Chronicle

I’m excited about the movie of the same name and I thought it a fitting title for whatever this saga turns out to be with my poor, sad little gallbladder.

I had a HIDA scan last week.  It’s a relatively painless procedure for those without gallstones (that’s me!) and I really felt no discomfort other than the general discomfort of laying on a narrow platform for two hours.

Unfortunately, my gallbladder took forever to respond and received a negative score on emptying.  It’s supposed to be at least 40%… mine was -8.  I’m not sure how something empties negatively, but the nurse (who I love) explained that it means I have gallbladder dyskinesia.  In other words, the muscles aren’t working. They just sit there eating bonbons, reading LHJ and thinking whatever thought lazy gallbladders think.

I have a consult with a surgeon at Parkwest on January 23.  I have a list of questions already ready already.  Ha.

In other news and notes, the clean eating has been going very, very well.  I’ve eaten like royalty this week, cooking every night but last night (we had leftovers).  We’ve had Cioppino, sirloins, roasted tomato flatbreads, and whole wheat macaroni (not cheesy enough- I need a sharper cheese).  I’ve eaten a lot more fruit and veggies than I’ve ever eaten, including a ton of spinach, tomatoes, carrots, apples, and pears.  There’s not much fruit in season right now!  I can’t eat pomegranates until I get this issue resolved, either.  Boo.

Snacking proves not to be a problem, either.  I have discovered LaraBars.  More specifically, I have discovered peanut butter chocolate chip LaraBars.  Deeeeelicious.  I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a clean snack.

Tomorrow is grocery shopping, huzzah!

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The old grind.

School starts again tomorrow.  I love teaching, but I hate being ill when I’m teaching.  I have to take time to remind myself that I have known teachers who were ill enough to have to be taken from the building in an ambulance.  I’m not anywhere near that level of illness.  Thank God!

We’ve taken the 100 Days of Healthy Eating pledge- in our own way.  I don’t have much choice on some days and have to drink an Ensure because I can’t eat anything at all.  Also, my body will tolerate some things quite well and other give it occasional problems.  It’s kind of a toss-up right now regarding what will or will not make me feel okay.

That said, we have replaced roughly 95% of our pantry and fridge/freezer with local, organic, and/or natural products.  The goal is to stop putting pesticides, additives, and chemicals into our bodies.  I’ll also be cooking home-cooked meals at least 3 times a week and depending on frozen food less.  Eating out won’t happen nearly as much as it used to (sometimes 4 days a week!).

I’ve always been big on priorities.  Family (and this includes health and home life), friends,  and my personal faith comes first.  Doing my job well and serving my students comes second.  Everything else can scramble for the rest of the slots.  I struggle not to let school be my always-number-one because I work VERY hard at my job and often overwork myself.  That’s no good!  I’m learning what things are important in my daily classroom life and what things are only there for looks.  Whatever serves the kids stays, everything else is negotiable.

I have LOTS of fun things planned for them this spring.  My UT intern, MB (I’ll keep her anonymous in case she has stalkers!)  has tons of interesting, fun lessons planned, too.  We’re looking forward to a fantastic spring semester even though…

IT’S SNOWING RIGHT NOW!  😀

I had  my abdominal ultrasound on the 28th and it came back clear.  No gallstones!  While this is something to be pleased as punch about, it also means more tests.

On Monday, I will be calling the doctor back to schedule a HIDA to check the function of my gallbladder.  A friend of mine had a similar situation with no stones but limited function, so we shall see.

I’m still on a limited diet, but I’m eating more now than I was.  I’ve pledged to eat clean as much as possible but my body doesn’t seem to care (yet).

After this next test, the next step will be an upper scope.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I dread this.  I know they knock you out and numb you, but I simply fear the whole thing.  And I definitely fear gagging on the doctor although it certainly can’t be the first time that’s happened to him or her.  I hope.

I’m really hoping, strangely enough, that I either have limited gallbladder function and this will take care of it or that an upper scope reveals h. pylori that the blood test didn’t pick up.  What I DON’T want is to have them find nothing and declare that I have to live like this forever and give me some sham diagnosis like IBS.  I don’t have IBS!  There’s literally nothing wrong with my lower digestion unless I take Zofran and that’s a known side effect of the Zofran.

I have more to say and I’ll say it later.  For now, I feel like being restive and enjoying the last few moments of 2011 as best I can.  This has been a very interesting year all in all, and although it hasn’t been a banner year by any stretch, it’s been a learning experience.

So, yesterday my dear husband called the doctor’s office for me to ask if there was ANYTHING I could do about the horrific nausea I’m experiencing.  We also went out and managed to pick up a couple of presents, some Ensure for me (it tastes good, actually), animal crackers, and jello.

My aunt and mom called, wanting to know if I wanted to cancel Christmas.  No, no I do not.  I might eat two or three bites of everything and drink an Ensure, but it’s happening.  Presents and fellowship are happening, too.

