Worried about colonoscopy after div attack

Posted in the Diverticulitis Forum

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GaryH

East Helena, MT

#1 Jun 18, 2010
Hi,
I've been reading these forums for a while and they have really helped. Reading some of Joys posts almost convinced me to go ahead with a resect without even knowing the extent of my diverticulitis.

Some history. I have probably been a IBS sufferer for 10 years and had my first div attack on May 20th. I drove myself to the hospital after 14 hours of pain that just kept getting worse. They registered a fever, high white blood cell count and a CT discovered div.

They hooked me up to an IV and I was lucky enough to check out 7 hours later with a 7 days course of antibiotics. Since then, I have been trying to add more fiber (done) and other nutrients. One was activia and the other was ensure. I visited with a GI specialist this week who recommended a colonoscopy on Monday.

This will be my first one as i'm 39 years old. I am somewhat nervous of the procedure and the build up (prep) to it. What really worries me is if they find something else. I have always been a bit timid regarding my symptoms and generally expect the worst. Apparently my blood work showed I was in almost perfect condition with everything perfectly normal. However, they did say my spleen was enlarged. Has anyone had that happen with a div attack as they think it could be mono or something.

Anyone, I live in a small town of 25000 and I personally know 2 people who died from colon cancer in the last 6 months, and one of them was 7 years younger than me.

I'm not sure why I am writing this as I don't know what anyone reading can tell me to make me feel better. Only the results can tell me right. I can only presume that the ct scan would have should something if I had something spread from the colon area.

I guess, if I had to ask a question, its...

How common is a colonoscopy procedure after a diverticulitis diagnosis?

Thanks for reading
Gary
StaceLou

Biglerville, PA

#2 Jun 20, 2010
Yes, I had 2 episodes of diverticulitis starting at age 48. The doctor recommended a colonoscopy and I had it done this last Friday. Just want to say to you that I felt the same way, worried thought the worst especially since my mom had colon cancer at 74... But I knew I needed to find out regardless of what they found. Let me just say compared to the worry before hand the colonoscopy was a piece of cake!!! I remembered nothing, I was back to normal routine four hours after I had it. Your thoughts are pretty normal, it's the unknown that can scare us more than the known. My results were great, no polyps, no cancer, no unhealthy tissue to send in, just the diverticulitis and that will be removed on the 28th. The staff that works with patients that are having a colonoscopy are great, they make you feel very comfortable with a procedure that seems sort of well... embarassing. It's a wise choice of a surgeon to want to find out if there is anything else going on in your colon. Just keep telling yourself that you are doing it to find out more about your body, it is a helpful tool. One step at a time, try not to let your brain jump to the worst case senario, it's easy to do, I know from experience, but I worried and caused myself anxiety over something I could not control, and which ended up being the best case senario. Best of luck, hand in there.
Joy

Brampton, Canada

#3 Jun 20, 2010
Hi GAry, yes it is very common for the dactors/surgeaons to want to do a colonoscopy after an attack of diverticullitis. We all worry that it might be cancer but when I read around the subject mose colon cancer does not produce any pain for a very long time so there is really no connection between a diverticulitis diagnosis and the potential for colon cancer so try not to worry (easy for me to say). My husband has been suffering with an ache in his abdomen for about a year and recently had a colonoscopy just to be sure all was well. He found it an easy procedure and also didn't remember anything about it when he came around afterwards. So, try not to worry too much (that is very hard on the immune system) and just put one foot in front of the other until it is done! All the Best, Joy
garyph

Bronx, NY

#4 Jun 21, 2010
Thank you for the replies. I'm a few hours away from the colonoscopy and general feel better now than I did a few days ago. In other words, i'm ready to have it done.

I told myself that if things go well, I would take my 5 year old to see Toy Story tonight to celebrate. Still, I have a little way to go and the worry hasn't gone completely.. oh and I still have another half gallon to drink.

thanks again
Joy

Fremont, CA

#5 Jun 23, 2010
Hi Gary, so how did it go? Did you go and see Toy Story with your little one? Hope all is well, Joy
Garyph

Bronx, NY

#6 Jun 23, 2010
Hi joy
The prep wasn't to bad all things considered.
The procedure was delayed an hour which didn't help my nerves. However, I remember them telling me they were going to give me something that would feel like I'd had 2 beers. Next thing I'm in the recovery room.

They found no polyps, tumors or obstructions which is great. The diverticulitis is only mild too. They took some random biopsy's to check for bacteria and stuff and I should hear back soon on that.

Yep I did take him and we had a great time. It a great movie and a good way to move to a new chapter in my life
Shade

Toronto, Canada

#7 Jun 26, 2010
StaceLou, How are they going to remove the diverticulitis? I understood that they had to remove a section of the colon? Am I missing something?

