Dealing with GI

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 2/9/2009 1:44 PM (GMT -6)   
I thought I'd put this question out there to all you knowledgeable and experienced people. I first saw my GI in July 2008, had my colonoscopy and official UC diagnosis in October 08. I've been seeing her ever since, pretty regularly (at least every 3 weeks) because I've been flaring the entire time without relief, including a 2 month period of severe illness during which I was bedridden. She started me off on Asacol which didn't work at all, in fact I think that's what made me so sick in November. I was unmedicated for a while then I went on prednisone, starting at 40 mg and have now tapered to 20. I also started Imuran 2 weeks ago.
I'm seeing her this week and I'm kind of nervous about it. The thing is, my visits generally go like this:
GI: How are you feeling?
Me: Not so great actually, I...
GI: How many bowel movements?
Me: Heh, on a good day or a bad day? Generally on a good...
GI: How.Many.Bowel.Movements?
Me: Um, maybe 6-10 on a bad day.
GI: Is there blood?
Me: Yeah mostly.
GI flips through my file, peers at her computer screen for a minute or so.
GI: Okay I'm going to give you a prescription for [enter your favourite drug here].
Me: Um, okay. I'm a little nervous about starting another drug treatment.
GI: You don't have to take it if you don't want to [or some other platitude]
Me: I've still been avoiding wheat and dairy and most fresh fruits and vegetables...
GI: Yes, keep doing that if it's working for you.
Me: Okay, but I'm not sure if it's really working...
GI hands me a prescription and stands, telling me to make an appointment for 2 weeks hence.
Now, I'm not a shrinking violet and I've done a fair amount of research and I've talked to friends with this problem etc etc. But for some reason I just can't get through to this doctor. I spoke briefly to my GP about it last week, and her advice was to make sure I know what I need to say going in and be strong about advocating for my own needs. I fully intend to do that at each and every visit but for whatever reason I get in there with her and my resolve just crumbles.
My question (sorry for the long preamble and thanks for sticking with this post) is, Is this normal? Do all GIs behave this way? Is it possible to find a more "mind-body" GI doc? I'm not too much of a believer in alternative medicine (I've seen a homeopath for other issues with no discernible benefit) but I guess I do believe in a wholistic approach. I'm not a fan of simply throwing a pill at the situation and hoping for the best. I need, and I need for my health care provider, to see the big picture. So what do you think? Start shopping around for a new GI?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2204
   Posted 2/9/2009 2:32 PM (GMT -6)   
It's not unusual. Find another gastro. Any doctor who's unable or unwilling to even listen to your concerns and spend a little time with you is not worth seeing.

In my experience, you'll have better luck finding a GI who takes a holistic approach if you live in or near a major metropolitan area - particularly on the east or west coats. I've been through multiple GIs with no luck here in Arkansas.
Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis spring 1999.
Maintenance dose sulfasalazine. Probiotics, l-glutamine, vitamin D and fish oil caps. George's aloe vera juice. Oregano oil antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal. Mostly grain-free and dairy-free diet. Long-term remission with only minor blips.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 388
   Posted 2/9/2009 2:57 PM (GMT -6)   

I could have written your post,  In fact I posted something very similar a few weeks ago.

 Just about everyone told me seek another GI. 

  Not so easy, I know. It can be hard in one's circle of friends and family to find a person that actually knows a GI to recommend to you.   It also can take weeks to get an new patient appointment which is not a good idea when you are smack dab in the middle of a flare.  If I were you I would keep your appointment with your current doc while you look for a new GI if you decide that is what you should do.

I especially understand the part about now getting through to the doc.   But we are unwell.   We are not feeling our usual strong-and-sassy self especially when we are in the presense of the person we deperately want to heal us.  We might give them more power than is necessary because we want them to make us better. 

It may sound funny, but once I decided I was over and done with my GI for the long term - I still kept my appointment with him because I am flaring also - I, for the first time, said what I wanted to say and took the upper hand in the discussion and feel I got through to him where I never did before. 

Also, if possible, use the nurse as much as you can.  If he/she takes down any preliminary information for the doc before the appt, really give a detailed account of symptoms, making especially clear how this is impacting your life.

And remind them how long this flare has been going on.  Even though they see you often, they might not be thinking of your medical history beyond your last appointment. (I have been flaring for most of 2.5 years and seeing GI often so I  know this to be true sometimes) 

Good luck. I feel for you.

UC diagnosed 10/05, first symptoms 1983
6mp * asacol 12/daily * rowasa pm * cortifoam am 
 Culturelle Probiotic - prilosec - metamucil capsules
past rx: colozal, lialda, canasa
i can't complain, but sometimes i still do.  lifes been good to me so far.  -joe walsh

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 212
   Posted 2/9/2009 3:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Like the others have said....find another GI. This one is not the one for you. Call around. Mine is a keeper. I had to kiss a lot of frogs before I found my prince....erm I mean the right doctor. You need a doctor who understands that talking about your backside and all it's woes isn't easy especially for someone who was just diagnosed.

We're all here for you so no matter the question, just ask away. smilewinkgrin
- DXed with "left sided" UC in 1998. DXed with "proctitis" Oct. 2007
- Sulfasalazine 3 500mg tabs twice daily
- 500mg Vitamin C, 1 Multivitamin, L-Glutamine
- Max Acidophillis EC Capsules 350Mg(7 types of bacteria with over 42 billion viable cells) with 50 Mg colostrum & 50 Mg FOS(fructo-oligosaccharides)
- Experimenting with this or that on occasion. Always open to new ideas.
- Colonoscopies - 2 (Due for my next one ASAP)
- Canasa 1000mg @night. Started Oct. 23, 2008
- Niferex-150 Forte 1 capsule 2x Daily

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 2/9/2009 3:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I've been known to stand up as we talk, then just sort of "wander" to stand in front of the door. That cuts off the quick getaway.

But yes, if she doesn't have time to talk to you and hear your concerns, try someone else. My last GI was very good, but my new one since we movedis a jewel. She's not only willing to talk about extra-intestinal effects, but asks every time about them. When I told her I was developing some significant eczema, she took the time to look at it and told me if it gets worse she will refer me to a rheumatologist.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from Entocort.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
"My life is an ongoing medical adventure"
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 1580
   Posted 2/9/2009 7:14 PM (GMT -6)   

Do you think the eczema is from the Remicaide?
Moderate Pancolitis
Dx'd 05/2007
8 Pentasa per day (4/2)
Corti Foam p.m. 3X per week and canasa every other day
Natural anti fungal, anti inflammation supplements and Probiotics.
Bowel Soother and IntestiNew, Fish Oil, Calcium, Multi Vitamin and Melatonin
Eliminated Fructose and Corn Syrup
Reduced sugar in my diet by at least 70%
Reduced wheat products by 70% 
Could never tolerate artificial sweetners
I excersice daily (unless like now : (  I've lost too much weight)
Did I happen to mention I HATE this disease!!!
*Recent Changes In Blue*

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 381
   Posted 2/9/2009 9:22 PM (GMT -6)   

Gee are you sure you aren't seeing my former GI. What a jerk he was!!! My last two GI's have been wonderful- so my advice is the same- find someone else. THis is too important for you to be treated like that .


Good luck!

Jackie, 43
Pancolitis, DX October 06

Lexapro, Colazal 3x3, Synthroid, Protonix, 6MP (100 mg)
Severely Anemic
Prednisone 20mg, Iron, Vitamin D
Surgery almost certain

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