So, here’s what’s going on…

Hello, friends,

I’ve missed you all terribly.  I apologize that my posts and blogging participation has been erratic this year.  As you know, I had surgery then complications following the surgery.  Here’s what I’m dealing with (and I apologize in advance if it’s too long… I’ll try to keep it brief.):

Throughout 2015 – I vomited five or more times a week, my hair was falling out, my tongue was coated all the time, I was exhausted and freezing all the time, my vision was blurry much of the time, and I generally felt like crap.

Late 2015 / Early 2016 – I started undergoing every test imaginable to man.  This included numerous bloodwork, barium swallow studies, an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, a large and small bowel study with barium, multiple x-rays, several ultrasounds, and probably some more stuff I’m forgetting right now.  I was diagnosed with low iron anemia and low B-12 anemia, so I had to start taking supplements twice a day – Not surprising considering how often I vomited and how few foods I could actually eat in the first place.  (The really sucky thing was, with all the puking I was doing ALL YEAR, I only lost 10 pounds!)

The truth is, I was convinced I had either esophageal or stomach cancer.  Cancer runs rampant in my family, and I’ve personally already had cervical pre-cancer twice, so I was prepared for it.  In fact, at one point, I felt my life ebbing, and knew I didn’t have much longer.  I started getting things in order to prepare for the worst.

Late January 2016 – I was diagnosed with an extremely diseased gall bladder and was still waiting on results for most of the other tests.

February 2016 – My gall bladder was removed, and I felt SO much better —  better than I had in YEARS!  I mean seriously, I had actually forgotten how it felt to feel that great!  For the following two weeks, I ate food I hadn’t tasted in months or even years because it had always given me a negative effect in the past.  WOW!  This was amazing!  I didn’t throw up anymore.  My hair stopped falling out.   My vision was perfect.  I had energy.  Life was wonderful!  (If you didn’t read about it already, I detail it more here:

1 Week Post Surgery – All my other tests came back, and while I had some stuff show up, nothing especially egregious was noted.  Since I was feeling so much better, the doctor said it was likely that everything I had experienced was due to how incredibly diseased and infected my gall bladder was.  Only then did he confirm that I was indeed at death’s door before my surgery.  He said at best, I was only days away from it having ruptured had it stayed in.  He told me I could discontinue the iron and B-12 supplements because my body should be getting back in order.  What great news that I didn’t have cancer!

2 Weeks Post Surgery – Something went horribly wrong!  I puked black sludge and some hard objects that I hadn’t eaten and were never identified.  I had an x-ray that showed a “mystery object” inside me.  And excuse the language, but I felt like complete shit!  I mean I seriously never felt worse in my life!  (I documented that horror here:

I appreciate all of you who encouraged me to get myself to the emergency room stat, and that’s exactly what I did.  (Though, the $1,000 E.R. co-pay hurt almost as bad as my belly did!)

You can see the “mystery object” above the hip bone.

The hospital gave me a CAT scan, and the “mystery object” showed up again, though it had moved.  However, the E.R. doctor didn’t seem concerned, and he told me I was probably only having pain from a tiny hernia that was likely caused either by my surgery or by my level of activity following my surgery.  He sent me home with some mild narcotics and told me to take a few days to rest.

(I was highly peeved.  This didn’t feel like $1,000 worth of treatment!  Of course I felt much worse a few days later when I received a bill for an additional $500 because apparently my insurance has a separate copay for imaging!)

Early March 2016 – I had a doctor friend of mine write me a script for another x-ray at a different facility, and the “mystery object” was still there, but it had moved.  This was 12 days after the original x-ray.  He told me it could be a calcified gallstone that dropped during surgery and was floating around in my peritoneal cavity.  Great.

Twelve days later, the “mystery object” is now close to my spine.

Mid-March 2016 – I saw a doctor at a different facility.  For some reason, he got stuck on the part about the small hernia and didn’t hear anything else I said.  I was back to vomiting almost daily and sometimes twice a day, my hair started falling out again, my vision was blurry again, I was exhausted all the time again as well as freezing, and to add to my misery, now not only was I every bit as sick and pukey as before my surgery, but there was this thing in me, and after the awful black sludge and hard things vomit, I was terrified to get sick!

