Hold Up, Wait A Minute

I’m not dead. Nor have I had surgery.

What?!?! You may be asking yourselves. Didn’t they make it sound super serious and like things would go super quickly and that you might, even, have to go to the ER and that surgeons there would be updated as to your case so they could properly treat you in your surgeon’s absence?! Yes. All of that was told to me. Yet here we are three weeks later.

So, in the last three weeks here’s what’s new:

I cancelled my trip home for Thanksgiving, was sad about that, then got all full of logic from my dude and my Dad and then got super excited and happy at the thought of having my very first Thanksgiving with my guy and our dogs and cooking my first turkey and the whole thing. And guess what? It was great! I was able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without too much pain and I was able to enjoy my favorite part, the turkey goulash, without any pain at all!

Before that, however, we went to an early Thanksgiving dinner at his sister’s house and that fucked me up big time. I felt worse than I’ve felt in some time. Things got ugly. But that has passed.

In the past three weeks I have, also, stopped wearing a bra. Ever. Like, not even once have I had on a bra and I just might make this a permanent change in my life. I feel awesome. But the bras were causing too much pressure around the very area that is having the issues so I’ve set it, and my boobs, free. And it’s great. At first I felt weird and self conscious about it all but now? Nope. It’s just boobs. Get over it, world.

Also, since Friday after Thanksgiving….I have felt better than I have in months! I’m able to eat whatever I want, which is being nicely reflected on the scale. Oops on that. I can tell something is still not super right in there but it’s not causing the pain and misery that it once was. So, in my mind I can’t help but wonder if things have untwisted and/or un-herniated a bit? Which will be great! It could mean surgery is much easier.

Which brings me to surgery. I met with the surgeon last week on Tuesday. He explained what is happening inside of me really well and his course of action. Or, at least, what his course of action was on that day. Basically I have the paraesophageal hernia. The fundus portion of my stomach is what is herniated into my chest. The paraesposhageal hernia means it’s herniated into my chest in front of my esophagus instead of beside it. And it appeared to be incarcerated. Which means stuck. The lower part of my stomach, the part that hasn’t herniated, is also twisted. Usually stomachs that twist do so side to side. Mine decided to do it from the bottom up. I just love being different. So, his plan was to determine the best repair for the hernia once he’s in there and sees how bad/big it is, do the toupet fundoplication (which is where they wrap part of the stomach half way around the esophagus to keep it in place), and do it all laparoscopicly.

But they did not give me a date in which all of that would happen.

So, I called the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to talk to the scheduler. Nothing. I waited until Tuesday to call her back. Still nothing. Finally I get a call yesterday.

That call was to inform me that they’d like for me to go have a CT Scan with Contrast of the esophagus and abdomen so they can check for kinks and other such things. Which I wholeheartedly agree with. Of course they should make sure they can see and know what, exactly, is going on in there to prevent them from having to open me up more or do exploratory stuff. But…I need this surgery done before midnight on December 31st. And I need it to NOT interfere with my Star Wars viewing pleasure. I’m not even kidding.

This whole ordeal caused me to not go to California to see The Muppets Live at the Hollywood Bowl with my friend Randi, which would have been a dream come true. That worked out for Randi to take a nice friend of hers in a bad situation. This whole ordeal caused me to not go home to be with my family for Thanksgiving. But I got to stay here and have a low key, stress free, lovely holiday with my boyfriend. This whole ordeal made me feel miserable on my birthday. But I had a lovely day anyway, despite throwing up on the side of the road. I’ve missed work, I’ve had so many tests, I’ve had so much blood drawn, I had to gather my own poo, I’ve felt worse than I ever have in my life, I’ve not hiked, I’ve not made plans, I’ve thrown my healthy diet out the window, I’ve been self involved and have no idea what’s going on with my friends, and on and on and on. I will NOT also miss out on Star Wars. We have tickets. I will not. And I will not allow this to carry over into next year and cost me way more.

So, that’s where we are now. I’m just in constant limbo and sort grumpy about it. But the holiday spirit is hitting me and the grumpy is fading away and for that I am glad. Waiting is not my strong suit, however. So I’m hoping that they get the CT Scan results quickly, get a plan of action together quickly, and get me into surgery quickly. I’m calling to put that deadline in their notes, though. Being proactive and shit.

I hope anyone reading this is having a lovely holiday season so far! Lots of joy and gleeful vibes for you.

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So Many Answers

I finally had an endoscopy. Which lead them to send me directly to a radiology center to have an upper GI done.

Let’s discuss the endoscopy first. I was nervous, of course. But it was no sweat. They take me in and put me on a hospital bed and I’ve got an IV in and I’m wearing a gown and they’re coming in and telling me things and asking me things and getting it all ready to rock. Then they take me to the room and I see my doctor and and it’s cold so I ask for another blanket. They give me one and then they tell me to roll over on my left side, so I do, then they put in the bite guard, then the anesthesiologist says “OK, you’ll start to feel this really soon” and I was all “yeah, sure” like I always am but then it hit me and everything started to go all fuzzy and the last thing I remember is saying “Oh, yeaaaaah.” I, apparently, like that fuzzy feeling more than I realize.

