My first ileoscopy

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It’s all done. Over with. Finished.  I was given my first ileoscopy yesterday and it was an interesting experience to say the least! I initially had some concerns with dehydration and managing high-output from the prep (read HERE), but I’ll have to admit that things went a lot easier than I expected. I took a lot of notes, so hopefully this will give you an idea of what to expect, but keep in mind that our experiences can differ greatly.

Prep starts about two days before the scope, so on Monday I stopped taking all supplements.  Since I’m not on medication, I didn’t have to worry about that, but there are specific instructions for those who are on meds.  Dinner was a very large meal consisting of pasta with a plain sauce and a large (fully loaded) salad.  I honestly don’t encourage large meals, but that’s  how I do it and it doesn’t cause me much trouble. I also had a “snack” of leftover rice and veg right up until midnight.

Tuesday (the day before the ileoscopy), I fasted.  This was a challenge because I enjoy food and not being as sick as I’ve been in the past with Crohn’s, I look forward to preparing meals and enjoy eating very much. I realize that many of you may not feel the same way or may not be feeling good enough to eat.  I truly am sorry and I know what that feels like.    As mentioned in my earlier post, I decided to go with the Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator powder (say that fast 3 times!).  I drank a total of about 4 liters worth and it did an excellent job of keeping me hydrated, in the evening I had some clear vegetable broth.  Something I’d like to point out is that I consumed no calories during the fast, which is very different from what I’ve done in the past with colonoscopies.  Also, unlike in the past, I didn’t feel weak or “shaky” as the day went on, despite not having those liquid calories.  I was pretty surprised by this, and don’t know if it was an indication of my better health or if the Vega powder was doing something more than Gatorade does.

Here’s the log I write for my pouch emptying on Tuesday:

3:15am – 1/3 full, Medium consistency.
9am – 1/3 full. Medium consistency.
12:30PM – 1/3 full. Medium consistency.
4 pm – 1/4 full. Loose to medium consistency.
5:50pm – 1/4 full. Liquid. not clear. Added diamonds sachet.
10:20 pm – 1/4 full. Thick because of diamonds sachet.
10:40 pm – 1/3 full. Liquid. Cloudy. Added one diamonds sachet.
11:50 pm – 1/4 full. Thick consistency because of the diamonds sachet. Had to urinate a lot. Added one diamonds sachet.

Few things to point out: Everything seemed to have passed by about 4pm (16 hours after the last meal).  The diamonds sachets, which I had previously reviewed HERE worked really well.

Wednesday, 5am was when I had to take the prep.  The brand is Pico-Salax and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s doing any kind of bowel prep.  It’s a small sachet that you mix with about 150ml of water.  The mixture got really hot (sometimes happens), but I let it cool and then drank up!  It tastes like tang, for those who’ve had that before.  I followed up the prep with 2 liters of the Vega drink.

Pico-Salax
Pico-Salax

picosalax prep

It became hot in water; drink when it cools!
It became hot in water; drink when it cools!

Here’s the timeline after the prep:

6 am – 1/3 full. Liquid, clear with a few bits of stool. Continued to output while emptying.
6:30 am – Half full. Liquid, clear like urine.
7:20 am – Half full. Liquid. Added one diamonds sachet.
8:15am – 1/4 full. Some gas in pouch.

So the bowel prep didn’t have the effect I was expecting, which is good, because I never did receive that Magnum pouch sample from Coloplast.

Now, some people getting an ileoscopy don’t do any special prep work, other than fasting.  I’m pretty sure that would have been enough in my case too, as the high intake of fluids naturally flushes you out.

My scope was scheduled for 9:30am and I arrived an hour early to register, change into a hospital gown and to answer questions given by one of the nurses. I opted NOT to be sedated, so no IV was needed.  I didn’t go for sedation for two reasons: 1) my body does not like anesthetics.  I often feel grumpy and tired for days after going under.  2) it allowed me to be awake and aware during the scope.

The waiting room was busy, but it was fun chatting with a few other people waiting for their scope.  One 86 year-old man looked absolutely terrified, and his wife and daughter were with him for support.  His daughter works in a US hospital and it was quite amazing to hear her talk of the differences between the US and Canadian hospital experience.  She mentioned that privacy is extremely valued in US hospitals and people going in for procedure will often be waiting in a private area (with drapes or a divider) and they also only use the patents first name.   In contrast, the hospital that I was getting the scope done (Etobicoke General Hospital) had an open waiting room and everyone could speak with each other while nurses discussed things with patients just a few feet away.  I guess those overly-friendly Canadian stereotypes are true, eh?

I was finally let in for my scope at around 10:30am.  My GI was there, along with a nurse (maybe two) and the anesthesiologist.  Because I wear a two-piece ostomy appliance, I didn’t have to theres-nothing-quiteremove my wafer, just the pouch.  After a brief talk with my GI, he started the ileoscopy.  He mentioned that the device he was using is thinner than other scopes (for colonoscopies).  After lubricating his finger and inserting it into my stoma, the camera went in.  I must say, there’s nothing quite like seeing your insides in 1080p.  I was able to see everything, clear as day and to ask questions as we went along. The GI is able to squirt water of there’s anything obscuring his view, but I was pretty cleaned out and it was only really needed the further in the scope went.

Now, it was uncomfortable – really uncomfortable actually, so I don’t suggest doing this without anesthetics unless you really, really want to see what’s going on. The pains were like really bad gas pains, and the further the scope went, the more uncomfortable it became.

And to the good news: I’ve got a very healthy small intestine. 

It was a relief, but part of me feels bad to say that publicly.  I have many IBD friends who are still sick, still in pain, still unable to leave the house, and I know they are struggling.  Having a colon removed is NOT a cure, and I certainly still have a chance of Crohn’s returning at any time, so while I can celebrate today, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Immediately after the scope, I was sent back to the waiting room as I waited for my locker to be unlocked.  Since they pump you full of air to do the scope, that air has to come out, and what better way than in the form of stoma farts! LOL  Yes, it was loud, but on the upside there’s no odor.

I returned home after leaving the hospital and had a meal at around 1pm.  My output returned to normal at about 7:30pm and I felt good the rest of the day. Apart from some minor soreness when I press my stoma, my body feels like nothing happened.

My GI said to have a follow up with him at least once a year, or sooner if I become symptomatic.

Have you been scoped with an ostomy? How was your experience?

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4 thoughts on “My first ileoscopy

  1. I’ve had my ostomy for 2.5 years and have never been scoped. I have chron’s and take remicaid every 8 weeks.

    • Many doctors will simply say something like, “if anything changes, we can investigate then”. My GI was concerned because I wasn’t responding to meds, so a follow up after my surgery was a good idea.

  2. Thank you, that’s very kind.

    I have several close friends who aren’t well enough to do some of the things I’ve been able to do, so I always think of them and hope they can get relief soon.

  3. “It was a relief, but part of me feels bad to say that publicly. I have many IBD friends who are still sick, still in pain, still unable to leave the house, and I know they are struggling. Having a colon removed is NOT a cure, and I certainly still have a chance of Crohn’s returning at any time, so while I can celebrate today, I’m cautiously optimistic.”

    I love how you phrased this, I think it is very kind of you to reach out to others with such sensitivity. I think you can be grateful for your own victory today and still have compassion for others at the same time. Thanks for the blog post, I learn a lot from your descriptions of the medical procedures you have faced.

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