Archive for March, 2010
Today I saw a colorectal surgeon.To answer the obvious questions: Yes, I’m still on vacation. No, I could not wait til I got home; the pain was so severe that I willingly drove nearly an hour into a very questionable area of Miami in order to have a doctor with extremely large hands glove up, put on some caving gear and —
You get the idea.
I won’t go into the specifics* but suffice it to say that tomorrow afternoon I’ll start drinking that nasty colonoscopy stuff in order to have a surgical procedure done on Wednesday that will involve anesthesia, gloved hands in very delicate parts, a donut pillow to sit on afterwards – and hopefully some really good drugs.
I will share this: my particular ailment ranks as the third most-painful anal condition!
It is extremely painful, says the woman who still can’t believe she had a baby without any medication, in a birth pool in my bedroom. (Thank goodness I had witnesses. Seriously. My first words after delivering My Masterpiece were, “I can NOT believe I did that.” I take ty*lenol for a paper cut.)
Luckily, this particular colorectal surgeon, Dr. Spelunking, could see me on short notice, as a new patient from out-of-town.
There is truly nothing more enjoyable than answering the question “location of injury” at the colorectal surgeon’s office. (Editor’s note: A close second was last September, dictating to a nurse my “medical goals for treatment” when I was admitted to a hospital for dehydration secondary to diarrhea. While I was getting an IV and blissful, blissful fluids, the nurse said, “What are your medical goals for treatment while you’re here?” I replied, “I’d like to stop shitting my brains out.” She looked shocked and said, “Ma’am, I can’t write that down.” I said, “I was just kidding! I’m not shitting my brains out — it’s my intestines. Please write, ‘Patient would like to stop shitting out her intestines…’”)
That was a fun week. I had to give, uh, samples, every few hours. Samples. In a container. To a nurse. (Please, tell me whoever has that job is paid well.)
But back to filling out forms in Dr. Spelunking’s office. For “location of injury,” I thought for a second and wrote, “ASS.”
When the nurse brought me back, after the usual lecture about stool softeners and fiber and eating a balanced diet, yada yada, she read my chart.
Nurse Tight-Ass: “For ‘Location of Injury’ you wrote…”
Actual Tight-Ass: “ASS.”
Nurse Tight-Ass: (With snark.) ”Most people write anus.”
Actual Tight-Ass, who has spent the last 24 hours on the toilet, in pain, debating whether or not to see a colorectal surgeon while on freaking vacation; then spent hours calling the local hospital that is approximately three minutes from my parent’s house and has an actual colorectal surgery center — only to be told their next available appointment is in 2015 — while finally finding this particular colorectal surgeon in a hospital that is — again — located nearly an hour away in a very questionable area that I would only drive to if I were having pain in my ass so severe that I couldn’t wait til I got home to see my usual colorectal surgeon, who has a lovely office in a lovely area of town: “This is a colorectal surgeon’s office, correct? Do you think I’m here because I have swine flu?”
*I will totally tell you exactly what my specific anal ailment is, if you want to email me. geberika (at) gmail (dot) com. I will go into graphic detail. I will send pictures. You are warned.
Dear Three Blog Followers,
Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate it. Even if you never leave comments, it’s good to know that my writing amuses more than just my parents, who think a blog is the least I can do after they paid for my degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.
That said, I am changing my blog name. (Those of you reading this on Facebook may be shocked to know that I have an blogger account. And that the internet does exist outside the parameters of FB.)
Here are some names I’m thinking about:
mommymarinade.com (Improving the flavor of motherhood!)
momandcheese.com (The perfect side dish!)
spilledrawmilk.com (Not crying over it since 2009!)
creamofmommysoup.com (Just add water!)
alfrescomom.com (Just like the commercial!)
mangiamama.com (Even though I’m not Italian)
What do you (four) think?
Oh, how I love cooking!
Even though Mineral doesn’t eat anything I make — My Masterpiece does, and Animal and The Informant will nibble. My Chemical Romance likes my food. But forget about them; I love my cooking. Despite eating out a lot as a kid — I had two working parents and who likes to come home from a hard day to the kitchen? – at this point I’d rather stay home.
First we have Animal and Mineral. They are twin boys. They have been fighting since they were in utero, when Animal was supposed to be born first. I was told by my doctor that they could not change places. Late in my pregnancy, two weeks before they were born, they did. (Thus began my skepticism of mainstream health care practices.) Mineral was born first. Here is a picture of them at about a month old.