This doctor x-rayed only my lower abdomen and said the object was gone.  Actually, the x-ray tech tried to tell me that I must have – now get this – swallowed buckshot, and it had passed!  Yes, really!  When I told her I don’t eat meat, other than the occasional fishsticks or tuna sandwich, so it would be impossible for me to ingest buckshot, she then tried to tell me I must have swallowed a metal button!  (The fact that I own nothing with metal buttons notwithstanding.)  The fact that they didn’t x-ray the entire peritoneal cavity made me wonder if the object really did pass, or if it’s still floating around in there.

Early April 2016 – Things were really getting old for me as well as others around me.  In fact one “friend” told me to “get over it and move on already.”  (Thanks.)  My “quality of life” (What quality of life?) was non-existent.  I saw a new surgeon referred to me by the Mid-March doctor.  He ordered an MRI (with another $500 copay!) and suggested that if my bile duct still had infected gallstones in it, that could be the reason for all of my misery.  I was hopeful.  He also offered to operate on the hernia.  I declined.

Mid–April 2016 – I got the results back from the MRI.  It seems the bile duct was fine.  Furthermore, they failed to look at any other section of my abdomen for that “mystery object.”  At this point (and with no offense to anyone who has battled cancer), I almost wish cancer would have been my diagnosis – at least then, they’d know what was wrong with me and I could have hope for treatment.

Late April 2016 – I went back to the original facility that did the surgery and saw a GP there.  I told him my symptoms were: daily vomiting, hair loss, exhaustion, coldness, coated tongue, pale face, pain in abdomen, blurry vision, and general malaise.  Plus I fear there could be a thing floating around in my peritoneal cavity.  He told me, and I quote, “No, that’s too much.  Pick your top three symptoms, and we’ll try to deal with those.”  Yes, really!  So I chose vomiting, hair loss, and blurred vision.  He then decided exhaustion needed to trump hair loss, and told me to see an eye doctor for my vision, and he said I didn’t need any more x-rays to see of the mystery object was still present, and that it was a “ridiculous request.”  (Jerk!)  He then ran another thyroid panel, as well as a CBC, and checked my iron.  Later that week, he claimed all the bloodwork came back fine.

So…  I started taking the iron and B-12 supplements twice daily again despite the bloodwork being fine, and guess what?  My vision is back to normal, I am still really tired, though not as much, and my hair loss is still more than normal, though not nearly as bad as it was.

However, I still vomit at least five times a week, and sometimes twice in a day.  Anxiety courses through me every time someone asks, “What’s for dinner?”  I now judge and select food not by how it tastes going in, but by how it might taste coming back up.   I still have constant pain in my gut.  I often puke so violently, it causes nosebleeds.  And I have tiny broken blood vessels all over my face from throwing up.

As far as the “mystery object,” maybe it’s still floating around in there somewhere.  If so, from what I’ve read, I can expect it to eventually puncture an organ or cause an abscess, and I guess at that point, someone will remove it.  Or, maybe it really did get in my digestive tract and pass.  If that’s the case, I have to think it’s more of whatever the hard things were I puked with the black sludge.  As a few medical friends have said, it could only be metal or an extremely calcified stone to show up the way it did in the x-rays.  I have to wonder if something happened during surgery for stones to slip into my belly somehow, though that seems unlikely.

I don’t know.  But what I do know is, I feel miserable, and no medical professional that I’ve seen seems to care.  Many of my “friends” make jokes about having me committed because I’m “crazy” and “it’s all in my head.”  And that gets old, too.

Anyway, I know I promised to try to be brief, and I already failed at that, so I’ll close now.  Thanks for reading and sticking by me.  I miss you guys!  xoxo


Things are looking up…

Hello, friends.  (Or is it now strangers?)  As you know, I’ve been M.I.A. for a few months now, but it seems we’re finally getting to the bottom of why.  As many of you know, 2015 was not my year.  I was sick most of the year, and in fact, there were only three times throughout the entire year that I lasted as many as five days without throwing up!

The odd thing was, I didn’t have pain, per se, but as soon as I ate something (other than waffles and grilled cheese sandwiches – literally ANYTHING other than that), I felt a weird fullness in my belly, and I HAD to get that food out of there ASAP.  The only thing that made it feel better was vomiting.

I was so exhausted, I could hardly stand to stay awake through a full day of work, much less anything extra such as blogging, writing, editing, etc.  Actually, around October, I started coming home from work and immediately taking a nap until 9 or 10 at night, then got up, ate dinner, and went back to sleep.  Even the thought of planning something fun such as going to the fair or taking a road trip seemed daunting because I already knew how much it would wipe me out, and I was afraid I’d be too tired to even enjoy it a little.

