It’s been a very emotional week. I’ve cried, yelled, and just collapsed into exhausted sleep. I cannot see an ambulance with lights and sirens and not break down from the memories of being in so many of them this year. Let me back up a little. I started having an increasing pain around my “upper right quadrant” that was wrapping around to my back. Classic pancreas pain. This was a little different though in that there it was also a specific, dull stabbing pain over my side as well that would not budge.
Assuming it was “just” another pancreas flare up, I put myself on “clears” starting Sunday afternoon, which is basically fasting with clear liquids. The reason for this is to give my pancreas a break and let the inflammation goes down. When the pancreas gets inflamed, it swells and the digestive enzymes cannot get out. The release of digestive enzymes is triggered when you eat only. My pancreatic duct is significantly smaller than normal so it takes very little to swell it shut. When they cannot get out, they go back into the pancreas and it starts basically digesting itself, which can lead to necrosis and sepsis and even death. Scary stuff!
It was still bad on Monday and I called my surgeon to see what I should do. I was in so much pain I’d packed my contacts, phone charger, and hospital socks because I was pretty sure I was going to be sent to the ER then admitted. It was that bad on Monday. I didn’t’ get a call back until late in the day and we decided I’d head in Tuesday morning for labs and an appointment. Fasting that whole day was helping some and since I’ve still got a fair amount of anxiety about ERs and hospitals that was just fine with me. While my pain was at a solid 5-6, I don’t need meds until closer to a 7 or 8.
My labs actually looked ok. No pancreatitis which was a relief! I did learn that I’ll always need to supplement with B12, calcium, and vitamin D, and the labs did show that I had not been getting adequate nutrition recently, which was not a big surprise. My surgeon is thorough and amazing and they decided to do a CT scan anyway just to be sure we weren’t missing anything. I was in for labs, my appointment, and finished the CT scan in time to be back at work at 2 pm – impressive! I assumed the CT would be completely clear and didn’t think much else of it.
Wednesday I got a call from the surgeon’s office and learned that while the CT was clear from a surgical perspective (nothing Whipple related), they did find something called an adnexal cyst on the left side (exactly where my pain was, and still is). I believe it is like an ovarian cyst. The recommendation was to get into a gynecologist ASAP to confirm, hopefully, that it is benign and not something scary like ovarian cancer. So, I’m terrified now. Then my gyn can’t fit me in until SEPTEMBER 30th! I lost it. Just started crying right there on the phone.
Thank the stars above that I have amazing friends and I was able to get in with one of the TOP gynecologists in Atlanta next Thursday! So, I’m getting my CT scan and labs transferred over to the new gyn and I feel much better about being able to get seen sooner than later. I’m sure it’s nothing, but it’s scary after everything else this year. And honestly, if they recommend any kind of surgery to remove it I’m just going to ask for a full hysterectomy so I don’t ever have to worry about ovarian cancer! Might as well – I’ve already hit all of my out of pocket maximums and deductibles this year!