Last Thursday, October 11, I spent the better part of the day at the hospital for a gastric emptying study. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been dealing with some GI issues for a while now, without much luck in getting answers about what’s going on. This test was the next step in the process of figuring out the problem with my guts.
My arrival time for the test that morning was 7:30 a.m., which was a real challenge considering that I work nights and my sleep schedule is weird. Unfortunately, a combination of anxiety and insomnia, as well as GI symptoms, led to my having no sleep before going to the hospital. So, I was feeling pretty rough. Still, I showered and made myself presentable and headed to the hospital. “Get up, dress up, show up”, right?
The registration clerk called me over and got all of my paperwork processed and made sure I knew where the waiting area was for the test. As we were finishing up with that, the lady complimented me on my beard and how well groomed and tidy it was. She said she doesn’t really care for them personally, but thought mine looked nice. In a moment when I was feeling exhausted and really run down, her kind words made me feel a little bit better. I had a few of my “A Little Heart Can Do Big Things” bracelets in my bag, and I gave her one and thanked her for her kindness before heading off to the radiology department.
The Gastric Emptying Study
At around 8:00 a.m. one of the technicians from radiology came out and took me back to the lab where the study would be done. She explained how the study would be conducted and what I would have to do for it. I would be given a breakfast consisting of egg whites that were mixed with a radioactive tracer agent, two slices of toast with jelly, and a 4oz bottle of water. I would have 10 minutes to eat, and then a series of images would be taken over a 4-hour period. Take a baseline image and wait 1 hour. Take image 2 and wait 1 hour. Take image 3 and wait 2 hours. Take image 4 and we’re done. It was honestly pretty simple. The hardest part was waiting and waiting and waiting. And, of course, trying to stay awake.
8:15: Breakfast. Radioactive egg whites. YUMMY!
8:30 a.m.: First Image (Stand still for 1 minute)
9:30 a.m. : Second Image
10:30 a.m.: Third Image (Are we done yet?!)
12:30 p.m.: Fourth Image (Finished!)
Late Friday evening I received an email alerting me that the radiology report was available for viewing in the medical groups patient portal. So, I signed in to take a look. The findings indicated and confirmed what I had suspected for some time now. I am dealing with Gastroparesis.
My endocrinologist called me on Monday to officially give me the results. Since the findings are consistent with Gastroparesis he’s referring me to a gastroenterologist for followup and treatment. I’ve made the appointment with that doctor but, unfortunately, I can’t see the guy until December 12. To say I’m frustrated by that would be an understatement. I don’t want to wait any longer to start treating this problem. I’m just not doing it.
So, for now, I’m looking into scheduling an appointment with a dietician at my Endo’s office to begin the process of figuring out what I can and can’t eat, and establishing a plan for meals, etc… And I’m reaching out to friends in the Diabetes Online Community and the HealtheVoices community who have dealt with GP for resources that might be helpful.
This is not something that I was looking to add to my ever-growing bundle of chronic health issues. I really didn’t want to be right in my thinking about this issue. I’m tired of being right about this shit. However, it is a tremendous relief to finally have answers to this problem that has wreaked havoc on my life for most of the last year. Knowing what’s wrong is half the battle. Now I have an idea of what needs to be done to treat the condition so that I can get on with my life. It’s time.