But first, let me explain why I was offered Opium. (Leigh pointed out to me that I had such an intriguing title yesterday, and didn’t even bother to work it into the blog!)
Tincture of Opium — which is much more potent than Paregoric – can help with Toilet Time Trips. So, after trying many different medications to, um, stop the daily TTT my GI doc suggested it. With the following caveats:
Filling this RX at your pharmacy will get you red-flagged with the FDA; I will get flagged for prescribing it. You’ll have to document appointments with me every two weeks. It is a potent narcotic and you will have to find the lowest dose that helps and then try to get off it as quickly as possible.
I left the appointment and threw the RX in the trash. It sounded too complicated. Plus, I just can’t get on board with being on narcotics — although it sounds like fun! — while homeschooling four children every day.
I had began to think of my daily TTT is just another part of my life, like cooking or brushing my teeth or watching The Real Housewives of New York.
But, alas, daily TTT is becoming multi-daily TTT which is accompanied by pain and bloating, and I think it’s time to do something about it. I saw the GI yesterday (GI Joe) and he said that I’m not a complainer about pain–
My mom: Boy, do you have him fooled!
Leigh: Did you send in a doppelganger or something?!?!?!?!?
–but I think he just said that because he went to Ohio State and therefore is clearly a moron (Go Blue!). Or a sadist in his spare time.
Really, daily TTT is somewhat a part of life post-BPD/DS, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try medication to stop it. Right???
But first let me talk about my surgery, a Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch. (“You had gastric bypass surgery?” “NO. I had weight-loss surgery that involves a lot of malabsorption.”)
What on earth is a Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch?
Approximately 70% of the stomach is removed along the greater curvature, also called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG). The remaining stomach is fully functioning, banana shaped and about 3 – 5 oz in size which restricts the amount you can consume. The pylorus continues to control the stomach emptying into the small intestine; as a result patients do not experience “dumping”. The upper portion of the duodenum remains in use; food digests to an absorbable consistency in the stomach before moving into the small intestine.
A benefit of removing a portion of the stomach is that it also greatly reduces the amount of ghrelin producing tissue and amount of acid in the stomach. Ghrelin is the “hunger hormone” and by reducing the amount of the hormone produced the appetite is suppressed.
The intestines are switched so that food from the stomach and the digestive juices travel separate paths and don’t mix until they meet up towards the end of the small intestine.
The alimentary limb carries the food.
The biliopancreatic limb carries the bile and digestive juices.
The common channel, also known as the common tract or common limb, is the point from where the alimentary and biliopancreatic limbs meet in the small intestine to where they move into the large intestine. The common channel is where a DS patient’s food, bile and digestive juices mix and nutrients are absorbed. Since the common channel makes up such a small portion of the small intestine dietary starches, fats and complex carbohydrates are not fully absorbed.
So, why’d you choose a BPD/DS rather than a more common Roux-N-Y gastric bypass?
It came down to this: I could never willingly submit to surgery that might cause me to vomit after I eat sugar. A life without sugar isn’t for me (see “The Health Project” and “MAJOR FAIL”). Also, I enjoy my pylorus. Because I have a functioning pylorus I do not have “dumping” syndrome; I can take NSAIDS; and my entire stomach can be scoped if need be. Plus, the long-term weight loss results of BPD/DS are simply the best of any bariatric surgery (see here, here, and here).
And you went to Miami to have it done, and paid for it out-of-pocket?
Yes and yes. It actually reminded me of paying for a homebirth rather than going to the hospital for a “free” birth. I could have had a RNY. My insurance would have covered it. (My insurance would not cover a BPD/DS because I wasn’t morbidly obese “enough.”) Instead, I paid for it, so I got to call the shots. I chose a surgeon in Miami who is one of the best; he’s taught most of the BPD/DS surgeons in this country how to do it. I chose my date (election day 2008. When I came out of anesthesia, I kept asking, Did Obama win? Did he REALLY win? Really? Seriously?) I stayed at my parent’s house after the surgery.
What was it like?
There aren’t words to describe how sucktastic the first few [-]weeks[/-] months were. I was in so much pain. I cried. I missed my family, as I was away from them for almost two weeks. I could barely walk. My mom had to wipe my ass. She washed me in the shower. Every part of my body hurt. Food tasted weird. Drinking water gave me heartburn so bad I thought I would spit fire. It was the most physically painful experience of my life — and I’ve been pregnant with twins, I’ve given birth without any painkillers, I’ve had my gallbladder out after an attack of gallstones, I’ve had dental surgery. My BPD/DS surgery knocked it all out of the ballpark.
