Monthly Archives: November 2011

Gastroduodenal Intussusception

Well, it takes getting close to death to bring me back here to blog..

Will I keep it up? I don't know... but i felt I should go ahead and post about whats happened in the last year, and the how and why of how I was close to death.

Gastroduodenal Intussusception, Its a long medical name, but it nearly killed me. Not fast mind you but slow.

I should start this basic recount of event in June, when for some unknown reason, at that time, I had started having major stomach pains. It was not a constant pain but a occasional issue where I would have pain for a hour or so and then everything was ok.
It was bad enough that if i was not standing I could not get up.

I called my father to come get me and take me to the Emergency Room, because I did not think I could drive safely.
When he arrived I was feeling better and had some water to drink while we waited. Then it started again and we went to the ER.

Sadly they found nothing, my gallbladder was ok, no organs looked swelled or damaged, it was a unexplained mystery and the pain stopped the next day.

Looking back, I wonder if they had done a CT scan if they would have found the issue, or if it was not yet progressed far enough.
Also I believe this is where the slow process that would have killed me started.

Shortly after that I started having issues, where a hour or two after eating I would vomit up some part of the meal I had eaten,
or vomit up just bile/stomach juices.

This went on for a bit before I decided to visit a Doctor, and it was a offhand comment that I made about how co-workers were saying I had lost alot of weight and looked better that made the doctor weigh me.

I had lost nearly 60 pounds of weight, I used to be 350 a few months before now I was like 290ish.
Obviously that much weight loss indicates a serious issue.

So the doctor had some blood drawn to check my liver, and I went home with a appointment to come back about a week later for a endoscope check. ( Where the doctor checks my stomach for damage/bleeding/something odd)

I did get a call the next day telling me I needed to get on Iron supplements because my red blood cell count was so low and I was considered anemic.

Well up to then I had been feeling ok, a bit more tired, but I had been attributing that to the vomiting and the stresses that put on the body.

I found out from the Doc that I was bleeding somewhere, He just could not find where. I had brought in some stool samples in the containers they had given me on the previous visit and they showed no blood at all.

Up to this point in time I had a hard time keeping food down, I was not sure if it was the type of food, or a gluten allergy or something along that range. For example I would go to eat at the local Chinese buffet and not make it home before I had to vomit the food back up.

So, the doctor scheduled me in for a colonoscopy, to check in my large intestines for bleeding there on November the third.
Being inexperienced and reading the directions wrong I had eaten solid food the day before it, but it turned out to not be much of a issue. I still say that BBQ Chicken Burrito from Taco Bell was worth it!

One other thing he had scheduled me for was a CT scan to get a image of my guts. This turned out to be what changed my life.

When we got there they put me on fluids, and I was not really sure why they kept delaying my checkup/surgery. Eventually he did come in and tell me he was not going to do it but he did want to go in for a quick check. It was not pleasant but he was only in for a few moments.

After getting dressed I was escorted to a waiting room where my step mom, who had driven me there, was also waiting.

The doc said he was holding off the colonoscopy because the CT scans showed him something he had never seen before in his medical career, this is something I got used to hearing once we learned what it was I had.

Somehow my stomach was pulled into my small intestines, and we learned it was called Gastroduodenal Intussusception.

Now at this time, due to the vomiting and the bleeding I was having, I had been getting very little nutrients and loosing small amounts of blood faster then my body could replace, so I was very anemic.

My step mom had commented that I looked grey, my lips and face were white and looked like there was barely and blood in me.
We also learned that I was not responding to the Iron supplements.

The Doctor recommended that I head to the hospital, and recommended a surgeon to take care of me, he wanted them to give me a transfusion of blood to get the red blood cell count back up to a safe level. He also mentioned that surgery was probabbly going to have to be done to fix this issue.

Well, we headed out to the hospital, stopping at my place to get my IPOD and cell phone charger so I could keep myself entertained for a few hours. Also we stopped and got something to eat, a big mac for my step mom and a grilled chicken burger for me.

At this point, I did not realize how bad it was, my step moms blood pressure was sky high with worry, and I was being stupid and not realizing how bad of a shape I was in, I thought they would put the blood in me, I would talk to the doctor and be released till I needed to come back in.

Boy was I so wrong!

They admitted me in, and put me in the ICU department, and put a IV in, started liquids in.

To let you know when I was admitted my hemoglobin count was at a 4.XX.

This was my brush with death and as close as I ever want to get to it till its my time to go.

