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*

And the Kitchen Sink!

I’m gonna touch on all sorts of stuff so it may be best to do this with short paragraphs of my thoughts! Fun!

The news today is very very exciting and I hope it’s just the beginning of the whole mess of them going down.

I have a follow up appointment with my surgeon’s PA tomorrow because one of my incisions is still not healing well. It just so happens to be the incision closest to the area I experience the most discomfort. Related? Coincidence? Who knows. Hopefully we’ll find out tomorrow!

So, yeah, I’m still having discomfort and it continues to not follow any sort of schedule. And? It doesn’t even seem to need food to happen! I was watching a movie yesterday (which will be its own paragraph) and not eating snacks or anything when suddenly I had gurgling and throbbing. So, food not required! Neat.

I am scheduled for an endoscopy next Tuesday. I hope that finds the answer.

Oh, yeah, since we’re still doing tests that means that my h. pylori and giardia tests came back negative. Still waiting to hear about the celiac results, though. I’m certain those will be negative as well.

I have an appointment with a highly regarded GI Doc as a set of fresh eyes. However, if the endoscopy reveals the reason he will not be necessary. But I have it for just in case. Yay!

The whole #metoo thing really brought out a bunch of nonsense, yeah? Like, I’m glad to know women and men that understand and are sensible. But for all of those men out there that are now saying dumb shit like “I just don’t even know how to go about interacting with women now out of fear of being accused of harassment!” I say “You’re an idiot.” Women are people, how about you just interact with them like that. Fuck.

Also, I realized I have been part of the problem. In the past I worked with a dude that got his jollies making women in the workplace feel uncomfortable. He was, what I judged at the time, harmless and to be ignored as his enjoyment was the way the women responded to his bullshit. When I ignored him or simply said “Yeah, no, knock it off” without a show of discomfort or anger, he dropped it immediately and sort of stopped trying. So, I gave that advice to the women around me. “Stop getting angry, ignore him, just tell him plainly to knock it off.” So, yeah, I added to the issue instead of truly standing up to him or reporting him about it. Sorry, women I worked with in the past. That was really dumb.

But I also cannot ignore the dumb women that I know that feel that if a dude simply walks past them and says “hi” as they cross paths in a grocery store or whatever that he’s a creeper aren’t helping. Some people simply say hi, assholes. Can we all just get a fucking grip here?

Fuck Kevin Spacey, you guys. He can fuck right off with his nonsense.

The movie I went to see this weekend was “Jigsaw.” I rewatched “Saw” so I could remember what this is all about and what I realized is that “Saw” is, actually, a fairly interesting premise and not the gore fest, torture porn my brain had remembered it to be. I didn’t hate “Jigswaw” so I went home and watched “Saw 2.” That one was boring and tedious and maybe is why I remembered the first one as a gore fest. Because “Saw 2” was, in fact, a gore fest. And it was loud and screamy and I found the presence of Donny Walberg to be distracting because when he’d get yelly or violent I’d think “Man, that New Kid sure is mad” and laugh. So, I may skip watching all of the others. I will say that they’re not scary, just gross at times.

There was a preview of a new Liam Neeson movie coming out that started out with me thinking “Oh, this sounds intriguing and like maybe I should note the name and release date!” and turned into “Why do all movies need explosions and trains running off the track?!?! This was interesting enough without that bullshit!” and now I can’t even tell you the name because they ruined it. I’m, mostly, unimpressed with what Hollywood is putting out these days.

The “Justice League” movie looks like a hot mess and I’m mad at DC for not making good movies.

A co-worker friend moved into my neighborhood and we felt up to it one evening and went for a three mile walk! So, it’s nice to have a walking buddy in my ‘hood for those evenings I feel up to being active.

I’ve realized I don’t have traditions or things in my life that tie me strongly to a loved one and that makes me think that maybe I’m dead inside.

I’m real tired of people that feel that all families can financially bail each other out at all times or that that is even what they are for! Some people are, truly, not that financially secure. It’s a fact of life.

I’m also real tired of a lot of things in general. And it could just be because I don’t generally feel well so I’m grumpy. But everyone fighting all of the time and all of the actual fake news and all of the conspiracies and all of the Trump supporters twisting shit and forgetting how ugly they acted toward Obama and all of the outrage all of the time and the assholes in D.C. trying to take away reproductive rights any way that they can and then people yelling that there are more important things to focus on and the NFL bullshit and Tomi in her flag bullshit and everyone all of the time being angry and hypocritical on both sides and I’m just fucking over everyone at this moment. Everybody sucks.

