For the past several years, I have been dealing with bouts of abdominal pain that last for hours and are very uncomfortable, resulting in lots of bloating and referred back pain as well. Seems that I was defying medical diagnosis for quite some time until I was referred to a GI specialist.
Over the course of the past three years, I have had numerous blood tests taken both during these attacks and not. My pancreatic enzymes were up for discussion, looking for pancreatitis. Negative.
I have had two gastroscopies - where the doc sprays local anaesthetic in your throat and gets you to swallow a honking big hose that contains a camera, for a good look around your stomach to make sure there aren't any ulcers or tumours. Has a little nipper thing he can slide down there too if he needs to take a tissue sample for biopsy. Negative on that front also.
I have had to drink liquid barium, an xray contrast medium that is like drinking liquid chalk. Least they could do is flavour the stuff, but noooo... just chug the whole glass then lay down on the table so they can watch what it does in your stomach. Then every 30 minutes you get to go back and get zapped by radiation again and again while they follow the barium all the way through to your bowel. That took four hours... four very long hours. Because I have had previous abdominal surgery, they were looking for strictures of scar tissue that might possibly be wrapped around my bowel causing the pain. Negatory.
Then on to the Ultrasound. Twice. A year apart. Absolutely nothing abnormal showed up on either of those. The attacks continued, not really influenced by what I ate (ie: high fat foods) and usually occurring in the late afternoon or evening. Go figure.
So then I got referred to the GI guy. Finally.... Really nice doc. I had done my research and determined that I had biliary colic and the GI guy agreed with me, after reviewing my file. So he sent me for an MRI to get a better look at what was going on in my belly and it showed I have sludge in my gall bladder. Not stones, but sludge.
So apparently, the sludge would slide around in my gall bladder and cause it to spasm. Which could be pretty intense and not always relieved with things like Tylenol #3's and Gravol. But never so severe that I was willing to sit in the Emergency Room for hours on end to get a shot of Demerol or Morphine, because by the time I would get in, the pain would be gone. So I would take what I had at home and stick it out. Sometimes, that would be up to 6 hours.... talk about a major belly ache!
The GI doc wanted to put me on some medication that might (and I repeat, might) dissolve the sludge. So for six months, I took three pills a day that did absolutely nothing for the attacks. I felt no different. Went back at the end of those 6 months for a repeat MRI and guess what? The sludge was still there!
So the next step was referral to a surgeon to get the offending organ removed. Saw him in August and had the surgery two days ago - laparascopic cholecystectomy.
It all went as expected and no unusual complications but I did puke a fair bit after because of the morphine they gave me. That settled about 4 hours post-op so not too bad. The thick feeling in my ears was from the anaesthetic and that didn't clear until last night some time.
So today, two days post-op and I actually feel pretty good except I have a sore belly. I look like a stabbing victim though! I have four holes in my belly. But I am not nauseated and I have a relatively good appetite, although I am being careful about what I eat. Don't want to load my system with fatty foods and end up in the biffy in an hour with everything exiting in a hurry! I haven't experienced that but do know that some people don't tolerate any fatty foods at all once the gall bladder is gone.
For those of you with an interest, this is a link to a video of an actual lap choley. Not mine though, because the hospital I had it done at doesn't have the capacity to tape the procedures - or at least, that is what they told me. I would have liked to see what I personally look like on the inside, but that is just the nurse in me coming out, I think.
I am keeping my fingers crossed now that this will mean an end to the attacks of abdominal pain. I asked the surgeon to have a good look around at the parts he could see when he was in there to make sure nothing looked amiss. Will get his view of things when I see him in three weeks. Until then, I am just hangin' out, healin' up and takin' it easy.