They wound up putting six pints of blood in me to get my hemoglobin up over 8, which they considered a safe level.
Now remember I thought I would be going home after this and was very let down that I found out I could not leave.

I spoke with Dr Richard Terry, I don't think its a bad thing to give his name out because he is the one that fixed the major issue, and I was moved to a regular room that morning since I was no longer in as much danger.

I will say one annoyance I had was the stupid "fall risk" bracelet they had put on me, but I did have fun with it later on.
I do understand why they put it on and it was not fun being in ICU, I had to get unhooked from a few things to get up and pee.
And I had to pee into a urinal so they could see how much I was pissing versus how much liquid they were putting in.

So I am in the room, I sorta wish I had gotten pictures to post here for memories.

My father who has to work in Atlanta GA and mother who lives near Elisabethtown KY both came down to be with me.
I realize both of them were afraid badly for me, including my step mom.

My mom took a big risk, she did not have time to spend with me but stayed for nearly 3 weeks coming every day to spend a few hours with me and when I had my surgery she was there for a few days to make sure I was all right and help me.
She could have lost her job but did not thankfully, though she is looking around to see what options she has for a better job.

My father could not take that much time away from work so he stayed for a few days went back and kept working, I know several of his co-workers were very concerned about me and I thank them for there good wishes.

I will say this.. I am a SLOB at the best of times, and my dad and step mom gave me a wonderful present!
A clean apartment.
I know I could never have gotten this place this clean in any length of time!

So moving back to the hospital talk they kept watch on my blood counts taking samples every day, eventually this got easier because they wanted to start feeding me.
So you ask yourself, "How can feeding you help with taking blood draws?"

A special IV called a PICC line, it is put into the upper part of your arm and the catheter line runs up your arm in the main vein and stops near your heart.
Now this IV could allow greater flow of liquids and was designed for long term use and had two ports.
This would let them draw blood for tests without needing to stick me.

I did have some issues getting it in, though the IV specialist that came to put it in did a bang up wonderful job. She did have to restart it at one point because there was a issue.

So they could feed me nutrients directly into my blood stream, bypassing the need to digest and all the good things about eating. They called this feeding a TPN. But they did let me have a diet, it was called "clear liquids", this consisted of broths jello and water apple juice lemon aid and Italian Ice deserts.

Though I had to stay away from red because they did not want the food dye to be confused with blood in the watery stools I did have.

So I spent about a week on this food getting stronger and talking to the doctor.

While waiting we talked to a Oncologist who basically said he did not think there was any cancer during all this. And this started a bit of a conflict with Dr Terry.

I had been ordered a few tests, a CT scan and a bone marrow test and another endoscope test.
I will say this, the anesthesiologist who put me under for the endoscope test I disliked. He did not warn me or let me know it was happening. I started to feel weird and figured he was putting me under.

The CT scan I could understand, but the bone marrow test was to check for cancer, which the Oncologist had said in his opinion there was no worry of.

I had asked to speak with Dr Terry about what we were doing and why the tests were being ordered and as you guessed I did not like how we were being treated, Dr Terry was not giving me the info I needed to know whats going on.
But he came after a long day to talk to me and after then I felt safe in his hands and trusted him.

We did talk to another Dr Siegien, who I loved how she works.
In fact I am going to see if she can be my primary doctor from now on.

She had checked to see at one point if a at this point third CT scan was needed. We were going to scan for the arteries to make sure there was a need for a arterial specialist for the operation. And she found out for us that the CT scan would not give us any more data then what we had.
I had raised objections to this based on the amount of radiation that this device gives off when being used properly.
I did find out that if I had like 10 of them in three years time i have a higher risk of getting some cancers but I don't plan on having too many more from this point forward.

I should add at this point that Gastroduodenal Intussusception is so rare for my age group, there have been just a handful of cases of this since the late 1800's.
It happens more in children and babies then adults.

Being a WOW addict and also getting addicted a bit to the game EVE, I could not login at all while I was there, Sad face.

But my dad brought his laptop in which did enough, so I could read some news sites, keep up with WOW news and watch Netflix on it.
So I stayed sane, walked a bunch.
Dr Terry wanted me walking alot so that it would help in the recovery, in fact the day after I walked 3 times around the floor I was on. I later found out that was about a quarter miles worth of walking.

So the day of the surgery comes and I go in.. waking up with my parents there and finding out that they found the issue fully.

It turns out that there was a tumor (insert voice clip of Arnold Schwarzenegger saying "Its not a Tumor") that was benign.
It was the size of a chicken egg and was attached in the stomach and had gotten caught in my duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine.
This was causing a blockage which is why I was vomiting. Food could not go past it easily so, it had to come out.

