Just thinking – The ‘P’ word & Medical Triggers

We all do it, some more than others, but few are comfortable discussing “it.” Thereth92J6TV3B must be near one hundred words to describe our embarrassment – We ‘poo’, ‘dump’, ‘shit, and even go for a ‘hell’s candy,’ there’s a ‘cow’s fart’, a ‘number two’ or an ‘Easter bunny present’. Here in the UK, the stiff-upper-lip Brits like to say, ‘sit on the throne’, plus many more here.

When things start to go wrong ‘down below’, it can feel a real pain in the ass, quite literally. If you’ve experienced sexual abuse as a child and then need a health professional to poke around the rear end, even years later, the trauma revisited on your adult mind can be baffling and devastating.

It all started six to eight months ago when I embarked on a reduction of a mental health medication, called Quetiapine (Seroquel). I’ve been on this drug for around three years and realised very early on that there are issue’s with weight gain. I had never experienced any problem maintaining an ideal weight of 154lbs, but I steadily ballooned to 203lbs and the inevitable clothes-bursting expansion.

thBAVWXNBPTwo of the side effects from reducing this medication are weight loss and possible issues with inflammatory bowel. Of course, prone to the “spurts,” my bowel went straight into meltdown, but the drop in weight made up for all the mornings sitting “on the throne” for longer than Her Majesty the Queen.

When I eventually went to my family Doctor nine-days ago with a sore rump from all the “Easter bunny presents,” rather than praise the loss of 49lbs in 6-8mths, he said, “You need to attend the hospital for further tests.”

I was gobsmacked, “But, I only wanted some haemorrhoid suppositories.”

I duly attended hospital yesterday, eager to convince the Senior Consultant of the Doctor’s error. When his finger was inserted where the sun doesn’t shine, I mentioned the Quetiapine for the third time, but the Consultant dismissed the theory and said, “But, Mr Cat, you’ve lost too much weight.”

“Really?” I said, “That is not what I read on the internet…OUCH.” Okay, questioning athP5UOZCZK senior Consultant, with his finger up while in the foetus position, might not be a bright idea, and my finger indentations on the examination table will bear witness to this moment for years to come.

When I arrived home yesterday, I felt completely drained and utterly depressed. Naturally, I was worrying over their concerns, but this was more about having to lie in the position to have things done to me that are similar to the childhood memories.  The sensations were a stark reminder of the violation.

thUREPAM3EMy dilemma is that I don’t know how I will be able to undergo a colonoscopy. Sedation is not an option due to the drive home afterwards, but even if it were possible, the dosage would never be enough to support me through this.

Rather than tell the Consultant why this might be a problem, I dissociated.  How can anyone just come out and say abuse?

I wonder if any of you have gone through similar and how you managed to cope with such a seriously triggering event.

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42 thoughts on “Just thinking – The ‘P’ word & Medical Triggers

  1. edwinasepisodes

    Oh God, that sounds pretty traumatic. I cannot help with personal experience here but I did wonder if you had someone who could take you to and from the colonoscopy so you could have the sedation. I believe that the patients that have been sedated hardly remember anything about the procedure afterwards. I don’t know if that helped in any way,

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Edwina… I will see if someone can accompany me to the colonoscopy, but that’s easier said that done and I might just need to stay in the hospital until the sedation wears off. I don’t think I can get through without it. I think a memory of the procedure is dependant on how much sedation they use. It would be so much easier if they just knocked me out! Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  2. Katherine

    I am so sorry to read of your suffering.I have a relation who has to have this and she has a general anaesthetic but you need someone to take you home in the evening.
    Sometimes investigations can be very distressing even without the abuse issues.Someone does need to tell them.Is their any organisation who will help you?
    I always find a helpline like McMillan Cancer or similar ones.Wishing you some good luck…I had a painful time with a speculum last week so I do have some experience of this but I am older now and so less shy.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Katherine… ouch, your experience sounds painful and the device looks more like a torture implement. I may need to ask them about a general anaesthetic, but I didn’t think that was available in the UK NHS. I had a sedation during a endoscopy procedure, but it barely made me close my eyes and I was aware the entire time. Oddly, I didn’t find that as traumatic as the colonoscopy. Many thanks for your comment 🙂

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  3. Ellen

    Hmmm….Well, I had personal experience, and it all worked out OK, but it’s not that reassuring, on the cancer front anyway. BTW – I don’t think doctors are very informed on side effects of psych meds. It makes all kinds of sense to me that your symptoms are the results of lowering your dose of meds. It could be that.

