Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pain in the...gut?

I know I’ve said it many times (knocking on wood each time, I swear) but my recovery has been extremely uncomplicated.  I’m lucky.  But I guess I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  

:: sound of shoe hitting floor ::

Monday started out as a great day.  I went to the gym, ate like normal, and got ready for work.  I hopped into my car and headed into Boston, per usual.  But about ½ way there I started having a really horrible abdominal pain.  A stabbing pain right below my sternum, making it hard to even breathe. 

Being the kind of person I am, I tried to shake it off and work, but it was impossible.  I had to leave only 2 hours in.  (And I still feel guilty about it.)

I went home, started to feel a little better, had a snack, and went to bed.  When I woke up, I felt like a million bucks.  I chocked it up to working too hard at the gym and went about my day.  I ate light and stayed on the couch most of the day jst so I wouldn’t stir up anything.  But when I got up to go to get ready for work, this sharp pain came back with a fury.  I tried to blow it off, thinking it would go away on it’s own again, but when I couldn’t even stand up straight in the shower, I knew something was wrong. 

I called out sick from work…again…and went to the ED at my hospital.  Of course, by the time I got there (about 4 hours after the pain had restarted) the pain was diminishing…but I hadn’t eaten in almost 6 hours and I was convinced it was related to food.

In my mind, it could only have been a few things. 

My first thought was that it was my gallbladder.  Gallstones are common after gastric bypass, so it wouldn’t have surprised me if this were the case.  But alas…after an ultrasound, I found out my gallbladder was looking all right and did not need to be removed.  This was a thrill, because gallbladder issues meant surgery in my head and I totally didn’t want to deal with that at all.  (although of course they saw some sort of spot on my liver so I have to have an MRI out patient now….awesome… :: rolls eyes :: )

So, moving on, I also thought it could have been a small hernia.  Although I couldn’t really feel any sort of protrusion where it was hurting, I had worked out that day, and hernias can definitely happen after abdominal surgery.  So, I had a nice abdominal x-ray that ruled that one out.  Fantastic.  Zero for two...

Finally, my last thought was that I could have some sort of gastric ulcer, which can happen at the seams of your pouch after gastric bipass.  To me, what I was feeling didn’t feel as much of the burning type pain that I would expect with an ulcer.  I remembered that when I had my EGD previously, they did say I had a small maybe it had grown.  Heck, I didn’t know.  I was grasping at straws.  But, after an extremely awkward rectal exam, I was told that I was not “bleeding” and it may not be the cause.  Wonderful.

No one seemed to know what the heck was wrong with me.  And since my pain had gone away (I hadn’t eaten in almost 12 hours) they gave me a glass of water and some graham crackers.  When I didn’t die after eating those, they sent me home.  Without any answers.  At 3am.  


So, long story short, it’s right about the witching hour for this pain to come back.  All I’ve eaten today is a piece of pizza and a fudgesicle.  So far so good, but I’m being cautious.   I need to follow up with my PCP and my bariatric surgeon, but I think will live. 

As a nurse, it’s hard to be on the other side of the bed.  And it’s even harder to be there without answers.  But I am glad it’s nothing emergent and, honestly, I’m just hoping it doesn’t happen again.  :: crosses fingers ::


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