Yup, It’s the Gallbladder

by Christine on March 20th, 2013

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Yesterday I went in for my second test to try to figure out/rule out what was causing my stomach pains back in Jan/Feb.  I was originally scheduled for a regular endoscopy, but the day before my bariatric surgeon called and asked if I would consider allowing him to perform a trans nasal endoscopy (TNE) instead.  I said sure. The benefits of the the TNE are: no sedation is required (therefore my hubby didn’t have to take time off work to drive me), instant results, and no gagging reflex.

An endoscopy is where they send a camera & light down your throat and into your stomach to investigate your throat/tummy for ulcers, lesions, tears, etc.  A typical endoscopy goes through your mouth; a trans nasal endoscopy starts from your nose and uses a slightly smaller tube/wire.

Well, the procedure was pretty awful, overall.  Since I was playing guinea pig as my surgeon was learning how to use this new technology, he asked me to write up my experience. Here’s what I had to say:

OW. Holy smokes, that was quite painful and uncomfortable!  This shouldn’t come as a shock to Doctor P, as I asked him to stop about seven times because it hurt badly (pain 7 or 8 out of 10).  The part that hurt the worst was near the sinuses, before he got to the throat.  I know that he used a spray and that lidocene gel to numb me (which I know worked at least partly, because it made my tongue and lips numb), but it didn’t seem to make much difference on that sensitive sinus area at all. I wonder if there is something more effective and powerful that he could use to numb this area in the future!

Once he made it past that area (and, it seems that simply working quickly and not dallying in that area helped), the procedure was mostly fine. I could feel the scope move down my throat and into my stomach, but it didn’t hurt. It was just a little weird and foreign. When he was wiggling the scope around in my stomach, it hurt a little (pain was about 2/10), but more annoying/uncomfortable than anything else.

My suggestion is that when he gets the scope down into the throat and stomach, to slow down the movement a little. The jabbing motion made the pain worse and my anxiety worse.  Also, it helped when he held the scope firmly against my nose to prevent it from moving against that awful sinus area. Kind of firmly planting it there helped to reduce the discomfort. (In other words, when he was wiggling the scope at my nose like a spatula scraping against a cake bowl, that was no good.)

When he pulled the scope out, it didn’t hurt. Afterwards I did not feel any pain or discomfort. I did use the procedure as an excuse to have a small milkshake later on. A real treat!

He asked once during the procedure if I wanted to look at the screen to see what the scope was looking at inside my stomach. I DID want to look, but I was too scared to move my head and move that damn scope against the sinuses, so I said no. If there was a screen just over his shoulder on the wall where I could see, that would have been cool, and the distraction would have been welcome during the procedure.

Overall: In the future, I personally would prefer to be sedated and have a regular endoscopy done. I know I don’t have a very high tolerance of pain, but I don’t think my anxiety can handle something like that again. That initial pain wasn’t worth the benefit of having instant results; I’d be much happier to be sedated and wait 4 days for results.

Throughout the entire procedure, after 3 or 4 times stopping him due to pain, I started crying. Sobbing! I even cried after the first painful part was over. And when it was all over, I kept crying. Apparently I’m a big baby when it comes to pain. I was totally like this:

(Although that pic is of me getting my tattoo last year, not yesterday’s doctor’s office! I was equally pathetic though. Ha!)

So…I had some instant results though! Doctor P said everything looked GREAT: no ulcers, the band was in place, no erosion, etc.  So he felt pretty confident that it’s the gallbladder giving me problems. “When do you want to have it taken out?” he asked me.

I replied that I’m feeling fine now, and there’s no real sense in having surgery if I feel okay. So when/if the tummy pain comes back, we’ll schedule the gallbladder surgery. He agreed, so that’s the plan. I’m just hanging out and waiting.

The good news is that I appear to have convinced Doctor P NOT to remove the fluid from my band, hooray!! I’m a happy camper at that news.

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