    I went to the doctor with the same issue as you, not caused by psych meds though. She sent me for a colonscopy. Quite honestly, the procedure was not bad. They gave me Valium intravenously, and so I was half out of it. I felt no pain whatsoever. I like the feeling of benzos, and having a lot less anxiety than normal. They will give you more Valium if you need it – I think they gave me a bit more after they started. Why would the dosage not support you through this? Why can’t you have someone drive you home, or take a cab perhaps?

    I did rest an hour or so after, and had a friend drive me home. They insist you have someone drive you, though I think I could have driven perfectly well. I was home by about 1 pm.

    The part that is more difficult is the day before – you have to ‘cleanse’ and the stuff they have you drink tastes gross.

    Every physical thing does trigger my abuse issues, so I guess they were triggered by the procedure, but the Valium really did help a lot with that, and it was no big deal for me.

    Colonoscopy is the gold standard for colon cancer detection, plus it can be preventative, as they can remove polyps that might turn cancerous in future.

    In my case, I turned out to have cancer, which no one was expecting. However, the symptoms I had, were caused by a different issue – the cancer was so tiny, it wasn’t causing symptoms. I am perfectly fine now.

    I just want to say – don’t be afraid of this procedure. I was, and it turned out to be no huge problem. I am so thankful I had it and my cancer was detected so very early. For you, it’s most likely nothing is wrong, but it’s so excellent to be sure.

    Hope this helps.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I did have an endoscopy a couple of years ago but didn’t find the thought so triggering. They’re not so keen on giving sedation and the dosage (2mg) did little to help. I couldn’t go through a colonoscopy with that kind of awareness. I was thinking I might ask Paul if he could intervene, as he is part of that same hospital.

      How frightening to discover you had cancer. No matter how small, I’m quite sure it was still a worry. Just as well you had the procedure, which makes me more determined to find a way.

      Thanks, Ellen, this did help.

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      1. Ellen

        I actually found the endoscopy I had worse, as a trigger, than the colonoscopy, because they do not give sedation for that. Cat, I’d be very surprised if they do not give sedation in the UK for the colonoscopy, as it’s a general best practice. You may be surprised at how easy it all is – I certainly was. And my two cents – don’t tell MDs about MH issues – no. For me, I mentioned anxiety, and maybe needing extra sedation, but that was the extent of it. I did not want to be treated as ‘less than’ or ‘special’. Unless you have to disclose meds of course.

        Yep, having a cancer diagnosis was the most frightening thing I’ve ever been through as an adult. thanks for the comment.

        Take care. (Bottoms up. 🙂 )

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        1. Cat Post author

          They already know about Mh due to the Quetiapine. I prefer them not to know anything because it can cause obvious stigma. I will ask Paul if he can negotiate and see what happens. Thanks Ellen ‘bums away’!

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  4. Priceless Joy

    I have made it through various triggers but none such as you have had to experience. I remember feeling like a small child at the time and then when the trigger was over I felt back to my normal self. I guess I just had to sit tight with my little bitty self until it was over. Does that even make sense?

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, it does make sense, Joy, feeling like a small child again is exactly what happens, but at least I am already in therapy, so can talk about it and see if they can help in any way. Thanks, Joy 🙂

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  5. kat

    im so sorry you have to go thru this, that even trying to be well is now in triggering territory. i wish you the best in solving this dilemma…and also want to encourage you to continue to tell them what side effects seroquel withdrawal has. maybe even refer them to your pdoc? it is important, and your pdoc may have a different view on how much weight loss is a problem. good luck.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I was discharged from the pdoc when I started therapy. There is a Psychiatrist in the therapy unit, but I already know her experience with meds is not great. I did think of contacting the old pdoc, but it might put her in a position and I imagine she wouldn’t want to go against the bum-consultant! I’m quite sure it is down to meds, but then I can’t be certain, so I probably need to find a way to deal with the experience. Thanks, Kat

