Thursday, February 23, 2006

Test Results, part 1

The HIDA test shows that my gall bladder is not functioning. I spoke with the surgeon on the phone, and he says that there is an 80% chance that the test is correct, 20% chance it's not. Since my symptoms are still not "classic" gall bladder, here is what he and I decided.

I have a follow up with my primary care doc next Thursday - by then the biopsy results from my stomach should be in. If the gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) is something treatable, then we'll hold off on the gall bladder decision for a month while the gastritis is treated. During that time I'll continue to eat a low fat diet. At the end of March, we'll reassess, possibly moving straight to surgery, possibly having a second HIDA. He said if the second HIDA comes out the same as the first, then I'd have surgery. The surgeon wants to err on the side of caution. Fair enough.

Of course, I have a secret plan of my own. If the symptoms clear up, then I'm going to try eating something fatty and see if it gives me more of a classic gallbladder attack. Last time I had a secret plan, I made the mistake of sharing it with the consulting nurse, resulting in an hour long argument. This was back when my heart was giving me problems. They had me running with a "nitro-necklace", that is, nitroglycerin pills that I carried in a necklace. I told the nurse since I had a tight chest 24/7 I was just going to take one and see if it helped. (This was at the point where they were trying to decide if it was related to my heart or to asthma or some other lung problem). The nurse finally talked me out of it. I really knew it was a bad idea, I was just so frustrated though that I was ready to try anything. I don't think eating a few Red Robin fries is the same - I won't over do it, I just want to see if the fat causes an immediate problem. Right now though, most food is upsetting me, so it's not a good time to test it.

Okay, so what does this do to running and to my April relay? I figure I've been feeling sick off and on for almost three years, so I'll just keep running. As for the relay...chances are, even if they schedule surgery, it'll be a couple of weeks out. I may even ask for a date after the relay. I'll wait till it's closer and then decide. There are plenty of runners in our group who could fill in for me if necessary.

I feel like an old lady who only ever talks about her medical problems. I've decided that I'm not going to post anything more about it until the biopsy comes in, and then after that until the end of March. I'm going to report my run, my time, and a simple "felt good" or "felt bad". I promise!


angie's pink fuzzy said...

At least gallbladder problems aren't too bad! And it's the most commonly performed surgery in North American hospitals. Supposedly, it's a simple, in-and-out procedure.

Eating something fatty would be a sure-fire way to test it. But you do have to be careful. If you get sick with pain on the right side of your torso, you can be pretty sure. You can be really sure if your skin gets jaundiced, and you develop a fever. At that point, you'll need emergency surgery. That's what I live in fear of - and what has kept me from eating unhealthfully for the last 14 months. Nothing like the fear of imminent pain and emergency surgery to keep you healthy! Ha!

I do test myself every once in a while. And yes, I get symptoms. I've been "clean" for a long time now, so it usually takes a few days of eating higher fat quantities to really start to hurt. I haven't done an all-out saturated fat pig-out at, say, Outback Steakhouse or anything. Too scared to do that! But I'll do McDonald's fries and a double-cheeseburger. I haven't touched a slice of full-fat pizza, either - that was my worst trigger.

Okay, I'll stop blathering on about gallbladder stuff. :)

olga said...

Very smart idea, test on your own. I thought more of you, you know, Michelle:) How about you get on diet, and if second test is positive, get a surgery done and over with. Don't flirt with emergency surgery, those can go wrong any time. And we'll miss your posts. Besides, who is going crew Rob at CCC?

Tammy said...

a surgeon who wants to err on the side of caution is a GOOD THING (and a rare one). So sorry to hear you aren't feeling well... I'll be keeping you in my thoughts :)

backofpack said...

Oh man, I hate it when the voice of reason speaks...I haven't ever had the really severe, rush to the emergency room kind of pain, so I guess I thought my test would just produce enough pain to let me know. Never really considered emergency surgery, or jaundice. Must of been my frustration speaking again!

Thanks for all your support and wise words. And Olga, I'll try to behave!

robtherunner said...

I think self-testing is a great idea! Go load up on a bunch of fatty food that is sure to trigger something bad. That would be cool!

backofpack said...

Sheesh Rob! Picking on me two comments in a row. That's it, I'm definitely making fun of you at the race tomorrow when Ruth beats you!

Seriously, you all talked me out of my secret plan. I guess I'd better quit cooking those up, because they keep turning out to be bad ideas.

robtherunner said...

Alright I won't pick on you anymore. I've had my fun.