A woman jumps from sample container to sample container as they start to topple behind her and she loses her footing

Another Stool Test Fiasco

It is inevitable. If you have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, you will be asked for a stool test at some point throughout your IBD journey. For me, personally, I get asked for stool tests regularly and I find them to be highly helpful and effective in seeing where you are in your disease.

However, I just want to vent a little about the process because that is the beauty of this community – we can all go through these things together and not feel so alone.

When IBD medication fails

Just recently, I had a colonoscopy to see how things are going with my progress on a new drug, Xeljanz. I have been on it for almost 3 years now and my improvement has been stellar. This is the first drug that has brought me relief from my symptoms and my gut is actually healing.

On the flip side, although it has improved greatly and healing has taken place, there is a section of the colon that remains diseased. In response to this, my doctor wants to switch medication to basically a newer and more improved version of Xeljanz. I thought it was a great idea.

Sadly, the moment I began this new medicine, I had adverse effects. I started to get fevers and my bowel movements changed. In response to this reaction, we stopped the drug immediately and I was sent to do blood work and stool tests to see if there was some sort of infection going on in my bowels.

Not 1, not 2... but 3 stool tests

For the first time, I was asked to do 3 different stool tests. One to check calprotectin, another for pathogens, and another for C. diff. Whoa, what a doozy. So 3 tubes I had to fill up with feces.

Isn't it the most awkward moment when you walk into the lab to turn in your stool test? You literally have your crap in a tube, and mind, you a transparent tube for everyone to see. It is so strange and weird, I wish there was a different way to go about it. 

And why on earth do they sometimes make you take the tube out of the bag for everyone to see? Usually, they have you do it in the room where it is just you and the phlebotomist but sometimes I have had to retrieve the tube and give it to the receptionist. Lord!

Why is it always such a fiasco?

In this particular instance that's exactly what happened. I passed the tube to the receptionist who asked for it and when she was inputting my stool tests into the system, it was discovered that one of the tubes was incorrect. 

I needed a different tube for it to be processed properly. I was so bummed. This meant I had to redo one of the tests at home. Come back and turn it in. I wasn't the happiest.

So my stubborn self decided the heck with it. I am here. I have the new tube. Let's use the restroom and see if I can make something happen and not have to come back here another time.

Stool test in a public bathroom

Off I went to the bathroom with the new tube and toilet pan. To my luck, I was able to produce a sample. As I used the equipment to fill the tube with my specimen, I couldn't help but laugh at myself. Is this really my life right now? I am literally playing with my own poop in a public restroom.

Out of the bathroom, I went straight to the front desk to turn in the new sample, and the receptionist was impressed. She told me that she was going to suggest I try using the restroom so I didn't have to come back again, but she didn't want to embarrass me.

I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself. But gosh, can there be a way to make this whole stool test drop-off less of a fiasco?

I want to hear YOUR stories

How about you? Have you had any memorable experiences with turning in stool samples? Share below, we love to hear your stories.

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