around. This time, before she did my bloodwork, she asked if I’d like to be able to view my results online. I’d heard a few months ago on the news that this was something some labs were offering now, and I thought it was kind of neat, so I said sure. She gave me a pamphlet with information about the service and a number that I could enter on the website to sign up.

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See ya in nine months

I had an appointment with my gastroenterologist this past week. It was just a regular follow-up appointment that I go to every six months to make sure I’m still doing fine.

For once, I remembered before the appointment to check my medication to see if I needed a new prescription and to check my blood work requisition form to see if I needed a new one.

I do blood work every three months, and the requisition form expires about nine months after the first time I use it, so I get three uses out of each form. At the blood work lab, they are very picky, and they won’t let you go a week early, as I tried to do once; I need to wait at least 90 days since the last time I had blood work done before they can do it again. I get my blood work done on Saturday mornings, since that’s the only time my lab is open outside of my regular work hours. If it’s a holiday weekend, they’ll be closed on Saturday, so I’ll need to go the next weekend, and if that happens, my blood work form usually ends up being expired about a week before I’m supposed to have my blood work done for the third time.

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A regular appointment

I had an appointment with my gastroenterologist the other day. It was just a regular checkup to see how I was doing.

Blood test results

My doctor said my blood test results have been normal. She said if the marker that they look at for Crohn’s — CRP (C-reactive protein) — is under 10, it’s normal. My past few test results have all been under 10, though they have been increasing (from 1 point something to my most result result, 4 point something). My doctor didn’t say anything about this pattern, so I guess that’s not a big deal.

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Good experience with Entocort

I started taking Entocort starting on September 30, 2012, and I stopped taking it on February 18, 2013 (almost five months in total). I had already been taking Imuran when I started, but I was still going to the bathroom more often than I wanted to be.

Taking the pills

I took three pills a day. They are red and white capsules. Since I can’t swallow pills, I opened the capsules, emptied the tiny white balls inside the capsules into my mouth, and then washed them down with some juice and something to eat. I couldn’t put the balls in the juice, because the balls would stick to the bottom of the cup. The balls didn’t have much of a taste, but the sensation of swallowing them was kind of weird.

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I’m on drugs!: A new gastroenterologist and Prednisone

Last week, I had an appointment with a new gastroenterologist. The reason I have a new gastro doc is because back in January/February, I was doing pretty bad. I wasn’t sure if I was having a flare-up, because I also had the flu around the same time. I don’t know if I’ve ever had the actual flu before this, because this time was really bad. And frustrating, because I was missing classes, which makes me stress out, which makes me even sicker. I tried going to my linguistics class, but I had to sit down in the hallway halfway there, and then I just ended up going back home. My parents came to see me in residence just to make me scrambled eggs so I would eat something. It really, really sucked.

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My time in the hospital

Last Monday meant exams were over and vacation could begin. Well, after a little doctor’s appointment. The university’s doctor got my blood work back and suggested I see my family doctor to get an appointment with a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. I’ve been having stomach problems since I started taking medicine in the summer, and lately, there seemed to be a constant dull pain in my stomach. As much as a colonoscopy is gross, I was all for it, because I wanted to get better, darnit! We went to see the family doctor and he said he would see about getting me a referral to a gastro doctor, and in the meantime, prescribed me Prevacid to help soothe my stomach and hopefully repair any damage from an ulcer or something.

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