Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sorry for not posting

I have been too busy this month working on a new online magazine for API. If you're a member, check out theattachedfamily.com. If you're not a member, I recommend it for all parents who want to turn their parenting into a "profession," meaning you like to keep up on the latest news, information, and research.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Natural Ebb & Flow of Marriage

My husband and I are getting along again. It turns out he has ADD. Would've been nice to know four months ago when he found out, but better late than never, huh? It seems when the doctor told him, he didn't feel it was important to tell me or anyone about it because "it's an overdiagnosed diagnosis," he said. True that it may be in children, but I don't think so in adults.

This explains a lot! It means that when he forgets something...like wearing his sleep apnea CPAP...that he's not being lazy. And it means that when he doesn't follow through with something...like cleaning up some mess...that he's not being mean. It means that he just has trouble remembering to do things because it's the way he is.

In light of this wonderful development -- which I am not saying sarcastically -- I've decided it's OK to be the CPAP police and to kindly remind him every night to put it on. So far, our relationship has done a complete turnaround. He's happy and well-rested, which decreases his forgetfulness, and just a sweet husband again. And while it's a little inconvenient for me to check on him at night, it's worth it...knowing that he's not "making" me do it out of malice.

Chronic Gastritis

This weekend, I started a digestive enzyme supplement I bought at GNC. I was looking for lipase and drove all over the city looking for it, finally learning that either I get all the enzymes in one supplement or I go to a doctor for a prescription of specifically lipase. Not wanting to go to the doctor, I took the multiple enzyme supplement.

The enzyme is a pain. Two giant pills taken right before eating. It isn't for the pain; it's so I know that I'm getting some nutrients from my food.

However, it seems some family members and friends don't like the idea of me self-medicating, so I did go to the doctor yesterday to see if the supplement is a waste of money. The problem is bigger than I suspected. After listening to my symptoms, reviewing the report from my original surgery, and feeling a very tender tummy, my doctor has tentatively decided that I have two different problems: The diarrhea and intestinal cramping is normal, well for someone who had her gallbladder out recently, because the bile flow is much less and it's harder for my body to digest fats then; but the phantom gallbladder pain and stomach aches are not normal.

The doctor said the supplement may be a big waste of money but that I'm welcome to try it. She said not to expect any miracles, and it'd probably be better if I just make a note of what foods cause problems and avoid them. So far, I know that beets and large bowlfuls of mac'n cheese from the box are bad, but I don't have all the problem foods narrowed down. It may be a waste of money -- and is just creating a placebo effect -- but it does seem to be eliminating the awful cramping in my lower abdomen, which is by far more obnoxious than the diarrhea.

Now with my phantom gallbladder pain, heartburn, and sharp stomach pains -- it appears that the abnormal bile flow is creating some issues. My pancreas is swollen, making my doctor think the bile is flowing back into the pancreas, for some reason. The bile also seems to be refluxing into my stomach and up into my esophagus, causing something called Chronic Reactive Gastritis. Fun. No wonder I can't eat anything.

So, what's the treatment, you ask. We don't really know. I'm trying a medicine to stabilize the pH level in my stomach, and if it works, then the doctor will consider other options. If it doesn't work, then I'll need some tests to make sure the diagnosis is correct. This medicine is obnoxious, too, in that it has be taken 30 minutes before lunch and dinner...like I know when I'm going to eat, exactly.

Not eating because of pain is no fun, but I'd be happy if I could just get rid of the absolute exhaustion I feel constantly. I wake up just as tired as when I went to bed. It's neverending, and by far worse than any pain.

The most disappointing thing is that I thought I'd be like the vast majority of people with gallbladder removal who don't have problems afterwards, and I was for three months! And then it suddenly comes back, and it is related still...to the original problem. It's difficult for me to think that this could be a chronic thing, but I do have to remember that this is God's will. It is not mine and that I need to remember that I am not in control, that He is. And even if He doesn't make me suddenly well, or ever completely well, that doesn't mean He doesn't care. It's all in His plan.

Now that, sometimes, is the hardest part to stomach.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Phantom Gallbladder Pain

So, it's been almost three months since I got my gallbladder removed. I had a tumor in there causing a lot of problems, from let-me-die pain to unrelenting exhaustion and wild blood sugar swings.

I had been warned by my surgeon that sometimes people without gallbladders don't adjust fully to not having one. While I had a couple problems during the first couple weeks, things have been going good. I thought I was one of the lucky ones...well, until these last 10 days. I've been having a mild, but annoying, pain where my gallbladder used to be, pretty much right after I eat, even a tiny bite of something. I have heartburn again, and sharp stomach pains. And, I have to really watch how much fastfood/processed food I eat because I get (gross warning!) bad diarrhea. I have learned that beets and mac 'n cheese from the box are bad foods to eat without a gallbladder. And if I eat too big of a meal, like how I would normally stuff myself at Thanksgiving, I get very, very sick -- tired, nausea, a little bit of a fever, terrible sharp pains throughout my digestive system, it even felt like my liver was swollen a little. Could be my imagination, but I was really sick for a day.

So, I'm a little irritated by this new development, especially considering it's been three months of really no problems! I looked it up on the internet, and gosh, it could be anything: chronic pancreatitis, spincter of oddi dysfunction, bile duct stones, impaired liver function, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and on and on. Or, it could be something called Post Cholestomy Syndrome, or a collection of symptoms that occur after gallbladder removal with no treatment and no real idea of the cause (well, besides not having all your organs). That's probably what I have...the one without a cure.

Needless to say, I'm a little disheartened by all of this. But, we all have to carry our own burdens, right? My husband has sleep apnea; I have weird phantom gallbladder pain.