Thursday, February 12, 2009

My "Last" Visit (well, at least for a while)

I know it may seem like I have not been keeping everybody informed, but that's only because nothing has happened - and I mean nothing. I still have the pain, and only silence from the doctors and radiologists.

On Tuesday I finally got the call that they wanted to do another MRCP (a special type of MRI that traces the biliary system) with some type of contrast that the doctor's assistant said would make me 'violently ill'. Yea for me! Right after that scan I was to go to the surgeon's office and meet with him, the resident, and the GI specialist.

I am happy to say I didn't get 'violently ill,' instead I felt like I drank a lot of warm Root beer. You know the feeling: like it's shaken up in your tummy and you're afraid you're gonna puke it up, but somehow you keep it down? - well, that was the feeling. The bad part was that after they gave me the injection, they didn't turn the volume up on the headphones I was wearing to hear the tech so I didn't hold my breath at all during the scan like you are supposed to. Erhg. Good news, the scans came out clean, despite my lack of participation.

Once inside the doctors office, he said that they confirmed that my pancreas was draining, but not fully. The short reason: suspected pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancrease). They have used all the best equipment, brought in all the brightest professionals and have boiled it down to this. If it is pancreatitis, it should calm down eventually, especially with out more tests that poke at and aggravate it, but it could take several more months. The other option is a pancreaticoduodenecotmy (surgery to remove part of the pancrease, duodenum, and do hook up more intestine to 're-plumb' the area.) This is also known as a "Whipple's operation." It's a 10-12 hour surgery, and in my case would be very complicated.

These were two extreme options on opposite sides of what would seem to be a very broad spectrum. One is to do nothing, the other to carve out more of my organs. I said to the surgeon, "Is there any grey area here? - any 'middle of the road' treatment?" Nope. It's one or the other.

I guess my expression said it all - let's go conservative. If I still feel this way in 6-12 months, we'll consider surgery. He agreed. In fact, he was concerned as this would be my sixth abdominal surgery in that area and that is not a good thing for anybody. Not me, and it wouldn't be all that easy for him either.

So the boil down is this: I just gotta deal with it and hope it goes away. After thousands and thousands of dollars we're not doing anything. At least not for now. (Is this good?? - yes, I think.)
In the meantime, I'll be trying to do normal activities up to my comfort level. Adam is bringing in the treadmill from the garage. Regardless of the plan, the doc said I have to loose 20-30 pounds to do anything predictable. Since movement is painful, I figure a slow easy walk indoors is probably the best way to get started. I'm already settling into my new vegetarian diet, so it's a good time to add something else.

Thank you for all your prayers. There is so much I'd like to type tonight, but let's be honest . . . you probably have other things to do. I will say that until recently, I had forgotten that the most important tool God gave my is my body, and well, I guess you could say I haven't been a good steward with that gift. Please pray that I will have the courage to get my strength back, and the dedication to keep my instrument well tuned.


  1. I'm glad you don't have to have surgery at this point. I'll be praying for relief from your pain. I think a diet from stress would also be in order. My two cents. :)

  2. I'm glad to hear the update. Adam told me you had to have this other test. I hope things get better for you!!! Do you have 20-30 pounds to lose? I think not!

  3. Good to hear you finally got an answer. With a choice of path to take. Like everyone else. I will be praying for relief from your pain.

  4. Jenn, thanks for the update. You just take it easy and do a little at a time. If either you or Adam need anything please let us know.

  5. Hey girl,U know we love u lots and lots, so you just better take it real slow. You can do it so listen to your mom Love you. Teresa