I'm now recovering from my second atack, first attack was 4 months ago. Thanks
GaryH

East Helena, MT

#8 Jun 28, 2010
Hi,
They aren't removing anything at this time. The div is only mild so they recommend a high fiber diet and plenty of water.

I'm hoping to go a while before another attack(obviously).
On a side note, I received the biopsy results and I have no cancer cells, inflammatory bowel disease or colitis.

So, I just need to deal with mild Div. I hope the new diet works :)
june 14

Nyack, NY

#9 Jun 14, 2012
i am 34 yrs old and have to go for a colonoscopy, due to a diverticulitis attack with a micro perferation and an abscess. Very nervous but trying not to look too far ahead - one day at a time.
Aunt ne

Oxford, PA

#10 Jul 15, 2012
june 14 wrote:
i am 34 yrs old and have to go for a colonoscopy, due to a diverticulitis attack with a micro perferation and an abscess. Very nervous but trying not to look too far ahead - one day at a time.
44 and about to go through the same thing!!! Im so worried because I get pain with a bm or gas!!! I am so afraid to rupture and end up opened up!!!!
Nellie

Marietta, GA

#11 Aug 6, 2012
june 14 wrote:
i am 34 yrs old and have to go for a colonoscopy, due to a diverticulitis attack with a micro perferation and an abscess. Very nervous but trying not to look too far ahead - one day at a time.
did you have colonoscopy while have diverticulitis attack?
Deb711

East Islip, NY

#12 Dec 21, 2012
june 14 wrote:
i am 34 yrs old and have to go for a colonoscopy, due to a diverticulitis attack with a micro perferation and an abscess. Very nervous but trying not to look too far ahead - one day at a time.
How did it go and your out come?
michelle

Leeds, UK

#13 Mar 9, 2013
I am 36yrs old,a nurse with 3 children and a wonderful husband.I understand all the pros of having a colonoscopy but it is so daunting. I have put it off for three years but my symptoms started to take over my life.I am expecting a date shortly for a colonoscopy.I am more afraid of what they may find than the procedure. I am terrified of the unknown.
NJ John

Cherry Hill, NJ

#14 Mar 10, 2013
michelle wrote:
I am 36yrs old,a nurse with 3 children and a wonderful husband.I understand all the pros of having a colonoscopy but it is so daunting. I have put it off for three years but my symptoms started to take over my life.I am expecting a date shortly for a colonoscopy.I am more afraid of what they may find than the procedure. I am terrified of the unknown.
Michelle, I understand how you feel. Fear is normal. With diverticulitis, the issue could be an inflammation of the colon due to the pockets, or in some cases, worse. But for me personally, letting your fear avoid a proper diagnosis is worse than actually knowing the truth. You will be better off knowing the truth. I have been through diverticulitis, multiple attacks, and finally surgery. Denial and avoidance nearly cost me dearly. Please know you are not alone in your fears.
JKepp

Chicago, IL

#15 Mar 13, 2013
Hi everyone.... Well I'm 34yrs old, 2 attacks in the last 2 1/2 months! Not sure what is going on, but after taking the meds the first bout,I felt great.... Not so much this time! The meds seem to not be helping at all! Since the 2 attacks were so close, they said that the infection never went away! I've also been told that if you're having an attack that you shouldn't have a colonoscopy done for at least 4wks after... Which means I don't know if I'll ever be able to have one! The pain is pretty excruciating! I'm a truck driver with a pregnant wife at home (due in 2 1/2 months) so taking time off is really out of the question (I own my own trucking company, which I run all day to day operations! I'm lost and don't know what to do anymore! I can barely pass a BM, side pains that go all the way up to my left chest are,can't eat (not losing weight), bloated,can't even pass gas! This disease is seriously controlling my life! I need to have the colonoscopy but can't! I NEED to know,I'm very scared but this has to end.....
Ps.... Just finished my meds AGAIN, and symptoms are already starting to repeat themselves....
Darlene

Baltimore, MD

#16 May 4, 2013
Hello. I am a 54 year old female. I was recently hospitalized with my first Diverticulitis attack. I spent 6 days in the hospital. I have had 4 CT Scans done in the past month! My surgeon says I need colon surgery soon. I am very scared! Of course I have to have a colonoscopy before hand. I have micro perforations and a constant pain in my left side. Feels like someone kicked me there. It scares me because I am afraid that when they do the colonoscopy that they possibly could puncture through my colon, since it is a weak spot. Would the CT Scans show cancer? I am worried about that. No family history of it. Can someone please ease my fears? Thank you!
DianaL

American Canyon, CA

#17 May 4, 2013
Hi Darlene, just shy of two years ago I had my first major attack (was having smaller ones the I thought were other things like stomach flu or ovarian cysts). I was hospitalized for a week, sent home and back again in three weeks. Also had 4 CT scans. Those scans didn't show the abscess the size of an orange on the backside of my bladder. Sheesh!

