Thursday, April 11, 2013

Between a Block and a Hard Place, Part 2

Today I had my long-overdue GI appointment. It's been over three weeks of liquids only, and I was getting a little tired of that! I decided to push it a little bit and had corn puffs for breakfast and refried beans for lunch - not quite liquids, but still fairly pureed/soft food. I decided that if it blocked me up, well, Dr. FancyPants would just get to see me when I was obstructed. ;)

Thankfully, I did NOT get obstructed, despite being a bit more free with my diet! Dr. FancyPants was really nice and wonderful. I really like him a lot. He said that, based on the small bowel follow through I had in January, he is not surprised with the problems I'm having. On the January test, once the barium hit a certain point in my intestines, it significantly slowed down (practically stopped) for a long time. Prior to that, the contrast was moving very rapidly, and after it finally passed that spot, it moved rapidly again. So the issue isn't an overall motility problem; more than likely, it's a scar tissue/adhesion issue. He said that I have a pretty significant issue; things stopped even though I only drank liquid contrast (and apparently, there are different thicknesses of barium, and I was given the "thinnest" one, so it should have moved through with no trouble whatsoever). Since even this liquid had trouble moving though, any fibrous, hard-to-digest food has very little hope of safely passing. Dr. FancyPants also read Dr. Saturday's op note from my last surgery and seen that they had to take down some extensive adhesions in the area where my abscesses were, so it's likely that I formed more adhesions especially in that area. Dr. Saturday and team did take significant precautions against more scar tissue. They put several sheets of Seprafilm in my belly during surgery. This material is supposed to decrease scar tissue formation.

Dr. FancyPants told me that the only solution to my obstruction issue is surgery... and emphasized that they must really not want to do surgery on me ever again. Most people are rushed into emergency surgery after just a day or two with an obstruction, so it's pretty hard-core to make someone suffer with an obstruction for as long as I did in November. He said he felt terrible for what I've gone through and that the obstruction must have been a miserable experience. I'm not gonna lie: it kinda was. ;) He described the process of what the surgeons would have to do to fix my adhesions, and described the potential and likely complications of this procedure in my case. This completely cemented in my mind that I will gladly eat a liquid diet for the rest of my life, if necessary, in order to avoid this surgery and the subsequent complications that are likely to ensue because of my various diseases, previous surgeries, autoimmune reactions, etc.

He did give me some medicine that's supposed to help with the pain of the blockages without slowing down the intestines. I used to take this when I had UC, and it helped a lot with the cramping pain, so maybe it will help with this! Apart from that, I need to continue to be extremely careful with my diet, but add in more calories, especially protein, as I've dropped several pounds since this started. While I was happy to see some of the steroid pounds fall off, the doctor was less than thrilled with the rapid weight loss.

Dr. FancyPants left me with a glimmer of hope - he said that often times, the intestines will eventually "settle" in a better position, and I'll be less plagued with obsturction issues. I think that this is true - I seem to go through cycles where the obstructions are worse, then I'll have weeks of dumping. So hopefully things will straighten themselves out soon so that I can go back to eating real food again!

Overall, I've had several really good days in a row! Still not sure WHY, but praising God and LOVING every minute of it!

Hannah ;)

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