Now why was I bleeding, I have not mentioned it till now but its believed that the tumor kept going in and out of the duodenum and drawing the stomach in and out.
This constant in and out is like if you kept scratching your skin, it would eventually bleed.
And that's why I was anemic.

So I lost about 20% of my stomach, a small portion of my duodenum, the portion of the duodenum that was removed connected to the gallbladder so the gallbladder was removed. Also a small part of my pancreas that was around that connection was removed.

So for a while I was on a epidural, and and NG tube, which sucked my stomach juices out. It was not pretty or nice smelling.

Now when your on a epidural they also put you on a catheter, and when the epidural came out about six hours later the catheter could come out. I had to deal with a pee bag for about 4 days.
I will tell you that was a burning sensation that I hope NEVER to have again.

Then the campaign which I christened "FARTS FOR FREEDOM" started. I even made a sign that got taped to the TV.
As I understood, the NG tube, which i hated, would be removed once we proved that, one my stomach juices were not coming out dark, and two that I started farting.
Why are farts important, because you swallow air occasionally, and that air becomes a fart later on.
So if I could fart then my guts are working.
Then I started having watery poo, because there was nothing but liquid in me.

Also shortly after I got into the room I started to run a fever, to the PICC Line was removed since they did not see any other source for the fever. It was later proven nothing was wrong with it.

About 5 days after the surgery the NG Tube was removed I was allowed water to drink.

The idea was to test my stomach and see how it reacted, nausea would be a bad sign. Vomiting would be dangerous since it could tear my insides back up.

I will say water after having a NG tube was a godsend!

Then the next day I was allowed the Clear liquid diet again.
Broth and jello never taster that good!!

Also a side note, the week before I had lots of broth, so much that my mom had commented that I had become a critique of the broth, having too much salt or not enough flavor.

Then I was allowed the full liquid diet the next day!
I was allowed oatmeal and Ice Cream! OMG so tasty and I mean the oatmeal!

Then I was allowed to have a special diet, I could not have all the solid food on the hospitals menu but I was allowed alot. The foods I can eat right now are meant to be low in fiber and easy to digest.
This way there is less strain on my guts while everything heals.

My first solid food in nearly a month was spaghetti and sauce and carrots!
OMG so delicious!

Then a few hours later I had another meal and it was a hamburger!

I have to admit, I cried alot.

For a while I could not shower after the surgery, and before when I had the TPN in We had to cover it with saran wrap or a bag and tape it.
For a shower without any hoses or anything poking out of me.
It was moving.

Then the magic happened, I had a turd!

My bowels proved they are working. It was magical to me.

The next day I had scrambled eggs and cooked ham.

This was the day I was to leave the hospital.

It took time to check out and get going but I got out.

My step mom and my dad wanted me to stay at there place so that my step mom could look after me.
But family was in for thanks giving there were few places to sleep. That would have been ok, but someone got a stomach bug.
That meant I could not be there without risking getting sick and vomiting.

So I got dropped off at my place where I am still. I really wanted to come back to my home.

So My step mom dropped me off and I had some food TV dinners and spaghetti noodles so I was good.
And She came back the next day with some more food for me to eat.

I have been enjoying playing wow and eve again.. relaxing and more.

I even walked the quarter mile or so to the gas station to get some soda, of course caffeine free and sugar free, and some ice cream.

Why am I walking around, right now I am not allowed to drive. My reactions would be slow and if I got in a wreck my stomach and guts could be damaged much worse then in a normal wreck.

Today my Dad came by and we went to walmart and I bought presents for my nieces and nephew, getting whats on there list and more!

So that covers most of it, I am sure I left out some things, but its been as I said alot during this time a "interesting experience".
Thursday I go to get the stitches removed and that's one of the last things to do.

I will add that my work the HR manager and the Short Term Disability departments have been wonderful.
I am getting a paycheck still and have a job to go back to.

I am eager to go back when the doc releases me but I think it will be near the end of December before he does.

One surprising thing going through the notes me and my mom made is that the doc wants me on pre-natal vitamins because it will help me rebuild my blood cells and heal better. Just interesting.

Also I know I did not mention my mom much but she stayed with me alot, being the mental and spiritual help I needed.
She started a notepad of who had come in and what they said keeping track for me about things, translating medical speak to normal speak for me.
Without her help I don't know how I could have coped and dealt with everything.

I hope you enjoyed reading, I know I may not have gotten everything or written it as a good story but it tells the basic facts and more.