February 29, 2016

What's an Endoscopy Like?

I realize that the title of this post is a little "textbook" but it's the exact phrase that I googled last Thursday night, and I didn't find many helpful answers.  So, if you've come here by way of that search term . . . you're welcome.

I've been having difficulty swallowing for . . . oh, about a year now. It's become progressively worse, so last fall, my doctor scheduled an upper GI endoscopy.  She assumed it was a narrowing of the esophagus, and that it just need dilation. She talked as if it was no big deal, but from that moment forward, I was dreading endoscopy day.

It was originally scheduled for October, but everyone in my family was throwing up the day before my appointment, so I rescheduled for February. I was supposed to go in last Thursday, but we got all the snow, so they bumped me to Friday.

Let me just preface the rest of this by saying that it was a really easy, painless procedure. I had these visions of gagging on a camera being shoved down my throat while two nurses and my husband struggled to hold me still. I probably imagined it that way because it's what happens every time I take one of my kids to get a shot. Really, though? It was so simple.

After I checked in, they took me back and I had to disrobe and gown up. They put sticky heart monitors on me and started an IV (Kudos to that nurse. I didn't even realize he'd started it when I saw him taping it down. The last IV I'd had was when I was in labor with Hattie and it took them multiple attempts before they eventually contacted someone from the vascular department.).  After checking my vitals and going over the typical risks and permission forms, they told me they'd be back to get me soon.

About 10 minutes later, they wheeled me back into a room with lots of screens and machines. The tech and the nurse showed me the equipment (which I was already very familiar with, thanks to my googling the night before) and then began to prep me as we waited for the doctor. They took my vitals again, put an oxygen cannula in my hose and sprayed a NASTY tasting spray at the back of my throat to numb my gag reflex.

They had me roll onto my left side and propped me up that way. They started a drug into my IV, and the rest was kind of a blur. I have a faint memory of kind of gagging and I remember the doctor saying "biopsy" and that's it. The next thing I knew, they were moving me to my back and the doctor said, "That's it!" As they were wheeling me to recovery, I remember thinking, "Wow, I thought I'd go to sleep, but I was awake for the whole thing." But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn't remember much at all. When I tried to remember what happened, it felt like trying to recall a dream.

When they brought Kyle back to see me, all I could fixate on was that I'd heard the doctor say "biopsy." I wasn't 100% sure if that memory could be trusted. They eventually brought in a report and went over it with both of us. They found no narrowing of my esophagus, but took 6 biopsies of suspicious looking areas in my esophagus and stomach. It could be a week or two before we get results, but the phrase "eosinophilic esophagitis" was thrown out there . . . which is a very specific name for something rather broad and nonspecific.

So, I'm waiting. March is so busy, that I don't have a lot of time to stress about it. I have two fears: 1) That they'll come back and tell me that I have something horrible and life altering or 2) THey'll say, "We don't really know what's wrong. You'll just have to deal forever with having difficulty swallowing."

But that's not really the point. The point of this post is this: upper GI endoscipies? Not that bad.

February 28, 2016

Maybe it's just winter

It is well documented that January is my least favorite month of the year. February, however, is giving it a run for its money this year.

We had two weeks of stomach flu. Fun!

Kyle had surgery to break up 1" worth of kidney stones, which resulted in 5 days of excruciating pain trying to pass them, and one day trip to the Emergency Room. This whole ordeal deserves an entire post of its own.

To cap it all off, I had an endoscopy on Friday, which revealed 6 areas of "suspicious tissue" that had to be biopsied. Double fun!

This month (truthfully, the last year or so) has been lonely and difficult.

Despite all of that (or maybe because of it), I've felt this stirring in my soul. I was driving home from camp on February 1, and felt it for the first time. There's something moving in me. Changing. Growing, perhaps?  I read a quote from Christine Caine last week that said:
"Sometimes when you're in a dark place you think you've been buried, but actually you've been planted."

This quote gave me hope and new perspective. Maybe I haven't been forgotten and alone for the last year; maybe it's just winter.

Spring is coming.