Friday, January 21, 2011

My Journey So Far

I’ve been lucky in that my digestive symptoms are fairly recent.  I had my first severe gallbladder attack in April of 2010 (coupled with a nasty ear infection for extra fun) and was diagnosed with gallstones after a few days of poking and prodding.  The doctors said that I would probably need my gallbladder removed at some point in the future, but we all agreed that surgery while I had an infection wasn’t the best idea.  So, being the less than cooperative patient that I am, I figured that maybe I could get my gallbladder under control with dietary changes and some new supplements.  This strategy worked for a while, though the duration and intensity of the pain associated with the attacks was increasing slowly over time.  By the end of the summer it was a moderately annoying issue, but still not bad enough to warrant surgery (in my opinion, anyway). I am not a fan of getting internal structures removed unless it is absolutely necessary.  And I have a knack for waiting until there’s a major surgery inducing crisis.  Cutting to the chase, I had one of those surgical emergencies in October 2010 and am now short one gallbladder.

I’d really like to tell you that I felt much better after that….  Well, I did, for a little less than a week.  Then the stomach / digestive issues started.  The surgery had shocked my entire digestive process to a screeching halt.  I spent longer in the hospital a week after the surgery than I did for the surgery itself.

So the last three months have been a steady stream of doctor’s visits, a growing list of symptoms, more pain, nausea, stomach infections and dehydration than I would rather shake a stick at. Combined with different medications which haven’t worked, endoscopies, CT scans, IVs and lots of Zofran and Phenergan. I’ve thankfully been able to resume a normal class schedule but still haven’t been well enough to get back to my research, which, well, just pushes out the date of my next job and paycheck.  Minor detail. :-)  
As of today I don’t have a formal diagnosis.  The suspected cause of at least some of my issues is Gastroparesis, which translates to English as ‘food stays in my stomach for way too long and doesn’t digest properly’.

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