Ella Cowin (thunderflyer) wrote,
Ella Cowin

I have missed our little talks.

So, since my last entry, there has been stuff.

My knee has gone back to worse than it was before the surgery, which was an inappropriate surgery given the level of damage that I had done. Oh, well. It works for the most part. I'll go in for the replacement surgery when I can no longer walk at all.

Carl got laid off back in October, which lasted 10 days. We were OK since he was still owed a week's vacation, so he only lost 2 days pay. Immediately after he was called back, the mill went into maintenance shut down. That meant 12 hour days with no days off for about 20 days.

While all of that was going on, I was continuing my quest for improved health. See, I have been having a lot of weird symptoms of gastric reflux like choking, retching, and pain in my stomach, but very rarely any heart burn. This has been going on for a while so I just assumed it was all related to smoker's cough.

So I saw a gastroenterologist for the digestive issues. His first and best guess is that I have a bad gallbladder and GERD. I had an upper GI scope, which proved the GERD, but no reason for it. Then I had an abdominal ultrasound scan to see what state my liver, gallbladder, and pancreas are in. That showed that I have an enlarged liver, and possible sludge with no stones in my gallbladder. Then came a battery of blood tests that tested me for just about everything short of my IQ.

That's where it got terrifying. All of the liver function tests were dead normal. I tested negative for ANY auto-immune disorders. I was also negative for Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B antibodies.

I am positive for Hepatitis C antibodies.

Holy shit.

I was straight up terrified. I scoured my past for ANYTHING (and ANYONE) that could have put me at risk. I was terrified that I had given the love of my life HepC (it is rarely sexually transmitted, but it happens).

So, I had to take another test that measured the amount of virus in my blood. Waiting for the answer was brutally agonizing.

There was ZERO (not just trace, or too low to count) virus in my blood. The doc figures (who called me personally on his own time to give me the results) that I had the virus a long time ago, then my immune system kicked all of its ass, and kept its mug shot on file should it ever make the mistake of ever trying that shit on me again.

Unfortunately, it means that I am excluded as an organ and tissue donor on the very off chance there could be a rogue microphage just hanging out. It also means that extra precautions above universal precautions have to be done for surgeries.

While all of that was going on, another test for my poor, battered gallbladder was ordered called a scintograph. It's where you get injected with a slightly radioactive dye that is processed by the liver and passed into the gallbladder. They time how long it takes to leave the liver and fill up the gallbladder, then you are injected with a hormone that makes the gallbladder empty itself. Then it is timed on how long it takes to empty and how much it empties, etc.

My liver took longer than average to empty into the gallbladder and the gallbladder didn't even try to empty in the hour it was given to try to. The wonderful gastroenterologist recommended that I have my gallbladder removed and referred me to a surgeon.

In the consult, he agreed that my gallbladder needs to GTFO. He doesn't think that it will solve all of my issues and wants me to consider a gastric bypass, since I have too much belly fat for the fundus fold to be effective (it would very likely undo itself from the pressure of the belly fat).

I do not want a gastric bypass. I know more people who have died or experienced negative life changes than have had success from that surgery. I am not a good candidate for that drastic surgery. My relationship with food is decent enough. I have been counting my calories for the last couple of weeks, and it is a rare day if I eat (and drink) more than 1500 calories/day.

Now I am just waiting for the surgery to be scheduled hopefully before January 1, since I have reached the maximum out of pocket for this year.

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