I’m sorry that I have not updated you on the goings-on of my kitchen lately. I do have lots to tell you about. I had my first dinner party. I made wicked witch cupcakes for Halloween. I perfected a pork Wellington recipe. But I can’t talk in great detail about food right now because my diet as of late has been limited to this:
Yes, it’s Jello. I’m also allowed to have fruit juices (not citrus), clear broth, and Popsicles. Also part of my recent diet are numerous bags of that hospital IV fluid and narcotics in massive doses…massive.
The good news is that I’ve lost 8 pounds this week. The bad news is that the loss is most definitely not worth the pain. I have something called Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction. Diagnosing this was a process that was horribly painful and took years. Once it was finally diagnosed, I had a simple and minimally invasive surgery to fix it and all was right with the world…until this past Saturday.
For those of you scratching your heads, the Sphincter of Oddi is the muscle that sits at the bottom of your common bile duct. In this disease, it spasms closed for some reason. The treatment is to go in endoscopically (down your throat) and snip the muscle (sphincterotomy) so it cannot spasm closed. When it does spasm closed, bile from your liver (or gallbladder if I had one) would back up in the duct causing it to dilate and the result is a pain very similar to the pain of a gallstone.
After many years of pain, the sphincterotomy was the answer to my prayers! Pain-free since surgery…until….a day that will live in infamy: Saturday, October 22, 2011.
I woke up with a terrible cramp in my right side. I went about my day but as it intensified and changed from “cramp” to “stabbing pain” I realized 2 things. First this pain was centered exactly where my Sphincter of Oddi pain of yesteryear had been. Second, I realized that I was in trouble because this pain was not messing around. This pain had stamina and muscles and was probably taking performance enhancing drugs. This pain wanted recognition. This pain refused to allow such frivolous pastimes as sleep. This pain started bullying my entire body. This pain was in charge and I became just a pawn in it’s game. By starving me of both sleep and the ability to tolerate food for several days, the pain honestly started pushing me into what can only be described as a desperate psychosis.
After a couple trips to the emergency room and follow up with my GI doctor we determined that our friend the Sphincter of Oddi is most likely the culprit. We also determined that 2 mg of the pain medication Dilaudid delivered by IV is the only reliable kryptonite we have against this pain.
So, in a few hours I will head back to the hospital and wage war once again against my Sphincter of Oddi. I will fight valiantly by entering a drug induced slumber while the doctor does all the hard work. I will then take copious amounts of kryptonite until the pain has weakened acceptably. And only then will I eat again.
Now, as with any surgical procedure there are risks but I have a great GI doc. The biggest risk is the chance of developing pancreatitis which is very high with this type of procedure. The doctor has a plan to reduce that risk as much as possible but it could happen so say a prayer/cross your fingers/wear your lucky panties…whatever. Just send me some positive energy. If I get pancreatitis it’ll be a long time before I’ll be able to talk about any foods that you can’t see through.