Good News, Bad News, and What We Don’t Talk About

13 Sep 2022
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Last Wednesday was a day of celebration in the Wednesday household. My younger daughter passed her driving test. Not only did she pass first time, but with flying colours. It was a triumph, and we were all thrilled!

While my daughter was driving around Cambridge, I was in hospital, receiving some bad news.

I need to back up a little way.

A while back, I became aware something was wrong, and it’s a wrong we don’t like to talk about. We all have a digestive system. Food goes in at one end, is processed and then comes out as waste the other end. We all love food. We talk about food, write about food and share food. The other end – not so much. Nobody likes to mention it; it’s just not nice. So, when something goes wrong, it’s embarrassing; it’s humiliating, and we’d really prefer to ignore it.

It's the sort of thing, however, that should never be ignored because it could be serious.

After three weeks, therefore, when it became obvious this problem was not going to go away, I phoned my GP. The doctor phoned me back the same day, booked me in for blood tests the next day (a Saturday), and before I could turn around, I was in the hospital awaiting the (ahem) procedure. Our NHS is wonderful!

Everyone who has had “the procedure” knows exactly what it is, and most other people can guess. It’s a – draws in a deep breath – colonoscopy.

Now, as an aside, if ever you need this done, my advice is, don’t eat anything for a week beforehand. In fact, don’t eat anything for a month beforehand! Your insides need to be squeaky clean, so you drink something the day before to ensure you have absolutely nothing left inside. By the end of this, I’m sure I was eliminating food I ate next year!

On the day, the lovely team of people were reassuring. It wasn’t cancer. It was probably an irritation caused by stress. I was given a prescription for a steroid foam (no – you don’t want to know how it’s administered – you really don’t) and sent away.

Last Wednesday, at my follow-up appointment, it was not such good news. It’s not just irritation, it’s ulcerative colitis – and it will never go away. I have it for life.

They gave me a leaflet, and it made grim reading.

The thing that struck me most, however, were words from someone who lives with the condition. She says, “Be self-aware and find out everything you can. It’s easier if you can simply see it as part of you – and deal with it in a positive way.”

That’s exactly what I say to all of us who live with depression and bipolar disorder. It was still, however, hard to read.

I’m slowly coming to terms with it. I hope to manage it so my life is not severely impacted, but I must be prepared for flare-ups when things will become more difficult. When I think about it, I still get upset.

So, I’m working on acceptance and positivity. Writing about it here is a start.

Mary

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Frankie

Sept. 14, 2022, 6 a.m.

Hugs, Mary; hugs and more hugs. And prayers. Frankie x

Reply

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:35 p.m.

Thank you , dear friend. I appreciate both.

Oli

Sept. 14, 2022, 6:46 a.m.

Morning Mary. First, it’s going to take time for the dust to settle. Any time we realise *things have changed* it takes time to sink in and not only that, the realisation comes and goes in waves. You suddenly catch yourself realising the thing over again, whatever it is: whether it’s a diagnosis, or the knowledge you’ll never see someone again, or knowing that you’ll never… When my friend was told she’d need a mastectomy I was astonished at the speed, the instantaneous acceptance. I thought, she must have some feelings? She did: get on with it. That was two or three years ago and she hasn’t looked back. Another good friend was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis funnily enough and it took him at least a year to settle into the head space of how to manage it. When the bomb goes off the dust settles eventually; we can’t hurry nature. Thanks for the blog Mary. PS you’ve reminded me of reading a long series of posts a bloke once wrote about Picolax — the pimp daddy of all laxatives which he’d been given before a colonoscopy. Funny stuff.

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:36 p.m.

Oh yes, once you start to see the funny side, it's a lot better. For a lady attached to her dignity, however, it's going to take some getting used to. Thank you, as ever, for your wise words.

Sheena

Sept. 14, 2022, 7:07 a.m.

Dear Mary, Your blog this morning has pushed my long overdue sorting Moodscope password to actual action! 255 days non scoring in fact. You may not know me, but your regular blog is a gem that I enjoy. It conveys so much including the enthusiasm and fullness of your life. Yes, your diagnosis isn't fun but now at least you will be able to research and implement everything to assist with coping as well as possible. I believe it could be an opportunity to do less that you do for duty and more of what gives you joy. Wishing you time enough to look to your own needs well. Sheena

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:41 p.m.

Oh Sheena, your comment literally brings a stinging to my eyes and a sniffle in my nose. I write these things and fling them out there, and never know if they chime with people (outside our lovely and very supportive community here behind the scenes). It gives me enormous joy to read your comment. Less of duty and more of joy... You echo the words of Himself, as a matter of fact. You have given me something to ponder, and I thank you.

Paul

Sept. 14, 2022, 7:52 a.m.

Hi Mary thanks for todays blog. Has been said previously acceptance for any health conditions take a while to sink in. As many are aware there is a definite link between the digestive system and the brain. Maybe once you get settled with medication and diet you will have less lows. I do hope so. I’m sure someone on here that is better than myself at righting could do a very interesting post on good gut health and the mind. Good luck Mary with getting the correct medication and advice. Paul

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:43 p.m.

