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My Colonoscopy – (Procedure) Part 2

“All’s well that ends well.” ~Unknown~

Several people prepped me for my colonoscopy with tales, (interesting pun), of orbit-blasting day before colon cleansing as being the worst part of the ‘procedure.’ (Procedure emphasized with an ominous hush.)

The day before my ‘procedure’, I stopped at the store for my intestinal purge supplies while selecting from a severely limited list of food choices from the clear diet menu. I decided against the beef bouillon jello, jiggles as it moos.

Looking for the listed powdered laxative to mix in a Gatorade cocktail for my evening date with the bathroom, a female customer nabbed one of the two shelved bottles I needed. In a parody of a Black Friday sale, I grabbed the remaining bottle and consulted pharmacy…again. He had my second bottle behind the counter.

Getting my mojo going (?!?), I bought some magazines at the checkout, keeping our bathroom library current. I was prepared to prepare…grazing on Jello as I watched the clock for the appointed time to drink and be merry, sans eat.

I waited, and I waited. Finally the purge began to work, but it was not with the blasting urgency described by my talebearers. Toilet occupancy wasn’t wasted time. I read. I learned how to make a decorative snowman from packing peanuts. I kept gravitating to the Christmas recipes, appetizing yummies decadently portrayed in the magazines I had bought…torture when you are food-deprived.

Fasting was the most difficult part of the preparation for me. When I asked, I was informed it could not be considered a religious fast.

I arrive at the clinic, purged and starved. The receptionist asked me, in the now familiar hushed tone, if I was there for my ‘procedure.'” Endosocopy and gastroenterology are visibly displayed outside and inside the clinic. What am I missing? Obviously I am not here for teeth cleaning.

Entering the waiting room, I am handed papers at another window with the same whispered seriousness, “for your ‘procedure.'” Joking with the medical assistant about the espionage approach with the term ‘procedure,’ she explains some people are sensitive to privacy. I’m thinking, “Colonoscopy, privacy, sensitivity…better get over it, fast.”

An airport-type arrival/departure ticker displays the ten ‘procedural’ physicians and if they are on time or delayed. My doctor is on a 30-minute delay pushing back my anticipated meal. The waiting room filled with the privacy sensitive have the same check-in paper work as I do. Secret’s out.

My flight has arrived as my name is finally called. The ‘procedure’ holding area is filled with men and women laying on gurneys in tiny cubicles wearing hospital gowns (obvious slit in back), the one ultra-thin issued white blanket, connected to IV poles. Can we say colonoscopy yet?

Dressed down and hooked up, I am wheeled to the ‘procedure’ room, given something in my IV much better than the laxative laced Gatorade the night before…and I am awakened a few minutes later…

As I am perimenopausal, diabetic, and have a rare disorder, my medical test results rate me as remedial patient. I was ecstatic to have aced my colonoscopy…a ‘normal’ healthy colon with a 4.0! I am not scheduled for another one for 10 years. I just have to live that long.

A Cracker Barrel celebration of chicken and dumplings with three sides followed.  I was actually given pictures of my perfect colon.  Scrapbook or frame?

On a serious note: Having a rare disorder, Stiff Person Syndrome and diabetes, my social calendar involves dinner after appointments. It is hard to work in routine screenings, but important. SPS can make routine screenings a challenge.

The challenge for my colonoscopy was the sedation dangers associated with the medications used to treat SPS. I emailed information to my doctor prior. My doctor, anesthesiologist, and I discussed how SPS specifically affects me and made some strategic ‘just in case’ plans. Thankfully, everything went very well.

I did not dread having a colonoscopy. I dreaded the possible result…colon cancer. Colonoscopies have evolved, in my opinion, into not that big of a deal. My peace of mind was worth it.

Now, I will have to explore the Freudian aspect of why I ate at a ‘Cracker’ Barrel after a colonoscopy? …I mean…procedure.

Copyright © 2009

Recovering Support Group Addict


“The Internet is so big, so powerful and so pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.”
~Andrew Brown~

December, 1999. Our first computer. I could hear an angelic choir rejoice as the PC tower emerged from the Gateway box. Disabled with a rare neurological disorder, Internet Explorer became my Starship Enterprise. With warp speed, my keyboard transported me out of disability’s isolation into an uncharted universe of the living.

Hovering in cyberspace was a small support community of individuals also diagnosed with SPS. Bonding with this obscure SPS colony, I shared experiences, laughter, tears, and encouragement with others.

As the years passed, Internet Explorer navigated several others to our close-knit group. The majority fit right in, expanding our community with further experiences, understanding, and friendship. Then the ‘Cling-Ons’ started to infiltrate…self-absorbed, angry, victimized, needy attention-seekers. Their forum volume of continual problem finding, with dismissal of solutions, darkened our once uplifting support group under a cloud of self-pitying rants of negativity.

Negativity created a quagmire of group depression and dissension. Struggling through the mucky rancor, I felt their negativity begin to ooze through my thoughts. For my emotional well-being, I took a hiatus from the group.

It was a jolt to realize how much I had limited myself through extensive support group interaction, my only social outlet. Addicted to daily logging in, I allowed the group’s drama to consume my thoughts. I felt a personal responsibility to lift those drowning in the ooze of their own inflicted misery. I had stopped growing, stopped living.

During my leave, I dusted off my waylaid goals, finding unexpected success in some completed pursuits. Venturing out ‘in spite of’ my physical limitations, I rediscovered a social life, making friends and enjoying activities.

