Thursday, January 14, 2010

Puzzled

This abdominal stuff has been stressing me out. It's quite strange because when the pain occurs I feel a surge of anxiety along with this feeling that something is really wrong. It doesn't help that my anxiety has been on the increase these past couple weeks.

I refuse to go back and see Dr. Muscle Strain so I contacted my insurance company to see if I needed to have a referral to see a GI doctor. Contrary to what I'd been told over the phone by various doctor's office I was told that I do not need a referral. Thank goodness. So I contacted a very local (exactly 1.7 miles from my house) GI doctor on Tuesday. The RN who answered the phone upon hearing my symptoms told me they wanted to see me sooner than later and made an appointment with a doctor the following day.

I went to the appointment expecting to be brushed off but I was hoping for a referral for a HIDA Scan to see if my gallbladder is working correctly. The doctor I saw was very nice and I really liked him. He was good friends with my doctor who died in October. He asked a bunch of questions then took me to an exam room. I was expecting him to palpate my entire abdomen but he didn't even though he began the exam stating "I'm going to press down in a bunch of places". He started with a spot near the right side of my stomach. He pressed and asked if that hurt. I said "a little not that much.....OH MY GOD THAT HURTS"  as he continued to press harder. He stopped the exam at that point and we went back to his office. He didn't palpate any other part of my abdomen, didn't feel the gallbladder or anything.

He said that he's going to order an endoscopy (although he called it something else). He said he wanted to see what was happening in my upper GI tract. I was surprised and thrown off a bit. He also gave me some medication to take to reduce the stomach acid? It's called Zegerid and is a combination of prilosec and sodium bicarbonate. As he gave me the samples to take he said "I want to get that stomach acid down before your endoscopy." I was totally confused by that point and failed to follow up on why he thought I even had stomach acid because I didn't think I was describing symptoms of a stomach ulcer.

So I sat there for a minute and finally asked him "do you think I have cancer?" and proceeded to tell him about my mom and dad. I've never asked a doctor this question. He said "that's why I'm ordering the endoscopy." Huh. I was hoping for a different answer.

I asked for a HIDA scan although I felt kind of dumb for continuing to pursue the gallbladder issue when he is clearly thinking something else. I didn't even have the presence of mind to ask him what he thought was going on. He said "I'm going to order one test at a time. If the endoscopy comes back normal then I'll order the HIDA scan." I was glad to hear that.

So I left his office feeling good about him because he seemed to be thorough (he ordered liver functioning tests along with amylase and a hepatitis panel) and he seemed to be ruling things out as we were talking. He does not think this is a muscle strain. But I also felt surprised and confused.

I'm wondering if that place where he pressed is responsible for the pain I've been having. It's right near the sternum on the right hand side. I also get pain radiating around the liver area to the back almost like the pain is tracing an outline of my liver.

I stopped the Zywobin Forte because it was causing pain. I'm disappointed because I felt like the enzymes were helping. I also stopped the cholestryamine because that was also causing pain. The fact that both of them caused pain was surprising because neither contains any fat but then the pain has gotten to the point where its not predictable or connected to any particular food. It's not severe pain but enough to be distracting. Sometimes its more of a dull ache.

I put on a pair of jeans to go to the doctor's appointment. I was concerned to see that I was swimming in them so I'm continuing to lose weight. I don't think it shows that much in my face but when I put on clothes its very clear and concerning. These jeans were tight awhile ago.

I am still taking Famvir at the full dose. It's only been 12 days so too early to notice a difference.

14 comments:

  1. Hi, Terri -

    So sorry to hear you're going through a rough time and in so much pain. Sounds pretty scary. It's good that you've found a GI specialist you trust who seems to know what he's doing. Please let us know how the test goes. I'm thinking of you!

    Sue

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  2. Thanks Sue! Dealing with this on top of the ME/CFS isn't fun. I'm glad to have found a good GI specialist also.

    It is all a bit scary given my parents history. Thanks for your thoughts...I'll be sure to keep you posted.

