Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gastric denial

I’ve had a bad feeling about something being not-quite-right in my stomach and to be honest, I was procrastinating making the appointment for quite some time. It’s only now that things had gotten much worse, I couldn’t really manage the acid coming up from my stomach anymore. Pepcid Complete/One a day had worked wonders on me for a long time. The instructions say, do not take more than 2 chewable tablets in 24 hours. I had been able to get by with just one for a long time, but some time ago I had to increase my dose to 2 tablets & much more often.

My dad passed away back in 2006. In his autopsy, they found out he had a massive ulcer in his stomach. The stomach cavity (?) was filled with fluid, more than 10liters – how’s that even possible? Anyway, my dad had been taking massive doses of Burana, Finnish ibuprofen. Nobody ever bothered looking at the warnings in the package. My mom showed me the autopsy report and it indicated that my dad had an ulcer in his stomach (among many other organ problems).  That ulcer had burned through the wall of the stomach. I immediately asked her, if she knew about ibuprofen potential dangers? And I also asked how many pills was he taking everyday? It was a lot and mostly on empty stomach, apparently. I was horrified. The more he took ibuprofen, the worse his pain got. He was a very stubborn man, and to some degree a bit of a scaredy cat. He didn’t want to see a doctor for any of his health problems, because he was afraid of what they will tell him. He was convinced he is seriously ill with cancer of lungs or something, and refused to see a doctor. You’re wondering why I’m sharing this information with you, I’m sure. Well – I realized I was going down the same road as my dad, with denial and fear of knowing what is wrong with me! So I made the appointment with my gastroenterologist & it was yesterday.

During the first appointment my doctor told me “Motrin is what keeps me in business!” He understood that I have to take Motrin for my RA, but he was shocked when I told him I take 3 Motrin’s (600mg of ibuprofen) in the morning. Sometimes for headache, sometimes for other aches and pains, sometimes I don’t take it anymore. I laughed, if you only knew how much I’ve been taking for the past 2 years :D The 3 Motrin’s is nothing , I mean NOTHING, in comparison! As many of you know, I also take Prednisone for rheumatoid arthritis (bad combination together with NSAIDs). So based on my symptoms, he suspected I may have an ulcer in my stomach. So I scheduled an appointment for endoscopy and luckily they had 1 space in their schedule for today.

I arrived at 11:50am, my appointment was at 12. They took me in right away & we went through all the paper work, signatures & questions. I couldn’t be sedated because I’m allergic to eggs, so the doctor put some funky bubbly spray in the back of my throat, to numb it. The nurse & anesthesiologist couldn’t find a vein in my arms. I have deep, slippery veins plus I wasn’t allowed to drink anything in 12 pre procedure, so I was dehydrated. Eventually the anesthesiologist found  vein in the side of my wrist. Cried from pain, 6 trials & deep prodding with a needle. He wasn’t the gentlest either and got me pretty worked up and anxious. Not my idea of fun times, for sure.  After he found my vein, he gave me valium. It was supposed to help me stay relaxed & not feel weird about the camera being put down my throat. After that I got a bit disoriented & might’ve fallen asleep for some seconds, who knows, maybe minutes? I only remember that I started to cough, gag and vomit. The doctor took the equipment out & said he was done anyway, so it was ok. Then I don’t know, I was drifting on and off between being awake and being asleep. After that, the doctor came to talk to me.

He said, I definitely have gastritis (acute and chronic gastritis), but no ulcers! Massive relief! They took a biopsy of my stomach and he will check if there’s also bacteria causing trouble. So while I wait for the final results, I’m taking something called Dexilant. Must be something rather new since my doctor gave me a discount card for it ;) He said it was so good I came to see him now, rather than later. Most people apparently wait until the situation has gotten far worse. So far I feel ok, no side effects, but I’ve only taken one capsule so far. To be continued :)

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” -- Thomas Jefferson