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  6. mandy smith

    Cat! I’m an EXPERT on colonoscopy–I’ve had 3! Plenty of colon cancer in my family so I’ve had to have it done every 5 years. I thought I’d die from anxiety and fear leading up to the first one. Boy was I surprised! (and I’m not making this up, because now everyone I know has the same experience.) You do NOT feel anything. The entire procedure takes maybe 15 minutes. They give you Versed, which means you go to sleep and when you wake there is no memory of what happened. You can go ahead and resume eating normally after. Now let me say this: I live in the US. If they do it different there, that’s not my fault. (Oh, and if your anxiety is a mess, like my first time, they give Valium while you wait for procedure.) AND the only bad thing is the PREP. And (at least here in the US) You drink this high salt drink and tons of fluids for several hours in preparationation. If you ever think you are cleaned out by laxatives–this will prove you have miles of digestive track–and this cleans it all! So rest assured-you need not fear the colonoscopy!! Just get through this procedure, Cat. It’s so important. Let them get to the bottom (no pun intended) of what’s going on!!

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    1. Cat Post author

      OMG, Mandy, THREE!!! No wonder you look so youthful from all those clean-outs 🙂 The trouble is, they don’t give much sedation over here and I’d be lucky to get 2mg of I.V Benzo. I got that during an endoscopy, but it did little and I was awake and I remember the entire procedure. I need to get it done, but can’t approach them about the SA, but maybe Paul can, as he’s part of the same hospital. I’ll speak to him next week. Oh Gawd, yes, thee drink from hell…mmm… that should be interesting.

      Thanks you, Mandy

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      1. mandy smith

        Hahahaha! God, Cat. You do crack me up when I least expect it and most need it! 😀 I’m sorry they can’t give you Versed. Course our medical costs are so high over here they should serve us dinner on a silver platter for a week after that procedure! They don’t want anyone being stressed so they make sure you are nice and ASLEEP! Definitely see if Paul will do something on your behalf!

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  7. Andi

    This sounds horrible and so triggering. I’m sorry you’re dealing with all of this. Seroquel made me gain a ton of weight as well.

    I had a colonoscopy and it was awful. I also had an endoscopy though at the same time so I wasn’t fully sedated. I do NOT recommend that.

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    1. Cat Post author

      It’s one of the worst meds for weight gain. I also had an endoscopy and was awake the entire time! yes, it wasn’t pleasant, but not as triggering as the rear end! I will try to find a way around it, somehow. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  8. ziggy40

    Dear Cat,
    Sorry you are going through this. I needed urgent treatment in that area in 2011. I got through it, possibly better as it was surgery and my doctors were in contact , so they used extra sedation , and I got a private room. The prep was hard.. and waiting..9 hours in surgery. Maybe there your Doctor who gives you meds could contact about special needs of trauma..best of luck…lol
    Love Ziggy

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Ziggy… Yes, I will definitely be looking into what options are available. Thank you for commenting. Hope you’re well

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  9. Sharon Alison Butt

    This is an excellent article! I was amused by the witty bits, not the trauma, of course. I have read everybody’s good advice so I’m not going to add anything, only to say that I am sorry that you are having to face this and I am praying for you.

    You are an overcomer already, so I am praying His peace upon you during this very scary time.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Sharon… I am pleased you picked up on the humorous side and I’ve just notice how your surname “Butt” is so appropriate to the post! I am quite sure it will all work out okay. Thank you for commenting 🙂

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  10. Glynis Jolly

    I’m kind of surprised at the Senior Consultant’s assumptions. Wasn’t there a file there from your regular doctor? Of course, I’m assuming that things work pretty much the same in the UK at they do in the US. Any scheduled appointments at a hospital require patient information from the patient’s regular doctor or the referring doctor.

    Cat, what you went through sound way to dramatic for me. I’d be asking all sort of inappropriate questions in your situation.

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    1. Cat Post author

      It’s just so difficult to talk about, especially to medical doctors. I would prefer my mental health records were not shared with medical staff, it can cause a lot of stigma. When I told this Consultant I was on Quetiapine, he said, “Is that for epilepsy?” He assumed because I looked “normal” it couldn’t be mental health. When I said it wasn’t for epilepsy, he then asked if I was psychotic because it is an anti-psychotic drug. It all made me feel rather uncomfortable, but this is the sort of thing one can expect. So, I’ prefer information to be shared on a need to know basis. My Therapist, Paul, is part of the same hospital. I will ask him if he can intervene and come to a better understanding.

      Thanks, Glynis

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  11. mockingbirddown

    I am so sorry that you can’t get the help that you need in the way you need it.

    You can get things like that over the counter here. Have you tried herbal stuff? I made many trips to herbal shops and some of it helped.

    Sorry again.