    Terri

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  3. Hi Terri
    Sorry to hear that you are going through this stomach problem. Your plate is so full already. it does sound good that you found this guy. Hopefully you can rule out cancer and get to the bottom of this. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers..

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  4. Terri,

    It sounds to me like this doctor knows what he's doing. He's ordered a test that will tell him the condition of your body at the point that he felt the pain. Maybe you feel pain in a different part of your body because that's "referred pain" as I think it's called.

    Please don't be worried about cancer. Endoscopies are performed all the time to see why people are in pain in their upper abdomen (I had one for that very reason and it was negative -- just indigestion).

    I just get the sense from your description of the appointment that this doctor knows his job.

    I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with this on top of ME/CFS. Life can be so hard. I'm thinking of you.

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  5. Thanks Renee! He seems like a really good doctor as well as a caring person. Once cancer is ruled out I'll be able to relax more. I know you are dealing with a lot too. Thank you for the prayers and thoughts I can kind of use them...

    Terri

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  6. Thank you Toni! And thanks for your explanation. Sometimes it helps to have it spelled out. I'm hoping it will turn up nothing.

    I'm glad its not just me who thinks well of this doctor and that all of you have that sense too.

    My endoscopy is on 2/2.

    How was the procedure itself Toni? Did you crash from it?

    Thanks again...

    Terri

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  7. I didn't crash from the procedure although, with me, it's hard to measure because I'm always crashed. But it certainly didn't make me worse. These procedures are so much easier than they used to be. They use a new type of anesthetic that ever so gently puts you in a kind of pleasant dream state and then it wears off just as gently. I had no discomfort or pain afterward.

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  8. Oh good. That's a relief to know. I was worried I would crash from it like I did the toe surgery (which was minor). I guess I'm always crashed too-good point!

    Thanks so much Toni. I really appreciate it. You relieved much of my anxiety...

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  9. Sorry to hear you are going through yet another thing, Terri. This Dr. does sound like a good one. I can so relate to your "Dr. Muscle Strain"....I had one like that too...I think I'll refer to her as "Dr. Gas" (as she said my arm, leg, neck swelling was caused from gas..../sigh).

    I had that procedure (endoscopy)done and was glad as it ruled out many things.

    Thinking of you.

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  10. Thank you Linda. I laughed out loud at "Dr. Gas." I think I'm going to change the name of my doctor to that.

    It does seem like one thing after another. I'm so grateful to everyone for their support. I don't know how I would have made it through without it.

    I am ready to just settle into life and not have something else happen though.

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  11. Terri
    Having a good doctor is so important. I'm glad you found one who takes you seriously and is covering every base. I'm crossing my fingers that he rules out his first concern and moves on.

    I had a tube down the throat test about 5 years ago after I had severe GERDS following a prolonged seige of antibiotics to get rid of an infection. I'm very sensitive to anesthesia but this was indeed very light. I was a little dopy the rest of the morning, then back to my 'normal' self.

    Keep us posted about how things go!

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  12. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that all goes well. Sounds like you are in very good hands.

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  13. Ugh! Sorry you are having to deal with this Terri, there's nothing like having to deal with a sudden onset of new symptoms and the slew of tests and doc. appts that go with it, on top of ME/CFS.

    Two years ago I experienced a sudden onset of severe abdominal symptoms and weight loss. My GE did do one test at a time (that's a good thing your doc. is doing, but the waiting is so hard). A condition (non-cancerous)was diagnosed on test number three. Gall bladder probs can also show up in many different ways and take a long time to diagnose...

    Sending warm thoughts and calm vibes Terri through this testing and waiting period. Cyberhug, Kerry

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  14. I'm sorry to hear about what you are going through. I am glad, however, that you have found what appears to be a really good doctor. That is always important with our illness and not always so easy to find.

    I hope that you find out exactly what is wrong and that the doctor will also have the right plan to help you get better.

    You in my thoughts and prayers.

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