Everybody sucks.

Normalcy

Saturday morning my boyfriend and I went out to have breakfast together. I had pancakes. It went well. So, now I sort of want to go out to eat all of the time and just have pancakes.

Sunday morning we took all of our dogs on a short hike to see how his would do. Which they did great, we just need to get an earlier start so they don’t overheat. Especially the older little guy.

Both of these events just made me feel normal and good. I feel like all I do is talk about how I feel, how I’ve been feeling, what the next steps are, think about what I can eat, stress about making sure I don’t get heartburn or trigger an attack at work, calculate how long of a hike I can take if I get to schedule one, etc.

It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted. And I just don’t feel like myself.

And I definitely don’t feel sexy or desirable.

I have new scars on my body, one of which isn’t totally healed yet. My body makes gurgling noises non stop. I’m burpy. I wind up having mystery pains at random.

None of that adds up to a sexy Andrea and I’m sad.

I have a lot of lab tests to do next Friday, one of which is the h. pylori one. I’m also being tested for celiac and gardia. Then in November I’ll be tested for overgrowth in the small intestine.

However these results turn out will dictate what he’s looking for and what he’ll do when I get my endoscopy, since that is a definite that should happen. And a colonoscopy.

More of me not feeling very sexy, y’all.

I also wonder how much of our current political/media climate is impacting me. Stress is not good for the GI tract and I’m definitely feeling stress over the state of our world. I’m going to take off all news alerts from my phone, restrict my Facebook time even more, and not engage in any sort of debate to see if any of that helps. It definitely can’t hurt.

When I finally return to normal I hope I never have to be reminded to enjoy it. To not take it for granted. Because it can be taken away at any moment.

The See Saw

I called my GI doctor yesterday and left a message for his assistant that basically said “Hey, we’ve tried all sorts of shit so now let’s go ahead and test me for h pylori like I wanted to before, okthanksbai.”

His assistant called me late yesterday afternoon and it sounds like he begrudgingly agreed to test me for that BUT had his assistant warn me with a grim tone of voice that I’ll “have to stop taking your Prilosec for TWO WEEKS.” *insert scary music here that was implied by her tone*

Fine! I can stop taking it for two weeks to take a test that will tell me if I have a bacterial infection or not.

All of my symptoms, well most, point to yes, yes I do. My aunt told me straight up that she will be SHOCKED if the test is negative. So, we shall see.

So, good news, I finally get to be tested for something that I should have been tested for months ago.

Bad news, I may potentially feel worse from time to time thanks to not being on my meds. BUT! I may not, too.

I never ever thought I would ask for something like this, but please keep your fingers crossed that this test is positive so all I have to do is take a round of antibiotics to be cured. That I will FINALLY have the answer and the solution and be able to eat normally again. Please and thank you!!

And then say a little prayer for my doc who will have my rage rained upon him.

Amen.

Boring and Bland and Bored

I spent my weekend feeling like shit. Then, yesterday, I had the audacity to simply wake up and there it was….a deep, throbbing pain. I didn’t even have to eat anything.

So, I’m finally doing a true bland food diet. My aunt recommended I do that for 72 hours just to see and then we’ll go from there. So, I am. Cream of wheat. Saltines. Spaghetti noodles boiled in chicken broth. More saltines. Water. Fruity Pebbles, since they are rice based and I haven’t been to the store yet.

I’m tracking my food and my poops, too. HOW FUN! However, this morning’s was fun since it was bright green and I got to Google that. Oh, my life. What even are you?

Also, look at my good girl just sitting and waiting like you should in a waiting room:

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She’s had a few bouts of vomiting, not eating, and her belly making horrible noises. So, I took her to be checked out.

The vet was going over all that it could be, from the simplest to the worst. She doesn’t feel it’s the worst. But the simplest was “acid reflux and anxious belly.” To which I just couldn’t stop shaking my head and smiling in disbelief as she started talking about Pepcid and Prilosec for my dog and she finally asked what’s up. So, I told her that I had a crazy question and proceeded to tell her all about my woes and how on the day of my surgery she had puked and my boyfriend joked it was due to my nerves impacting her. The vet said that was actually highly probable! That if she is really in tune with me, like she is, that my issues could be stressing her out.

So, we’re doing simple bloodwork to rule out anything for real and I have instructions on how much Pepcid to give her if it happens again.

My little familiar. She loves me too much.

So that is the tale of how me and my little dog wound up on the same meds.