Then? I wake up and I feel fine and I’m in a different room and my boyfriend is there and I’m being told that I have to go to a different facility for a different procedure and they won’t tell me what that means yet then they bring me paperwork but won’t explain anything because my GI doc has to do that and then he finally appears and explains what’s happening.

He discovered that my hiatal hernia has gotten worse and parts of my stomach are twisted. So, the upper GI is in order to find out how bad all of that is. So, off we go!

We arrive, I get checked in, I get taken back to the room, I’m x-rayed then I’m told to drink this really thick, chalky crap so they see my stomach and esophagus more clearly. Well that shit wasn’t happening. I choked, I gagged, I damn near threw up. I only drank 1/2 of what they wanted me to do but he said he’d make it work since I was having such a horrid time and he could tell I wasn’t faking it.

I had to lay on the x-ray machine and roll all around to see all of the angles of the stomach and esophagus to see where everything is in relation to one another and all that jazz.

What he explained to me is that my hiatal hernia is of the para-esophageal variety which means that the junction where¬† the esophagus meets the stomach is still below the diaphragm but the stomach has moved in front of the esophagus AND moved up through the diaphragm. And? Yes, it’s twisted a bit.

And guess what you guys? All that stuff is like 5% of all hiatal hernias so I’m rare and special and shit. Go me.

So, I get to have surgery! A hiatal hernia repair with a toupet fundioplication. Sounds fancy, right? Two surgeons will fix me at one go. This will happen before the end of the month.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. Because the surgeon’s office called and let me know that if my pain gets significantly worse to go to the ER of the hospital I will be having the surgery at and my surgeon has made the on-call surgeon’s aware of me and my case and will do the surgery while he is out of town. So, that’s scary. And reassuring, too.

The upside is that now that I know it’s not related to food I’m sort of eating more substantially here and there. Not all the time, since my stomach seems to be in a predicament. But I really know that with as shitty as I feel I need more protein and for whatever reasons, I feel my best when I’m able to get my protein from meat. So, I’ve tried chicken and that’s hit or miss. Usually if I put it with carbs and creamy sauces it’s fine. Because carbs are easier to digest than protein. And this week I’m eating Hamburger Helper of all things to get some red meat in there. I just don’t want to buy good food and then have to throw it out if I can’t eat it! So, crap foods.

The good news is that we have an answer and that once I’m fixed and recovered I’ll be better than I have been in years! Because I’ll no longer have a hiatal hernia! So I, likely, will be able to stop taking the daily Prilosec! Which is great!

I’ll be in the hospital a few days and out of work a few weeks and off the trails for a few months, sadly. But I’m gonna walk around my neighborhood to stay active and not just couchy. I’ll be on a liquid and soft food diet for at least a week or two, too, I think.

I’m doing a living will and getting a power of attorney in place. But every time I look at the forms to fill out I get super dizzy so I think that means I’m more scared that I even realize. I spent three hours one night laying in bed afraid to fall asleep out of fear of dying before I woke up. Because I’m absurd.

So, finally. I am finally not a medical mystery and now I am on the road to getting this fixed! Keep good thoughts and good vibes and good juju headed my way. Please and thank you.

Insert Witty Title Here

My issue seems to now occur once daily at a time it decides to but then isn’t as severe.

Since realizing that I’ve also made note that my going to the bathroom times has returned to normal. And so now I can’t help but wonder….is all of this just my dumb body figuring out how to function without a gallbladder? If so, why? Most people I talked to out here in the real space said they had no adjustment period. Are they just not truly remembering or is my digestive system just a drama queen? Or is it, really, actually something going wrong in there? Here’s to hoping the endoscopy will answer that question once and for all!

Meanwhile, I am now 100% convinced that it doesn’t matter what I eat. That my body is gonna do that thing when it damn well pleases. And I base this on the fact that I basically ate pizza for lunch and dinner on Saturday after recovering from having a slight episode that morning. Then yesterday? The clincher. I ate two soft tacos. From Taco Bell. Without issue. If you’re able to do that without any issues, food is not your problem. And? I now have full hope and belief that once they figure out what is going on with me that I’ll be able to eat whatever, whenever and my life will be exactly as it was and then these past months will become another distant memory of strife that I don’t remember so much when I tell people “naw, man….I’ve had a pretty great and easy life!”

Are you picking up on this more positive tone? Because it’s real. I had delayed PMS that was condensed into two days. I am no longer angry at everyone. My ire is now only directed at those that truly deserve it.

But to keep the mood elevated and nice, I’m being thankful on the daily on Facebook. It’s nice.

But you guys…I ate tacos. *contented sigh*