Before starting biologics they screen you for latent/dormant infections that might reappear otherwise, examples include Tuberculosis and sometimes Hep C. They do a chest xray and skin test for TB. Pretty much those dormant infections can come back to full force, once they sense the immune system is weakened. Most insurance requires you to get annual skin tests for TB, while on biologics as we can get exposed.
It's highly recommend that you/I get an annual flu shot each year while on biologics (I do). It's a reasonable precaution to get one time shingles vaccine, and pneumonia vaccine as well (doctors keep reminding me to do this, but I am lax on this).
I would assume as a dentist, you'd be wearing a paper mask and rubber gloves which would protect you during most exposure to patient bodily fluids. Not sure how often you'd get stabbed with a needle/implement with patient blood on it.
Yes, very rare indeed, I was mostly thinking out loud there regarding the needle sticks.
No Hep C or TB here, probably should be better about
the flu shot, I only have gotten the shot when it was required because I've never gotten the flu before. I joke that my immune system is so strong it got bored and decided to wage war on itself (i.e. autoimmune disease).
If you're seriously considering surgery, I think the first step would be to go on some consultations. I don't think there's any harm in going and speaking to a few surgeons. It might set your mind at ease to know that you already have an option if youknowwhat hits the fan. You might go for a consult and the surgeon may say that you're not ready, or it's unnecessary too... you never know.
There are good and bad things about surgery, and good and bad about treating. The reason I went for surgery, wasn't really because I was out of options, though technically I had blown through almost everything, it was mostly because I knew that if I waited, I was likely to need surgery in a few years regardless. The older you are, the longer it takes to recover. Nothing new has come up since I had surgery that would have helped me (it's been about 5 years). I also knew I never wanted to take steroids again.
For me, surgery has been a gamechanger. I have a j-pouch, so does Bull, KS, and Champ, so none of us have an external appliance. Out of the 4 of us, we've all had different experiences. I have had no complications or issues. KS has well-managed pouchitis. Bull had to have a redo to fix cuffitis. Champ had a hernia and just had a 4th surgery to fix it. That said, I think the situation I have is considered "standard". A lot of people have the procedure, it's in the past, and they move on - don't even focus on UC AT ALL.
The biggest issues I have with post-surgery life are, firstly, noise. Secondly, going more often. Those 2 things aside, my life is SO much better without a chronic illness. I would never go back to living how I was, worried about insurance and RX. I spent so much time and money dealing with UC, it makes me sick to think about it. I lost 10 good years in my 20s and 30s. What a shame. Surgery is not for everyone, and as I said, we have 4 people in this thread - with 4 different outcomes, at the same time, it seems like we are all happy we are done with UC. I would never go back and fight the fight. It just feels pointless to me. I would love to have a working colon, but with moderate/severe UC, I didn't, and I wasn't going to.
At this time, I could pick up and travel, or move to a place with limited healthcare, and live. With UC, I didn't have options. With UC, the thought of being without a job and insurance was something that gave me anxiety - now I think I'd be okay. If I lost my job when I had UC, I was worried I would be too sick to interview or to get to work daily, now I feel like the sky is the limit. In hindsight, the lost time in my prime work years screwed me over fully. At least I've moved forward...
I actually got an infection from biologics, pred, and immune suppressants. It was awful. I spent probably a month in the hospital battling septic shock and organ failure. I am very lucky to have made it through unscathed.
The infection was when you were on all 3 of those meds? That's quite the cocktail.
How often do you have to go to the bathroom? When you say noise, do you mean like gurgling noise from your GI tract?
Sorry to hear about
your experience. I have said in the past that as much as it sucks to have IBD I am grateful I have still been able to live a relatively normal life.
I don't really think I'm at the point that surgery should be considered. But it does sound nice to not have to think about
it much anymore. I know a bodybuilding friend of mine who had Idiopathic Myointimal Hyperplasia of the Mesenteric Vein and had to have his colon removed. He lives a very normal life now and just needs to know where the bathrooms are.
-Proctitis 10/2010. Later diagnosed with Crohn's. Then Pancolitis. Now they call it 'indeterminate colitis'
SCD Diet. Asacol HD. Pentasa. Lialda. Rowasa enema. Uceris. Entocort. Hydrocortisone.
-Hydrocortisone enema. VSL#3DS. Canasa. Slippery elm bark. Astaxanthin. l-glutamine. Psyllium husk. Bee Pollen. Peppermint Oil. Oregano Oil.