I rediscovered my original purpose for participating in a support group…to share relevant disability issues in a mutual outreach of friendship and hope. Back to a basic coping tool…balance. I log on once a day to read and respond. I do not own responsibility for those who choose to wallow in the muck of defeat, despair, or gloom at the expense of others and of me. Encourage, not commiserate, is my support group motto.

My name is Debbie and I am a recovering support group addict.

“Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexations to the spirit…”
~Desiderata~

Copyright © 2009

Good Morning Vietnam!

“Life is a rollercoaster. Try to eat a light lunch.”
~David A.Schmaltz~

“Good Morning Vietnam!” Opening my eyes, I greet myself with the same irreverent enthusiasm of Robin William’s DJ role in a controversial war zone. Living with disability is waking every day to a personal war…my life under siege by a relentless neurological disorder.

Through various avenues, I communicate with others with my diagnosis of Stiff Person Syndrome. Shuffling to the computer, I mentally inventory my physical status for the day as I read from others. As I read, I envision a medevac helicopter bringing in the wounded, me or my comrades? The MASH theme song, Suicide Is Painless appropriately plays in my imagination.

Though feared, death is easy. Living is hard. Finding my own purpose, joy, happiness, fulfillment, and strength for the day, I work on having reserves to share with another…encouragement…irreverent DJ humor to give a smile…a word of hope?

I envision a Vietnam Marine, dusty, scared, searching, homesick. Crouched in the dirt, this weary young soldier chews on a pencil eraser as he struggles to fill the glare of blank white paper with an uplifting letter for those he loves.

Nostalgia for my ‘pre’ diagnostic days fills me with longing as I search for life’s meaning in the chaos of my disability. Staring at my monitor, I struggle for truthful words to inspire those I care about. Life is hard, but still worth living.

“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” ~Seneca~

Copyright © 2009

The Bee-Attitudes

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“Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.”

 

People are still people, disabled or not. In contemplating various outlooks on life, I named them the bee-attitudes.

May-bee. A noncommittal buzz lacking passion, dependability, or predictability. The may-bee flies aimlessly at whim without a sense of direction or purpose.

Wanna-bee. An envious stinger filled with grandiose illusions and lack of conviction. The wanna-bee is lost within the ambitions of self-centered pride.

From Romper Room:

Don’t-bee. Making deliberate destructive choices or doing nothing…indifference.

Do-bee. Worker mindset. Creative, busy, active, exploring.

I learned about succeeding in life as a preschooler from Romper Room – “Bend and stretch, reach for the sky”…as a Do Bee.

Attitude is sometimes a struggle for me. I have my off days of may-bee, wanna-bee, and don’t-bee. Flying with a bumblebee do-bee attitude, I want to reach for the sky.

Ironically, the meaning of my name, Debbie, is bee.

Copyright © 2009

Halloween Is A Way Of Life

graveyard05“A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable.” ~Billy Graham~

Becoming disabled is starring in my own personal “A Nightmare On Elm Street,” except there is not even a waking reprieve. My Freddy Krueger is my diagnosis – Stiff Person Syndrome.

Stiff Person Syndrome, SPS, is a bizarre neurological disorder, rivaling Freddy’s antics with syndrome symptoms. My syndrome possessed body will twist, writhe, spasm, or fall at the slightest ‘trigger’ whim.

Humor is a vital coping mechanism for me. I love Halloween, providing fertile, unhallowed ground for my irreverent gallows humor.

From my website:

Halloween Greeting 2009

You’ll find me at the IV pole dance contest, cheered on by Harvey Wallbanger!

Copyright © 2009

Pollyanna and the Grinch

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“Oh, Yes, the game was to find something about everything to be glad about — not matter twas,” rejoined Pollyanna earnestly.  “And we began right then — on crutches.””

grinch

The Grinch: “Those Whos are hard to frazzle, Max.  But, we did our worst, and that’s all that matters.”

Hayley Mills as Pollyanna – the rainbows and sunshine little girl who rambled optimism, ad nauseum, to everyone until the glad game became a test with her crippling fall from a tree.

Jim Carrey breathed life into Dr. Seuss’s animated Grinch; the bitter loner who looked down on the happiness of others with loathing. Within the beating confines of his small heart, he plotted enforcing his misery on others.

I am disabled with a neurological disorder. Maintaining a sunny attitude of hope and optimism brighten disability’s gloom for me. I also have my occasional cloudy days, feeling alone, envious, and tears will fall. Pollyanna and the Grinch are personified emotions, conflicting attitudes in my mind.

I encounter flesh and blood Pollyannas and Grinches. Pollyannas in overdrive. Strewing imaginary rose petals in their wake, saccharin words drip with artificial cheer as they sanctimoniously play the ‘glad game’ with me from the clueless vantage of not living my disabled reality.

Oh the Grinches. I meet many in the disabled community. Bitterness shrinks their hearts so there is only room for misery. Spread their misery. Disable the happiness of others through blame, negativity, and self-pity.

Pollyanna’s glad game, “And we began right then — on the crutches.” On the crutches, my Stiff Person Syndrome diagnosis. Glad isn’t a game for me, but a daily attitude choice within the reality of my disability…see life’s blessings and be happy.

I have my occasional Grinch moments, but like the Whos, I try to be “hard to frazzle.” In spite of disability, I will not allow Grinch mindset steal my happiness in living. I do my best and that is all that matters.

Copyright © 2009