Sunday, October 8, 2017

Finally a diagnosis

The tests on Friday went OK. It's the preparation for them that is awful. But, OK, its over. My lovely friend came all the way from the north of the country in Tzfat to accompany me, and I was so grateful to have her with me. She stayed with us all Shabbat, that was great. Thanks, MD!

I have all kinds of new things to add to my health resume now. New things to learn about, research, take care of, deal with. Yes, the procedures on Friday did show up with diagnoses. That's the plural form of diagnosis... a few things showed up. Nothing too dark and scary, though, thank Gd. All very manageable things.

Turns out I have stars and stripes in the lining of my duodenum and stomach. That apparently means inflammatory gastritis and erosive duodenitis. Ulcers some might say, duodenal ulcerations, sores, not all the way through the lining. Often with this sort of duodenitis there is a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori (or H-pylori). Although I had had two tests for that bacteria already, the gastro doctor who was doing the scope on Friday took an internal sample to test for the bacteria as well. It, too, came up negative. So how I got this condition is probably because of overuse of NSAID's (like Ibuprofen, Advil and the like). That is certainly a possibility, being a person with migraines and chronic pain. So, I already knew that NSAID's were bad for me because they are bad for people who have kidney problems. But sometimes when you're in pain, you just reach for anything that can relieve it, you know? I know now, though, that I really have to totally stay away from Advil. That's it. Tylenol only sort of works some of the time, though, unfortunately. So what am I supposed to do? Have a conversation with my doctor.

Thankfully Topamax is not an NSAID. And also thankfully it is working against the migraines since I upped the dosage recently. Also thankfully I don't have to go off it; that was going to be my next line of defense if the gastro tests turned up nothing. I would have had to go off the Topamax in thinking that this pain is a gastro reaction to the medicine, being that this happened a month after starting the medicine. That would have been so problematic on so many levels. Thank God, for now, I get to stick with my migraine medicine.

In the meantime, the gastro doctor gave me medicine to take for two months, saying I should start to feel better within a week. Today is the third day on the medicine and I don't feel better yet, but I have to be a patient patient. I've just been sick for a really long time, I've been in a lot of pain, and it's been so hard.

I really hope that is it. I mean, I can't help feeling that we're missing something. Do ulcers hurt this much? All the time? I guess so, I mean when Robert put "constant pain" duodenitis into Google, 1,690 hits came up, so I guess that is it. So let's just work on that assumption.

I have an appointment with the specialist that Rav Fisher recommended on the 16th. I will definitely know by then if the medicine is working, and if I am feeling much better by then. I hope I can cancel the appointment. I am not canceling yet, though. I just have a "gut feeling" that we are missing something. I hope I am wrong. I don't want to go digging for more problems, and I desperately want this pain to go away. Time will tell.


  1. So glad that the diagnosis with fewer question marks gave you a real plan of action. Thoughts, prayers and good juju still coming at you for the meds to kick in and for you to (finally!!) start feeling better.

  2. I was recently diagnosed with similar gastro issues and had pains on par with labor contractions prior to starting on medication. Be sure to eat throughout the day, an empty stomach will make your symptoms worse. Feel better soon!

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