Last summer, my hair started falling out.  Luckily, I have really thick hair so other people didn’t really notice.  But I did.  There were always clumps of hair on my pillow each morning and on the bathroom floor each time I combed it.  It was gross.  And scary.

Around the beginning of December, my eyes started hurting all the time, especially behind and underneath them, and everything was getting more and more blurry.

So in November, when my vomiting went from four or five times a week to twice or more a day, I finally started seeing a doctor.  The first doctor diagnosed me with low iron anemia, and she sent me to a specialist.  The specialist diagnosed me with low iron and low B12 anemia.  He said my levels were as low as if I were bleeding internally, though I am not.  (Of course, when the only foods you can keep down are waffles and grilled cheese sandwiches, my guess is you probably lose a lot of nutrients in the process.)

During December and January, I had numerous blood tests, upper, lower, and female ultrasounds, an upper GI barrium swallow study and a small intestine barrium swallow study, an endoscopy, a colonoscopy (boy, were those fun — NOT!), and several biopsies.

After all the cameras, needles, scopes, and probes, I actually received twelve different diagnoses!  (The doctor was frustrated because his computer program only allowed him room to write ten.)  Most of them were nothing major, but he did say I had some gallstones and an inflamed and “thick” gallbladder.  Besides sounding extremely gross, I wasn’t sure what that meant.  He said it was diseased and needed to come out ASAP.

I wasn’t so sure I wanted that kind of surgery, but I was so relieved that I didn’t have esophageal or stomach cancer as I feared, that I was at least willing to listen.  (I was so sure that I had something fatal, I even went as far as making out a list of “what to do in the case of my untimely death.”  Thankfully, no one needed to use it.)

I went home and Googled “diseased gallbladder,” and once I saw what one looked like, I agreed that I didn’t want that nasty thing inside me any longer.  So I had the surgery, and as it turned out, my gallbladder was not only “quite diseased,” it had an “acute infection.”  It was actually “filled with pus and ready to rupture” according to the doctor, the nurse, the anesthetist, and a surgical assistant.  Apparently, I was quite lucky indeed, because being allergic to so many antibiotics, it could have easily killed me in only a few more days!

I’m definitely thankful to God for sparing my life, and I’m quite cognizant of how close I came to  meeting my Maker face to face.

Most people who get a laparoscopic cholecystectomy are encouraged to move about and go about their daily lives other than lifting anything, and they return to work in about a week.  Because of the level of my infection, I was told “bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen only, and no work for two to three weeks.”

Tomorrow will be a week since my surgery.  I feel SO much more energetic than I have in months, yet when I do anything for more than twenty or thirty minutes (such as sit on the computer or even just stand to wash dishes), it wipes me out.  For the first time in a long time, I feel invincible, then I attempt a minor project to alleviate my boredom, and learn just how weak I really still am!

I’ll still be treating for my anemia, and I actually threw up last night, so I at least lasted a full five days this time.  But I’m hopeful that the vomiting will stop once I’m fully healed, and then the iron and B12 will regenerate.

So I hope to get all this under control soon, and get back to my regularly scheduled blog… and to you, my friends and blogging family.  I miss you guys!



[UPDATE:  I just reread this, and it seems I still have a bit of brain fog… The reason I wrote all the detail that I did above was to tell you how miraculous it is that less than one week post-surgery, my hair hasn’t fallen out, my eyes don’t hurt anymore, and the vision blurriness is completely gone!  Isn’t it incredible that an unnecessary organ can wreak such havoc on so many unrelated body parts?  The best part is, so far, I’ve not had one bit of refux or acid.  I can’t tell you the last time — more than 20 years — I’ve not been awakened in the middle of the night by barf juice gagging me.  This is amazing!  I’m used to drinking 2 TBSP. of baking soda with a bit of water SEVERAL times every day and night.  I keep a box of baking soda in my work desk, my car, and even my purse!  Since my surgery, I’ve had the tiniest bit of heartburn that lasted no more than 5 or 10 minutes just a couple of times.  It was so mild, I didn’t even do anything to make it go away.  Compared to what I’ve been living with for so long — imagine swallowing 8 ounces of battery acid 3 or 4 times a day — I now feel so liberated!]