Friday, February 11, 2011

when Google is not your friend

So I've been having some (ahem) gastrointestinal issues for a while. Last spring, I was diagnosed with GERD. Things got better after I made some amendments to my diet and started taking meds (so much better that I got lazy about the diet and just took the meds). But now the issues are back in spades, along with abdominal discomfort and a feeling I can only discribe as "weasels chewing on my innards."

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see my GP who doubled my dose of the meds, ordered some blood tests and other (ahem) samples and put in a referral to a gastroenterologist. She told me that it would likely be a six month wait.

I had chemo on Tuesday, February 1st, which means I should have been feeling more or less like myself on the week end. I did not. By Saturday, I was still achy, weak, nauseated and the stomach weasels were out in full force. On Sunday, I felt no better.

On Monday, I went back to my doctor. 

She examined me and, to my enormous relief, reassured me that my liver is where it should be (not swollen and tender like it was when I was diagnosed with liver metastasis. She also said that I should  take comfort from the fact that my blood counts, taken less than a week before had shown all my liver functions to be perfectly normal.

We discussed the possibility of me having contracted a parasite or a virus (I certainly know enough people who've been ill, including my two kids. My suppressed immune system - from the chemo - makes me susceptible to every passing illness) or that anxiety could be playing a role in my physical condition.

My doc is a great advocate, though, and she picked up the phone while I was still with her and left a message for the gastroenterologist, asking if I could be seen more quickly.

I left her office feeling almost euphoric, with all health related anxiety pushed to the back of my mind (there was enough other anxiety to take up all the space in the forefront).

Then yesterday, I got a call from my doc's office, telling me that I have an appointment with the gastroenterologist - and an endoscopy - scheduled for February 17. That's really soon.

I've heard that endoscopies can be really traumatic experiences, so I Googled "endoscopy" just to reassure myself (seriously, that's what I told myself).

Well, not only do I not feel reassured (they shove a camera down your throat to look at your innards! I have a very strong gag reflex) but I am now freaking out about the test and about exactly what it is they might find down there. It could be nothing. Could be something relatively benign. Or it could be...well I'm trying not to think about it.

I haven't been for a run in more than a week because of chemo and the (ahem) gastrointestinal issues. But I think I might risk it.


MoninaW said...

Oh Laurie, I've had one done and so has Dad2Amara...not enjoyable. But you will be ok! I hope you start feeling better soon. And I hope you find some rest and peace this weekend! ((hugs))

laurie said...

LOL. The staff person at my doc's office and the secretary at the gastroenterologist both told me they would want to take Atavan to get through it! No one has said, "oh it's easy!" At least it will be relatively quick - and then hopefully I will have some answers.

Andrea Ross said...

Hoping it's as swift and smooth and the results are very happy ones.

zoom said...

I'd take the Atavan. I've heard it can get you through anything. Good luck!

Ann said...

Hi Laurie - In the UK they offer you a sedative, which relaxes the gullet and you. I think they usually use Valium. I had one and didn't know a thing about it - go for the sedative! Best Wishes, Ann

Eileen said...

Been through it - with a gastro doc who was a real bi**h. Not fun, but not nearly as awful as I was afraid it would be - like you, I have a very overactive gag reflex. They can give you something to relax you, if you are feeling anxious, it might help. They also give you a spray that numbs your throat, so you don't gag as much as you think you will. The process is pretty quick, too, so that helps.

You've been through worse, for sure. And hopefully the results will be non-scary, and perhaps even useful. We'll keep our fingers crossed for you!

Lene Andersen said...

what were you thinking, woman?! Never consult google when you're already anxious.

That said, my dad once had one done and didn't remember much.

Anonymous said...

I have a very similar issues with GERD. First the medication worked like a charm, then stopped and my family physician put me on another one. I did not pay too much attention to my diet especially when we traveled in Europe for almost 4 weeks.The second drug stopped working, hoarse voice, cough and was chocking at night.Now I am back on the first drug(Raberprazole) and strict diet. Things are more or less back to normal.I am also referred for endoscopy and postponed it twice.Not sure if will go for it??
Good luck.
P.S. Did you try to elevate the head of your bed?

laurie said...

You people are amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and your words of advice and support. Feeling much better now. And feeling better informed too.

Dee said...

I'm sorry that here is yet another thing to deal with, so I hope the endoscopy goes well and that they don't find anything.

If you can't run, I would encourage a walk. Any fresh air will help you clear your head. : )

laurie said...

Thanks Dee! I've been walking or running every day since I wrote this and it has really helped a lot.