Waiting for test results from a medical lab is different than waiting for test results from school. With the latter, I had a sense of how I did. With the medical tests, I didn’t have a clue. And passing a lot of blood (from the “back end”) was not an encouraging sign.
And then the results were in, and the news was good. Tests for more than 200 (I think that’s what I was told) possible infections all proved negative. Neither colonoscopy showed any sign of colon cancer, not even a single polyp. While the first one found severe colon inflammation, its source was non-specific. The second one was definitive: I had ischemic colitis, a non-recurring condition. The ulceration and inflammation led to bleeding, which resulted in the anemia. The condition does not even require medication. It heals on its own. And I don’t even have to modify my diet, though I am looking into an anti-inflammatory diet.
Ischemia is caused by insufficient blood flow to the lower colon, from both a lack of hydration and my low blood pressure. It is seen in Iron Man athletes (which I most certainly am not), whose demanding performances push the blood to their muscles (rather than their colon) and results in dehydration.
I know I don’t hydrate enough, and now I’m trying be be a 64-oz of fluid/day guy. Yes, it means going to the bathroom more often, but that’s a small price to pay. I’m also adjusting my heart meds, to get my BP closer to normal, rather than the low range (110/65) it has been.
It is amazing how sick I was and how non-threatening was the diagnosis that emerged. But I’ll take it. It’s been a wild ride for two weeks, and I’ve got to build my strength back up.