Croesus was a bloke in greek mythology (or maybe history - I'm not sure). He was rich. But he was also a man who was reprieved. Having failed to conquer the mighty Persian empire, the Persian King, Cyrus (Croesus nemesis), sentenced him to death. On the execution pyre Croesus bade his gods justify what was happening to him by intoning the name of his god 'Solon' three times... Cyrus was impressed and cancelled the execution (it wasn't quite that straightforward, because the fire had already started and it took more godly intervention to stop that, but that's not important (obviously it was to Croesus, but not to me right now)) and Croesus was saved.
What am I on about? Well, this end of the week I have been mostly feeling like Croesus. Minus the immense wealth unfortunately. But not minus the reprieve, thank my gods. Incidently there is something strangely coincidental about Croesus' defining diety being called Solon... reminds me of something...
On Thursday I was summoned to the RSCH because a second immunosuppresant had failed to work (6MP). My liver cannot metabolise those buggers. And so with heavy heart, I left school early initially to see the Nurse Practitioner. To discuss impending surgery. So, low was my mood I acquiesced to my wife's desire to come with me. For some reason I have always prefered going alone - I think it helps make it all less real, someone else being there forces reality to butt in. She works on a neo-natal ward two floors above L9, so it wasn't far for her. Anyway after the usual wait (I had a chat with an old chap who was new to the game (about 70odd and new to all this - lucky sod). He was in for the follow up to a colonoscopy and endoscopy - he'd had them AT THE SAME TIME! Sadly I have to admit to deeply childish images as our conversation ensued. He'd also had a previous colonoscopy without sedation, which if you ask me is MENTAL. The last one I had I have fuzzy memories of, which, in my opinion, suggests they didn't sedate me well enough) I entered the room like a condemned man.
So, she spent some time going over the current situation - mesalazine, azathioprine, 6MP all ruled out because of my disloyal body. Recent colonoscopy report showing significantly severe inflammation in the right colon, colonoscopy conducted by my consultant (and nemesis) Dr Cairns. His report recommended surgery. Yeah, there were a couple of other drugs that could be tried, methotrexate, infliximab, but the doc reckoned my colon was so f**ked really surgery was the only answer. Then she started on about the risks of Toxic Megacolon again...
At this point the Roid-rage had me simmering...
"But I'm well at the moment!" - ok, I'm on 20mgs of pred, but no symptoms.
"Why can't I just stay on a really low dose of steroids? I've done it before, everythings cool on 5mgs a day..." Nope - toxic megacolon again.
"But, I've read about people who are on azathioprine to reduce their steriod intake, but never manage to get it below 20mgs... so if I only need 5mgs, thats gotta be ok? eh?" Nope - bad management and toxic megacolon.
"But this is ridiculous!" I started to lose my rag.
"Erm, I think we need to get the doctor to speak to you" she said. I'll go and get Dr Cairns. Now, at this point I all but completely gave up hope. He did the colonoscopy, wrote the report, recommended surgery. We don't get on either, last time I saw him (long ago, not including the colonoscopy) I shouted at him. His attitude is extremely arrogant, like, oh, I dunno, some sort of Persian Emperor... I could only envisage banging my head against a wall.
Another wait. Then we go in. Repeat history. He checks all recent bloods, colonoscopy report etc. Describe all recent poo history. And then the clouds part. And a god (Solon?) pokes old Dr Cairns on the head. "Hmmmm" he says. "After your colonoscopy, having seen severe inflammation, and knowing you'd just come off azathioprine, I could only predict that you were beginning a huge flare and that we would be seeing you very quickly for surgery. However, having seen you, spoken to you, and looked at your tests, I think I was wrong. You DO NOT NEED SURGERY at the moment." Yep, that's what he said. I DO NOT NEED SURGERY at the moment. Obviously the middle bit of that sentence is nicer to type than the end.
I went home with new prescriptions (will outline next post) and a life-affirming dose of euphoria.