Tuesday, April 6, 2010

From there to here: my UC story at a glance

I started Number Twos in July 2007, a couple of months after my first major flare-up and hospitalisation. If I had anything as grand as a founding principle it was to try to be as honest as possible. So as a record of my life with ulcerative colitis I think it’s pretty accurate. But recently I became curious about how the doctors have charted my illness, so I asked for a copy of my medical records.

For the first time I can see my journey in plain black and white. It reads like Number Twos with all the poo jokes taken out. It’s a skeleton of this blog if you like. Using my records I’ve been able to create a timeline from the very first time I went to the doctor with UC symptoms to the present day. To keep it simple I’ve omitted the various medications I’ve tried.

Two things strike me about my UC timeline. Firstly, in the very early days I continually failed to keep appointments with gastroenterology, which shows just how seriously I was taking things. And secondly, after a fairly stable period in 2008, it all suddenly went down hill very quickly. Bad luck I guess.

Finally, my medical records are a hefty 12mm thick and I agree with everything the doctors have written, apart from 7 words: Patient reports he is keen on surgery. That makes it sound like something in a lonely hearts ad, ‘I’m keen on country pubs, going to the cinema, reading and surgery.’

I would just like to make it clear the patient definitely was not keen on surgery. For the record, you understand.

5/8/05 First appointment with my GP with loose bowel movements and bleeding – my first flare-up. Referred to gastroenterology department at hospital.
8/9/05 Failed to attend gastro appointment.
13/10/05 Failed to attend rescheduled gastro appointment. No further appointments to be made.
14/2/06 Second flare-up. Appointment with my GP. Referral to the gastro department.
23/3/06 Attended first gastro appointment.
6/7/06 Sigmoidoscopy reveals extensive ulceration up to 50cm.
28/7/06 Diagnosed with distal ulcerative colitis.
26/1/07 Failed to attend gastro appointment.
13/4/07 Gastro appointment. Report 10 bowel movements a day.
24/4/07 Third flare-up. Admitted to hospital.
30/4/07 Discharged from hospital
29/6/07 Gastro appointment. Report 6 bowel movements a day. MRI scan demonstrates no evidence of fistula or abscess.
9/7/07 Blood tests reveal marked degree of inflammation.
21/9/07 Gastro appointment. Report 2-3 bowel movements a day.
11/1/08 Gastro appointment. Report 2-3 bowel movements a day.
15/2/08 Gastro appointment. Report normal bowel movements.
30/5/08 Gastro appointment. Report 2-3 bowel movements a day.
26/1/09 Admitted to hospital.
29/1/09 Sigmoidoscopy. Deep extensive ulceration with fissuring.
4/2/09 Discharged.
20/2/09 Readmitted to hospital.
26/2/09 Sigmoidoscopy. Deep ulceration and formation of pseudopolyps beyond the rectum culminating in a mass of them in the descending colon. Patient reports he is keen on surgery.
27/2/09 Colectomy surgery.
5/3/09 Discharged
18/6/09 Colonoscopy. Mildly active UC in descending colon and rectum.
17/3/10 Endoscopy. Awaiting results.