Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stool Sample (or TMI 3)

Earlier this week, I wrote "I'm not done, but the biggest hard part is behind me."  Since then, I have pondered the veracity of that.  In some ways, it is very true.  

But, as I found myself thinking earlier today, in other ways, "the biggest hard part" isn't yet quite behind me...

Today's agenda included collecting a stool sample.
And on tomorrow's agenda is a blood draw and an early morning upper endoscopy...

Yes, there are definitely still some hard parts left to do.

Prior to my participating in the investigational study, I had never collected a stool sample.  For anyone who has never done this, let me just say that the process of collecting a stool sample allows for a special kind of intimacy with one's stool.  I didn't particularly enjoy the process of collecting my stool sample back in August, and I was definitely not looking forward to doing it today.  

In fact, the whole chronic abdominal pain, constipated, not constipated (read: frequent and often unexpected diarrhea -- but only at random times) thing made me sort of nervous.  (How could I collect my stool if I had little control over my next bowel movement?  Worse -- how would I collect my stool if I simply never had a bowel movement today?)  So, while I wasn't nervous about collecting my stool...I was decidedly nervous about whether or not I would be able to capture the stool today that I needed to collect to turn in tomorrow.

And so...I decided to stick close to home as much as possible this morning...and hope for the best.

I drank a lot of water, and I hung out.
And I waited.

And I got nervous, because while my stomach really, really hurt, I wasn't sure anything was going to happen while I was home.  And the thought of trying to collect a stool sample while out and about -- well -- no words.

Eventually, just when I was about to resign myself to having to schlep my stool collection kit along with me, I really did have to go.  And what I observed while collecting my stool prompted me to write about this very intimate experience.

For the uninitiated, the process of collecting a stool sample allows one a first-hand look (and smell) at one's stool.  It also allows one a special sense of the consistence of one's stool.  And my stool sample from today was decidedly different than the stool sample I collected eight weeks ago -- far smellier, far softer and looser, and with large undigested bits of food.  While I was not really surprised that it was different, I did not expect it to reveal quite so much...

For now, the three test-tubes are safely tucked away in a brown paper lunch bag in my refrigerator. 

I don't know for sure what they will reveal, and while I won't know for some time whether or not I was one of the four controls in the 12-subject investigational study, I feel I can say with confidence that if I was not one of the controls in the study, this particular protocol (Montelukast) did not work for me.

And if I have learned anything?  It is that there is a tremendous need for a cure, a treatment...something.

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