I’ve been much, much, much improved. By the time I finally saw the new doctor at the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (I had to wait months for the appointment), I was better. Not perfect, but better. I was sleeping through the night, I had come off all the prednisone, I was taking, and I’d gained back most of the weight I had lost.
Dr. Swartz convinced me that better wasn’t good enough. He said that now was the time I should be taking lialda (I had tried it that drug before, but it had no affect), which is the long-term medication intended to bring about permanent healing. Lialda also reduces the risk of colon cancer for UC patients by fifty percent.
Dr. Swartz also said that he wanted to know as sure as he could if what I have is ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s. What brought me to his office in the first place was that things had gotten so bad I was ready for surgery. I wanted a j-pouch. Dr. Swartz said that might still be in my future, even though I was feeling much better. But only if I had UC, for sure. Surgery doesn’t help Crohn’s. To find out which I have, I’m to have another colonoscopy. I can’t start the Lilda until after the colonoscopy because if the drug starts to work, it will cause “spot” healing and the doc won’t get accurate results.
It’s strange to have so much going with this disease when I’m feeling so much better. However, Dr. Swartz said that while I am feeling much better, there is no reason why I can’t expect to eventually feel one hundred percent better. How I was feeling was so bad that I have been willing to settle for less than the best. I can see the truth in that.
Sometime soon I’m going to write about some of the things the psychologist and the dietitian, who are a part of this practice and care team, had to say.