When one of my health issues gets bad enough, I try to ignore all my other health issues. This is what has been happening lately because of my headaches. They have been so severe that I've been ignoring my GI track, even though it's been on a steep decline for the past few weeks.
Lately I've been having really terrible reflux- to the point where I'm waking up at night choking on acid. The reason I have reflux is because I have Gastroparesis. Because my stomach doesn't digest/ drain food and acid properly, food and acid goes up very easily. This is compounded by the fact that my lower esophageal sphincter doesn't close all the way.
My other Gastroparesis symptoms have also gotten a lot worse. I'm back to relying on nausea medication every day, I've stopped tolerating most foods, my stomach isn't doing any digesting at night which means I wake up very sick, I'm burping up even the faintest of food flavors for hours on end, and my bloating is worse than ever.
When I decided to get the gastric neurostimulator instead of having a fundoplication/ pyloroplasty earlier this year, I knew that it was only a band-aid procedure for nausea. I knew it wasn't going to help any of my other symptoms, but I wanted to see if a nausea reduction made living with Gastroparesis tolerable. It seemed to for awhile, but a few weeks ago things took a turn for the worst.
I knew that it was likely I'd need a GERD surgery at some point, and that it might also be in my best interests to reconsider the pyloroplasty.
Today I met with my GI doctor and he said that the only treatments left for us to consider are 1) the fundoplication/ pyloroplasty or 2) a partial gastrectomy- where they'd remove a portion of my stomach. Or I can do nothing and continue watching my ability to function like a normal human being slip away.
Obviously I don't want to have either of those surgeries. I wrote at length about all the horrible things I learned about fundoplications and pyloroplasties, and my fear of them hasn't changed. I could end up with dumping syndrome, diarrhea for life, or a leaking pylorus that would require me to have a gastrectomy anyway. Even if everything goes perfectly- and with my luck this seems improbable- the recovery from these procedures is still very long and very difficult.
But right now I'm in a unique position. Because my stimulator surgery was so expensive I've fulfilled my health insurance out-of-pocket maximum deductible for the year- meaning I get free healthcare until the end of the year. We have a high-copay, high-deductible insurance plan (which sucks), so squeezing as much healthcare as I can before the end of the year is in our bank accounts best interest. I can get the procedure done in the next few weeks for free, or I can spend another $3,500 to have it done next year if I take more time to decide. And we don't have that kind of money.
I just want to feel better. But I'm so scared.
My surgery is scheduled for December 4th so that the last real meal I'll be able to eat is Thanksgiving dinner.