Gastroenterology

For quite a few years now we have fought and fought with doctors to get them to understand that I have absorption issues. There was always blatant proof in my blood work. I take 2-20EU potassium pills a day, but my potassium levels are either low or barely borderline normal. Same goes for vitamin D, calcium, B12, steroids, etc. I have also had A LOT of nausea.

But recently, I started experiencing a lot of abdominal pain so I was referred to a GI doctor, Dr. Patel. Dr. Patel took a look at my medical history and thought that since MCAS effects my skin every day, it is affecting my systemically. Unfortunately, after further testing, it does not appear that is the case… so we began further testing.

We started with a barium study with small bowel follow through and unfortunately, they struggled to get the barium to empty from my stomach into my small bowel. As soon as they noticed that the barium was not emptying like it should, they had me get up and walk the halls of the hospital between images. I walked for a total of an hour and a half between images and they still were not able to get the barium to empty from my stomach in under 4 hours. This concerned Dr. Patel because barium is a liquid and “normal” humans empty their stomachs of solids in less than 4 hours.

We followed this test with an upper gastrointestinal scope. For this test I had to fast for 8 hours prior to. This means I was not allowed to eat or drink after midnight except to take my steroids because I am steroid dependent. By the time they ended up getting me back for the procedure, I had fasted for 14 hours, but they found quite a bit of digested food and bile in my stomach.

I am currently awaiting the Smart Pill. I will have to drive to Indianapolis for this procedure because they don’t offer it here in Lafayette. The Smart Pill is a pill that you swallow and it measures the pH, temperature, pressure, and transit time in your stomach and intestines. This will tell us for sure if I have Gastroparesis or not. I go for that the 15thof October. It is a 5-day test. They will have me swallow the pill and then I can head home and go about my normal daily life.

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