What I am trying to say is CT scans only show so much. BUT, if you have a micro perf or if you are within six weeks of a flare, most doctors I have heard would NOT recommend a colonoscopy for the very reason you mentioned.

For me, they kept me on antibiotics (Augmentin) at home on strict bed rest and pretty much a liquid diet for 5 weeks before the surgery. The whole area needs to "cool off". Or as my surgeon said, trying to reconnect a colon that is still inflammed is like trying to sew together over cooked pasta.

Once they go in there, they deal with what they have to. Often being surprised just because diagnostics are hard. Get the very best colo-rectal surgeon in your area. I had two surgeons for 5-1/2 hours but came away with no bag.

I'll be 50 this year and surgery was a year and a half ago. I am fine.

I wish you the best of health. This board helped me tremendously. Trust you will find the support you need here.
Kevin

Rising Sun, MD

#18 Aug 20, 2013
Hi Everyone -

I am hours away from my first colonoscopy. I am so nervous. I am only 28 years old but had a Diverticulitis attack about 3 to 4 months ago and they are doing the Colonoscopy just to be sure everything else is okay. I am just worried about the risks of the Colonoscopy, but am hoping that everything will be fine. Any advice? Thanks!

Kevin
Dora Smith

Austin, TX

#19 Aug 24, 2013
Ha, ha, ha, a colonoscopy by itself is scary enough, and costs two to three thousand dollars out of pocket. So far as I know having had diverticulitis doesn't add to the risk. They wait until you're well before they do it, and usually before they do a barium enema as well.

Hint, a barium enema will yield more useful information about the diverticula, and nearly as much information about cancer. It's the same bowel prep, and the same small risk of something going wrong, but you don't have to decide between being knocked out and dealing with what actually is a fairly painful procedure.(I elected to do without the sedation.)

I question how much more information it yields. Gastroenterologists tend to want to do them. You can henceforth definitively say that they didn't find x, y and z wrong. It doesn't yield any information at all about the diverticula except that they are there; if you get a barium enema you can get a copy of the film and henceforth look up the location and nature of any diverticula that are causing problems. I question if a colonoscopy really rules out inflammatory bowel disease that doesn't happen to be flaring up when they do the procedure. One theory of the sort of recurrent, many diverticula over an entire segment of the colon problem is that it is really a form of inflammatory bowel disease, and it comes and goes. Now, mind you, noone appears to know what form of inflammatory bowel disease that might be; it might not be for instance the don't eat wheat gluten kind, or classical IBS.

A colonoscopy may be the best way to find an early stage cancer, but if a CT scan found diverticulitis, the chances that cancer is really behind it are small.

You need to be careful of doctors finding that you have diverticula and concluding that you get diverticulitis. They did that to me when I really had appendicitis that was coming and going (I had a retroceccal appendix), and by the time they figured out what was wrong I had two abscesses and early peritonitis, and they did that to my father when he really had a huge tumor pressing a nerve, and by the time they finally found it it was large and advanced and spread.
Dora Smith

Austin, TX

#20 Aug 24, 2013
Diana, how on earth is it possible to have your colon resected and come away with no bag?
DianaL wrote:
Hi Darlene, just shy of two years ago I had my first major attack (was having smaller ones the I thought were other things like stomach flu or ovarian cysts). I was hospitalized for a week, sent home and back again in three weeks. Also had 4 CT scans. Those scans didn't show the abscess the size of an orange on the backside of my bladder. Sheesh!
What I am trying to say is CT scans only show so much. BUT, if you have a micro perf or if you are within six weeks of a flare, most doctors I have heard would NOT recommend a colonoscopy for the very reason you mentioned.
For me, they kept me on antibiotics (Augmentin) at home on strict bed rest and pretty much a liquid diet for 5 weeks before the surgery. The whole area needs to "cool off". Or as my surgeon said, trying to reconnect a colon that is still inflammed is like trying to sew together over cooked pasta.
Once they go in there, they deal with what they have to. Often being surprised just because diagnostics are hard. Get the very best colo-rectal surgeon in your area. I had two surgeons for 5-1/2 hours but came away with no bag.
I'll be 50 this year and surgery was a year and a half ago. I am fine.
I wish you the best of health. This board helped me tremendously. Trust you will find the support you need here.

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