But eventually, it got better. Yet it was over six months before I ever said, “I’m GLAD I did this.” I lost a remarkable amount of weight, and for the most part, I can eat “whatever I want.”
That said, there are downsides.
First and foremost, I spend a LOT of time in the bathroom. Lots.
It has to do with not having enough good bacteria in my intestines and yada yada yada — if I skip a dose of probiotics, or don’t eat good whole-milk plain yogurt daily, do NOT stand behind me!
Right now I’m having some issues with bloating. There’s nothing like weighing 135lbs at 5’6″ and being asked REGULARLY if I’m pregnant. By strangers. To me, it means (1) people are RUDE (2) clearly, I look pregnant enough that strangers feel comfortable asking me when I’m due.
Anyway, over the last nearly-18 months, I’ve come to the realization that no weight-loss surgery is perfect; everything has it’s downsides — and I’m currently taking Cipro and waiting on a full-abdomenal/pelvic CT scan to rule out anything else.
Having this surgery was really another chapter in my life; I think about it the way I think about my kids. There was life before my BPD/DS. It was good, it was bad — it was different. There’s life after my BPD/DS. It’s also good, sometimes bad, but mostly full of positives. I have no regrets about having this surgery. None. I’m so glad that I had it done. I’m so glad that I’ve lost weight, that I’m healthier than I was, that I extended my life expectancy. I would go back and do it a million times again — despite the Toilet Time, despite the ‘roid rage, despite the gas, despite the bloating.
I have a neighbor I hate. He’s so annoying. I’m trying — not as part of any project, just in general — to feel neutral toward him, because it’s a waste of emotion to hate, but really I just can’t stand him.
He’s also a total wackadoo, as the kids are calling it these days. Here’s why:
1. The “hidden” cameras. Crazy neighbor has two: one in his front window, the other in his above-garage window. I can only assume it’s to track the comings and goings of everyone in our neighborhood.
2. The incident with a former neighbor. He pulled a gun on a former neighbor during an argument. This was before my time on the street, and the former neighbor moved away — actually lost his home in a foreclosure — but the police were called and crazy neighbor was arrested.
3. The wife nobody sees. Really. I’ve lived here for two years and have seen her once, in her car. I waved. She gave me a dirty look. A nice neighbor once saw her in the cafeteria at her (nice neighbor’s) work — she (crazy neighbor’s wife) was temping at nice neighbor’s office. Nice neighbor waved. Crazy neighbor’s wife dumped her food tray and left.
4. The dogs who aren’t allowed on the grass. Crazy neighbor takes great pride in his grass. He has two dogs. They are not allowed on the grass. Naturally, whenever my former dogs would escape, they ran straight for his grass.
5. The Animal Control on speed-dial. Yes, my neighbor calls Animal Control every time my dog barks more than twice in a row. Unfortunately for me, my dog is a herding breed who uses her voice to move the (imaginary) sheep all over our backyard.
When Animal Control is called for a “noise nuisance” they sit in front of the house that has been complained about, and listen for 15 minutes. The first… three?… times this happened, I freaked out. However, each time the Animal Control officer has knocked on my door and said that he didn’t actually hear anything — because, I don’t leave my dog outside to bark! — but by law he has to give me a copy of the law — which states that 15 minutes in a row or more of continuous barking is considered a nuisance. Sigh.
The good news is that crazy neighbor has actually helped me bond with less-than crazy neighbors; he calls Animal Control on his adjacent neighbors practically daily, and once when Maizey escaped during a torrential downpour, they grabbed her and brought her back to me. They are actually suing crazy neighbor for harassment.
What have I learned from this? Well, prior to this move, I’ve always enjoyed living in a neighborhood. You know, the kind with HOA and lots of neighbors and a pool. I’ve never longed for some huge piece of land that Dustin would spend all weekend mowing. Until now.
Since we average living someplace for 2-3 years, I sometimes think about our next stop. And I hope it will not be in a confined neighborhood; if it is, I want a lot of distance between houses. I bemoan the lack of a community pool — that was the best thing about living in Arizona, we had a pool in our backyard! — but I can deal if we join a Y or a Carowinds-type place or something.