Thank you, Paul. I was initially concerned that there might be a link between my diet and this condition but apparently there isn't. It just happens. Often it's genetic (not with me) but it is frequently triggered by stress (holds hand up in guilty fashion...) There is, as you say, a definite link between the brain and the gut - some even call our gut the second brain!

Anonymous

Sept. 14, 2022, 8:19 a.m.

O Mary, I’m so sorry you have this to deal with on top of everything else. Like Oli says, it will take time for the dust to settle and the learning process of this condition to begin. Thank goodness you’ve stopped drinking already as that step would have been even harder with this news. I really hope that you can begin to reduce the duty in your life and start to use that time to care more for yourself because without giving yourself that oxygen mask first, how can you be there for others. Best regards J

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:46 p.m.

Thank you J. You and Sheena have been talking, haven't you! You both mention duty, and you encourage me to think about this. You may expect to see a blog on this very soon. I hope you will be pleased to know I am meditating more, as I find it does help to slow things down.

Anonymous

Sept. 15, 2022, 8:11 a.m.

So pleased that the meditation is showing itself as a benefit to you. I still find it such a hard practice but I know the side effects of that sitting for 20 minutes each day have given me the opportunity to find a consistent happiness without bipolar relapses. Keep up the good work Mary. BW, J

Valerie

Sept. 14, 2022, 8:38 a.m.

I am so sorry Mary.I have friends who have had the "procedure" with the horrible drink and night before spent in the loo. I know two people with this condition,one hale and hearty in his 80's,diagnosed in his 30's.The other is a lady now getting on for 110,and she was having problems from her teens.They both had to make adjustments,and take medication,but nothing too onerous. You have already changed your diet and lifestyle a lot,so I do hope you will still be able to enjoy some treats.***

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:47 p.m.

Thank you, Valerie. Wow - 110! It's good to know that people manage.

Sue

Sept. 14, 2022, 8:48 a.m.

I am sorry to hear this Mary, it's not a fun procedure but now you know the problem and can look into managing it. Sending hugs and prayers.

Reply

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:47 p.m.

Thank you Sue. I really appreciate both.

Bunnykins

Sept. 14, 2022, 9:19 a.m.

Gentle hugs Mary, wishing you all the best x x Angela

Reply

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:48 p.m.

Thank you Angela/Bunnykins (have I told you how much I love your handle?) Hugs are always acceptable.

Bunnykins

Sept. 14, 2022, 9:20 a.m.

Gentle hugs Mary, wishing you all the best x x Angela

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Little Drop

Sept. 14, 2022, 9:31 a.m.

Dear Mary, thank you for your blog - beautifully written as usual. Your response to your news is inspiring and I’m sure it will help others struggling with their own bad news. Sending hugs and best wishes xx

Reply

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:57 p.m.

Thank you, Little Drop. Yes, bad news will always happen. Today was my meeting with my Business Coach. He always asks, what has been your biggest learning since last we met. This time I told him, "Acceptance is hard." Well, a lot of things are hard, but if we do not accept, then we cannot grow. One of my favourite flowers is the dandelion. We think of it as a weed, but its leaves are edible (my guinea pig loves them), its root can be ground and used as a coffee substitute (Okay - you'd need to be pretty desperate, though), the flowers are really pretty - and make excellent wine - and you can make a wish as you blow the fragile and beautiful seeds away. Most of all, nothing stops a dandelion. Dandelions are tenacious and tough and they never give up. Whatever you do to them, they will grow again. The dandelion is my kind of flower! And - I think there's a blog there....

Teg

Sept. 14, 2022, 5:37 p.m.

Hi Mary Yes acceptance is not easy but necessary. I was considering writing another Post about it as it is so important. I will incorporate it with my forthcoming Post about one of my favourite mantras " Acknowledge, accept and manage" Teg

Orangeblossom

Sept. 14, 2022, 9:59 a.m.

Hi Mary thanks for your open blog. Thinking of you as you process this distressing diagnosis.

Reply

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:58 p.m.

Thank you Orange Blossom. But my sympathy is all with you as you recover from your shingles.

Ach UK

Sept. 14, 2022, 10:16 a.m.

Dear Mary, Lots of love and advice and reassurances here that I echo. Hugs dear heart. XX Ach.

Reply

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 3:59 p.m.

Thank you so much, dear Ach. You are all so kind, and I am deeply touched.

Ach UK

Sept. 14, 2022, 10:16 a.m.

Dear Mary, Lots of love and advice and reassurances here that I echo. Hugs dear heart. XX Ach.

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Daisy

Sept. 14, 2022, 10:48 a.m.

Dear Mary Love and hugs There are many advances in research to UC so it maybe in future there is cure. There are some types of depression linked to inflammation so maybe there is link to bio polar, also there is more investigation of micro biome in various diseases so don’t loose heart

Reply

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 4:01 p.m.

