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Friday, September 20, 2013

Ultrasound Today - Update on my Personal Struggle

I went to Emory for an ultrasound today at the bequest of my Doctor, for my liver. My liver enzymes have been quite high over the past two years now, and no one has discovered why. When I was first diagnosed with Gastroparesis, the theory was that it was because of stones in my liver. They went in and relaxed my sphincter that doles out bile from my liver, removing a "gravely type sludge," as my doctor put it, from where my gallbladder used to be. The Doctor at Emory told me that with Gastroparesis, there should be no pain. Every time a doctor tells me that, I want to laugh in their face and correct them. Tell them that if they had Gastroparesis, they'd feel differently. Everyone I've talked to that has been diagnosed, even with mild Gastroparesis, has dealt with some sort of pain.

So, a good friend and fraternity brother of mine, picked me up and took me to Emory. I was led into the room with the ultrasound machine. I laid down on the table and lifted up my shirt for the procedure. I was happy to say that there were butterflies painted on the ceiling tiles so that I actually had something to focus on. The lab tech started and pressed the probe down on such tender parts that had been giving me such pain. I bit my lip and squeezed my friend's hand because it hurt so much. I had an emesis bag, just in case I needed it.

I looked away because it hurt too much. My friend said the lab tech was making awful faces and she had a feeling that they found something wrong. Of course, the lab techs won't tell you anything - it's a liability factor. She had me turn to my side and looked at my kidneys as well. Then, we were done. The procedure probably took half an hour of thorough investigating with a very painful probe. Ultrasounds normally aren't painful, but I've been experiencing pain in my upper right side. I didn't start retching until we were in the car. Anytime a doctor or someone presses on my upper right side and my stomach - I vomit. Thankfully, it waited until I was home. I fell over on the toilet and vomited up what I tried to eat for lunch today - considering I haven't eaten in a while. I was thankful I had something to vomit up besides bile. I realize how bad that sounds but I've been throwing up nothing but bile for days, my throat welcomed some relief.

I've been coughing a lot because my throat is irritated from vomiting. The doctor will receive my ultrasound report in a few days and call me with the results. I'm nervous because my liver enzymes are high and I don't know what that means. I've never been so nervous. Will I have to have more surgery? Will someone take me seriously? I need some help. What I'm doing right now is not living - it's awful.

The only solace in the past few days have been my husband, who is a wonderful and caring man, and reading outside in the sunshine.

I am anxiously awaiting the results and to wonder where to go from here.

In the meantime, I've made an appointment with a psychologist because I am determined to prove to these doctors that the anxiety didn't get worse until after I had Gastroparesis. The doctor I saw before, not at Emory, at Mayo, told me that this was all in my head an all anxiety related. I want a doctor to evaluate that and tell me that it's not true. I just need someone to listen to me. I can't make up vomiting or pain like this. It's immobilizing. My friends and family see me suffer and I barely recognize my own reflection in the mirror because of my hallowed out, pale face, and the dark circles under my eyes. I think it will be good to have someone to speak with anyway, but I want someone to validate me and say that my GP is legitimate and that it's not caused by anxiety. That made me angry more than anything when the Mayo doctor told me that. I think he only did so because he correctly assumed that I'd be a complicated case, and he didn't want to deal with me personally.

I'm keeping track of my symptoms in a written journal, along with how I feel. A GP friend of mine told me about an app available called MySymptom Tracker. It's $3 in the Google Play store but worth it. So, I track my vomiting, medications, mood, etc on my phone as well. You can download it and bring it in with you to your doctor, which I find useful. I document everything. It's a good habit to have.

I feel like I'm preparing for battle. I'm going to fight to be healthy again.

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