It's been a rough few weeks, complicated by a weeklong visit from my parents that started the day after I spent a chunk of the night in the emergency room last night.
It's great for Ellie to get to spend time with her grandparents, of course, but disruption of our routine is always complicated, and with my having severe new symptoms, it was not as easy a visit as any of us would have liked.
I've had several more of those weird episodes, thankfully none quite as severe as the one that had me writhing in pain and moaning like a ghost.
Last week, I had a follow-up appointment scheduled with my gastroenterologist, which was wonderful timing because I'd realized, with the help of some friends on Facebook, that it was likely my gallbladder causing these episodes.
I hate my GI doc's assistant, although it probably isn't her fault that I couldn't get scheduled for an ultrasound and bloodwork over the Fourth of July weekend. I saw him the Tuesday after the holiday weekend, and managed to get into an ultrasound appointment two days later.
Although the tech was a real stickler for most of the rules, he took pity on me at the end when I asked if he'd seen anything that could explain my symptoms. I was hoping for a yes/no answer, not expecting even that much, and was delighted when he responded with a grimace, "It's probably your gallbladder."
Of course, an ultrasound tech doesn't make official diagnoses, so I had to wait over the weekend to get a call from my GI doc's office confirming that I have gallstones "and a really sick-looking gallbladder that needs to come out." (I failed to ask what a "sick-looking gallbladder" looked like.)
So, now I'm awaiting referral to a surgeon, and then will probably have to wait for an office appointment, and then wait for an OR appointment. I'm crossing my fingers that it will be taken care of before the end of summer, and hoping that's not an unrealistic goal.
I was a little surprised that my GI doc doesn't make the referral himself. His office referred me back to my primary care doc (who's in Hawaii all month). I'm hoping to hear from her in the next couple days, or from her assistant, who I spoke to on Monday and promised to discuss it with my internist on their daily phone call.
Meanwhile, my acupuncturist is doing her best to calm my gallbladder down, and I'm using my pain meds when necessary.
I find it a little funny that I essentially diagnosed myself (with a little help from my friends, of course), because when I google gallstones and gallbladder disease, my symptoms were fairly classic for it and I fit the profile. I guess, however, that those symptoms are vague enough to fit way too many other health problems, including heart attacks and panic attacks.
I am thinking of writing a perfectly polite letter to the ER doc and telling him what it ended up being, although I know it's unlikely he'll have any clue who I was because he has undoubtedly seen hundreds of patients since seeing me on June 16.
Meanwhile, I'm sorry for disappearing from the blog without notice. It has felt like a lot to deal with on top of everything else. I'm grateful to have this mystery, at least, solved, and that it's something that should be fairly easy to get rid of (and hopefully not have any further repercussions for me).
5 months ago