Thursday, September 24, 2009

One Year Later ... More Surprises!

Hooray! I survived the first year of survivorship, the last few months being so easy, it was as if I never had any problems. My scar is almost translucent, and all the skin problems from radiation are gone. While going through it, I never thought it would end, but as always, tincture of time cures most of the little things in life.
So one year later, on the anniversary day of my diagnosis, I was in for another surprise. We had gone out to dinner to celebrate, and it was time to go to sleep when I started to get a tummy ache. It started to feel like there was a pump in my tummy being blown up. The pain went into my back and I couldn't get comfortable. This unrelenting pain went on and on, and after 2 hours, I told hubby that we needed to go to an emergency room. Of course, the first thought through my mind was that I had liver mets and my life was about making a mountain out of a molehill?
So we went to GBMC, where the cancer treatment took place, and I was triaged to wait nearly 7 hours in the waiting room and before I saw a physician. Rule 1: Never get sick on a holiday weekend...even though illness happens 24/7, hospitals still celebrate holidays with skeletal crews. During the time I wait, I finally fell asleep (probably my body's way to deal with the pain) after 4 hours of this awful discomfort. When I woke up, the pain was gone, but I felt we should still see why it happened since it was so unusual.
Turns out I had gallstones that I didn't know about, and one of them had dropped into the common bile duct that passes by the pancreas and blocked the pancreas as well as the bile duct. As a result, pancreatic enzymes used in the metabolism of foods and bile were unable to get to their destinations. This created havoc with my lab values, and I was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis.
Luckily, being a nurse has its privileges. I got absolutely fabulous care, and all the nurses were super friendly and supportive. After 5 days of rest, hydration, and a procedure to roto-rooter my bile duct and put a slit in it to prevent further stones from blocking it, I was sent home. The next step is gallbladder removal, which will happen tomorrow.
If you're reading this today, say a little prayer for me tonight. I really hope this is the end of illness for me for a LONG time.