Anyway, the highlight of the day was Dr. C’s answer:  I could have Zofran.  And peppermints.  Ha.  The nurses at his office are SO NICE.  They had a fax problem and apologized so much for not getting back to me in time.  They called my prescription in with the warning that insurance might not cover it.  Sure enough, I checked and insurance wasn’t having it.  I called Walgreens to inquire and apparently they looked into it for me because the next thing I knew, I had a notification to come pick up half of my prescription- which insurance WOULD cover!  It’s an expensive drug, used for chemo patients and off-label for severe morning sickness, so I wasn’t freaked.

I took it last night and it did help a lot.  It has some annoying side effects- twitching, which we all know I’m not fond of since Prednisone made me almost vibrate from all the twitches, jerks, and tremors.  However, Zofran works on the CNS, so it’s not a crazy side effect.  The other one is constipation and we’re just not going to talk about that.  Oh, and headaches, but that came and went and possibly wasn’t even related to the drug.

So, today I had Ensure, toast, and animal crackers.  I felt like I was overeating, to be honest!  I have a disordered history with food, anyway, so this should be interesting.

My mom informed me that BOTH of my grandmothers had gallbladder surgery.  AHA.  Brooks’s dad had his out, my BFF’s dad had his out, my pharmacist had hers out!

Um… where are they putting all those gallbladders?  Ick.

Sickness sucks.

I’m not going into the whole shebang here, but as I watch Joaquin killing people in Gladiator, I’m going to start making note of what’s happening so that YEARS from now I can look back and wonder how I ever felt this bad.

Basically, I got some sort of foodborne illness from a Mexican restaurant in early October.  A week later, I began to feel worse with some trouble breathing, so I saw my FP.  He wrote me a scrip for Prednisone and Augmentin and I was off to heal.  I thought.

I had SEVERE reactions to the Prednisone that effectively eliminated my Fall “Break”.  I had several panic attacks, cried, thought I was going to die, etc.  The doctor’s office let me stop taking it once I was down to the two-a-day part of the Prednisone but I finished the Augmentin because the doctor said there was no way I didn’t have a sinus infection with as much blockage as I had.

With other problems I’d been having at that office (which I won’t go into), I decided it was time to seek a new doctor.  I landed an appointment with a fantastic internist in Farragut after being recommended by a colleague.  At this point I was sick all the time but it waxed and waned.

I am emetophobic, so constant nausea was NOT something I could even begin to remotely live with.  I literally feel like I need to RUN when I’m going to throw up.  I hate it so much I’ve done it a total of four times since infancy.  I sweat, I cry, I panic, I think I’m going to die.  It’s no good.  And I felt on the brink of this ALL THE TIME.

Like I said, it waxed and waned but I wasn’t eating a lot as I was afraid I’d throw up and I got nauseous every. single. night.

I was down about 8 lbs.

My internist put me on Prilosec, which helped a little, and thought maybe I was having a severe bout of gastritis from the Prednisone (when I finally stopped it, my stomach felt like a burning rock in my abdomen and I was over it).  I took it for two weeks and had some marginal success with eating and feeling better and was able to enjoy some school functions, but it definitely didn’t go away.  The doctor wanted me to try two Prilosec a day to see if that would help.  It made me feel a bit bloated and I still didn’t want to eat (my appetite was fine and still is- if I felt okay, I would eat a CAKE right now), but I saw some success with it and managed a school training trip that included an overnight!  I even drove, even though EVERYTHING makes me nauseous now.  I could previously stomach everything-  bad smells, gross images, gore, blood, people throwing up, thinking about throwing up, fast food, spicy food, everything.  Now, all of that makes me feel queasier.  I used to eat whatever I felt like.  In less than a month, I can’t even eat a banana without nausea.

I had a pregnancy test at the doctor’s office; it was negative (yesterday).

I have now lost 20 lbs.  I am down a size.  People compliment me on it and the savvy ones know that it’s a bad way to lose weight, but I did need to lose it.  It doesn’t bother me.

I am tired a lot.  I can stomach a small meal in the morning and a bit larger one in the early afternoon, but not much at all at night.  That’s when the stomach cramping and the REAL nausea set in.

I am depressed.  I can’t be a wife to my husband, I can’t take care of our house.  I certainly don’t want to cook and I LOVE TO COOK.  I cry when I think nobody will notice because I’m not me right now and I don’t know who I am.  I am a person who is tired, sick, and has no energy and that’s not me at all.  Sure, I can be as lazy as the next guy, but it’s not normal for me to have no drive at Christmas.  Not at all.

I have an ultrasound next week to see if my gallbladder is the culprit.  All I can think about is the number of people I’ve seen who say they’ve had their gallbladder out and then it turned out that wasn’t it and they had not only their old symptoms but new ones as well.  I would pay stacks of money at this point if someone could guarantee me that that’s what it is, they’ll fix it, and I’ll feel better.  If the GB ultrasound comes back clear, they’re also going to do a HIDA scan to see if my GB is working effectively or at all.  After that, it’s scary things like stomach cancer, stomach dysmotility (which you can’t do anything about it and makes you vomit everything you eat), or the worst of all- “We can’t find anything wrong.”

I would be willing to give up fast food for the rest of my life if I needed to.  I haven’t had a Coke in two months, so I know that won’t be a thing.  But none of this makes sense to me and I’m kind of a big, scary mess right now and I don’t like it.