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  12. therabbitholez

    Never heard the throne room and it’s numbers 2’s described like this before, thanks for the toilet humour and well done on the weightloss:)

    The experiences not only triggering but harrowing too, to relive it even though the reasons are for health purposes, must be hard to deal with(understatement).

    Perhaps a discussion with your councellor/GP might be able to find a different approach to help with your anxiety and can answer questions you may have, if they have understanding the experience might be a little less traumatic. sounds like sedation might be required, and someone would have to drive you home after.

    Good luck and hugs

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    1. Cat Post author

      I am pleased you liked the toilet humour and, yes, I am delighted with the weight loss.

      I have decided to speak to my Therapist Paul next week. He might be able to help with negotiating an appropriate sedation.

      Thanks for commenting

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  13. cardamone5

    Dear Cat:

    I am so sorry for your suffering
    If I wete near, I would drive you home so you could be sedated, but I am not, and it saddens me that no one there can do this for you. Sending big hugs.

    Love,
    E

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  14. kerryannlongshaw

    So sorry you have to live that experience. Here is a positive to look at that might help to take you through the experience. It will be for the best, it will put your mind at ease when they find nothing to worry about. I am glad that you are not considering just ditching it all together, that shows your strength

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  15. mincs1

    Cat, I continue to be impressed with how you do not shy away from writing about topics that are often considered “taboo”. You have a wonderful sense of humour! I hope all goes well for you 🙂

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  16. Bynda

    Hey Cat. I was feeling very “uninspired” and when I get like that I know if I come to your blog, I can find something that I can relate to and a bit of humor to boot! and I did. I am so sorry that you have to deal with this. I have had the procedure done twice but I am in the US and you really do not remember anything. It was over with so quickly that when they made me wake up, I argued that they had not done anything yet. The staff has to have a sense of humor because you cannot leave until you pass adequate amount of gas/farts. So everyone is laying on hospital beds with only curtains between them just farting like crazy. I was somewhat shy but knew that it was a requirement if I wanted to go home. What was funny was a snooty little lady beside me was tooting louder than anyone in there and every time she would blow gas she would say “that wasn’t ME!” The visit with the endo before the procedure and the prep before they put the iv in was a trigger for me. I cannot even remember what the doc said, all I know is that I was humiliated by what he considered a “joke”. I didn’t realize until years later that It was probably funny to someone who had not been through sexual abuse. However, I still see that doc occasionally as I work in the same hospital and he is probably 70yrs old. he is known for his unprofessional bedside manner and I still cannot look at him in the face. He probably doesn’t recognize anyone’s face anyway 🙂 . But they did find some polyps, both times and they were removed and it is a relief that no cancer was found. I hope they can help you with the sedation part. I can only imagine how traumatic that could be without proper sedation. Good luck and sending hugs from the US!!

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    1. Cat Post author

      You’re always so sweet with your comments and what a hoot you gave me tonight. I’m afraid I’d be rather shy with the blowing. If you farted in our household it was treated as the worst sin 😉 Unfortunately, they aren’t so easy with the sedation in the UK, but that will be my main aim in the coming days/weeks. I need to make them aware and basically plead for more sedation or preferably knock me out! I know someone who was awake the entire procedure due to a low amount of iv Benzo and apparently it is quite painful to have the polyps removed plus I apparently have large haemorrhoids up there… that should be fun 😯

      Thank you for your comment… seems we both cheered each other up

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  17. RisingSong

    Wow, Cat! This sounds pretty awful…reminiscent of my recent visits to the OB/GYN. My first visit after five years was pretty bad. When I was told to return after a few weeks, I was sure that I would discuss my history of abuse ahead of time with the nurse in order to alleviate the trauma…that never happened…Like you, I just couldn’t bring myself to say abuse. Instead, I stared at the light and did my own version of dissociating.

    I definitely recommend sedation for the colonoscopy, even if you have to stay in the hospital or have someone drive you. I don’t know if they still use Versed (midazolam), but from what I heard in school, “it helps you forget”…and it’s short-acting. I wish you good luck.

    …oh and congratulations on the weight loss 😉

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi, so nice to hear from you!

      Yes, they do use a low dosage of Midazolam, but maybe not enough for me!! I have watched some video’s online, which made me feel better about the procedure. It’s going to be difficult to pluck up the courage to talk about abuse, but I might ask my T if he can do it for me! He works for the same hospital, so it might be better 🙂

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