Thank you Daisy. Oooh, new areas to research and explore. I do like to dig a little, so that's great to know. The clinicians didn't seem to pick up on my bipolar, but they are only specialists in their one area. I shall look into this.

Teg

Sept. 14, 2022, 11:04 a.m.

Hi Mary So sorry you now have another medical condition to manage. I know, as many others Scopers do, that you have the capabilities to do it. I am still fond of the mantra "Acknowledge, accept, and manage" that I use from time to time. As to your unpleasant investigations I am aware of these as my wife underwent a Colonoscopy twice not long ago. You will need more support and you can be reassured it is here every day. Take care Teg

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 4:03 p.m.

Thank you dear Teg. I'm sure your wife will agree with most of those I have spoken with, the preparation is worse than the procedure itself. Acknowledge, Accept, Manage, is a great mantra. If you have not already, maybe you could write a blog on it.

Bailey

Sept. 14, 2022, 12:18 p.m.

Hello Mary Wednesday...how I envy your regularity via the moodscope blog, pun intended. I too have my digestive woes...diagnosed with Classic Irritable Bowel Syndrome years prior. "Does that mean its a collectible?" I had to ask...being as how it is not just run of the mill I.B.S. Alot of jokes come to mind...my number one coping skill as I rejoice that you got the situation "rectified." The latest in my "digestive adventures," was age related hemorrhoids. For a while I envied all dogs who are able to scoot across the carpet...if it brings any relief. Found a good cream instead. Now the trick is not to brush my teeth in the dark- for fear I reach for the wrong tube...you know it.

Reply

Lexi

Sept. 14, 2022, 12:34 p.m.

Bailey, lol! xo

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 4:06 p.m.

The wrong Tube! Thank you for the giggle. Oh yes - I am keeping my "preparation" in a totally different place! I am sorry that you too have such woes. Another family member has IBS too - and we now have joint sympathy with each other. My sympathies to you too.

Bailey

Sept. 15, 2022, 12:15 p.m.

Hugs Mary...I just discovered the healing effects of mint tea straight from the plant with a little hiney- sorry-typo- meant honey. I really shud quit! Lol.

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2022, 3:12 p.m.

Excellent idea - I have mint!

Lexi

Sept. 14, 2022, 12:35 p.m.

Hugs Mary. The diagnosis is tough but you got this. I have had several colonoscopies. My dad had colon cancer so I was encouraged to get my first one early. I swear, the person who comes up with a way to make that drink tolerable is gonna be a millionaire....I have been having issues of late too, and I'm wondering if like Bailey it's IBS or that I am developing food allergies late in life. It's becoming an issue that I know I have to figure out too. I hope you are able to find some relief and comfort now, both with the diagnosis and the treatment. xo

Reply

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 4:07 p.m.

Thank you Lexi, I hope very much it is intolerances. Those can be easily managed - well - more easily anyway. Thinking of you and sending love.

Patty

Sept. 14, 2022, 2:02 p.m.

Thanks for the blog Mary. So sorry you are having difficulties and colonoscopies are no fun. I had one recently and in stead of drinking the gallon of the terrible usual stuff, they gave me Miralax and Gatrorade, which wasn't great, but was better. There is far more happening down in that area of the body with people than we hear about, quite obviously by the responses to your blog. It is very important that everything is working right in that area. Thinking of you and am sorry you are having difficulties.

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 14, 2022, 4:10 p.m.

Thank you Patty. I followed the advice, mixed it with what we call "squash" (Fruit flavoured cordial, but much nicer), chilled it well and drank it through a straw. It was still unpleasant but not as ghastly as it would have been had I not done all those things. I also fasted three days prior. It still wasn't enough: I was serious about that week of not eating!

Lucy

Sept. 14, 2022, 7:55 p.m.

Mary - you are so correct about clinicians only dealing with their own area. I read these blogs for insight into my daughter's struggle with bi-polar, ulcerative colitis and an unfathomable rheumatoid-like condition. Please beware of clinicians not reading your notes properly and being put on steroids in a flare-up - my daughter became suicidal after three days and it always takes a lot longer to recover from that sort of episode as I'm sure everyone understands. I love your writing and I wish you all the best with this new hurdle - your thoughts touch so many people and like others I look forward to reading them. Best wishes to you.

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Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2022, 3:16 p.m.

Bless you Lucy. I have found it's best if I mention the bipolar, because it can be important with medication etc. I am so sorry to hear of your daughter's reaction to steroids, and indeed to her challenges that sound so similar to mine. My very best wishes to her. The steroids I was put on initially did nothing, but the anti-inflammatories seem to be doing a much better job, and can be used long term.

Lucy

Sept. 14, 2022, 7:56 p.m.

PS Congratulations to your daughter!

Reply

Mary Wednesday

Sept. 16, 2022, 3:18 p.m.

Thank you. The boost it has given her self-confidence is amazing. The downside is that I haven't seen my car since!

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