Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Those of you who've known me awhile will recall a couple years back when I started having abdominal pain. It's centered right around my navel, slightly below and to the right of it. When I first had it, it hurt so badly, I could have sworn I was having an attack of appendicitis. It was 2am, I woke up my husband (whom I was not married to yet) and we went to the ER. It turns out it wasn't my appendix. I had no fever and my white blood cell count was normal.

The surgeon was not about to cut me open if he did not have to so he ordered a CAT scan of the area. Turns out my ileum (part of the small intestine) was inflamed and it's right in the area that was in pain. There just so happened to be a gastroenterologist doing rounds in the hospital at that time (by this time it was 9am! Mind you we got to the ER around 2:30am). The gastro doctor immediately admitted me and I got to spend three very boring days hooked up to an IV while they pumped me full of enough antibiotics to cure a small third world country of syphilis (or at least any number of "gut bugs").

Thus began a saga of trying to find out why I was having this pain and why my ileum would be inflamed to begin with. Unfortunately for me, subsequent tests NEVER showed any inflammation. This, of course, beget much frustration. Several X-rays, another CAT scan and a colonoscopy later they still did not know what was wrong with me. I gave up trying to find out. The pain eventually lessened and, while it did not go away, it was tolerable.

Until recently. I can't take it anymore. I'll spare you the details on my bathroom habits but let's just say that irritable bowel syndrome probably would not be an inaccurate diagnosis for *part* of my problem. I went back to the gastro doctor yesterday who is sending me for another battery of tests. The plan is to rule out everything we can up to and including gynecological problems (of course I'll need to see a different doctor for *that*). First up blood work and another abdominal CAT scan. Next Friday another colonoscopy. Since they found a polyp on my first colonoscopy, this probably isn't a bad idea even if they don't manage to see what's causing my pain.

I have new drugs to take too. Let me tell you how happy this makes me. One of them has the side effect of possible drowsiness. I'll take it once I'm home from the CAT scan. I have a cabinet in my kitchen that is starting to look like a miniature pharmacy. Between the medications for asthma, high blood pressure, this new stuff and the assorted other "OTC" drugs... blah.

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