It's been another two weeks and it's possible (*knock on wood*, *throw salt*, *chant prayer*) that I'm finally on an upswing.
To go back a little, my barium swallow ended up going well. I had forgotten that the disgusting liquid I had to take following both of my surgeries was not actually barium, but some other horrible liquid they make you drink to test for leaks. Barium is much thicker- it's like a chalk flavored milkshake. It is gross, but nowhere near as bad as the other stuff. During the procedure the radiologist said that my wrap looked very tight, but that's probably because the wrap was still so new and my swelling had peaked. My doctor had wanted to make sure it wasn't loose.
Unfortunately about six hours after my swallow (and when it was time for me to go to physical therapy) I started to get horrible stomach cramps and I was in a lot of pain during PT and for the next few hours. I looked online and saw that drinking barium can cause those cramps, so I'm not anxious to do any more swallows any time soon.
Since that time my swelling has continued to go down. I'm still having a problem with very cold liquids and mucous, but I've been able to eat more and more solid food. The biggest problem I've been having is with vegetable skin, or other tiny chunks that don't dissolve in your mouth (like the seeds in tomato soup.) I still haven't (and won't) attempt bread or anything that gets gummy when you chew it, or meat. I've tried tiny pieces of chicken in chicken soups and the result is never good. But the best news? The other night I ate a whole roll of cucumber sushi! It was the best thing I've ever eaten. I'm craving solid food less and no longer burst into tears during fast food commercials. It's made me feel a lot better emotionally, but I'm still struggling with food in the way I struggled before my surgery.
The bad news is that I don't think my Gastroparesis has gotten any better. Now that I'm eating more solid food I'm getting very nauseous again after eating, and although I can't taste my food for hours and hours anymore (the best result of my surgery so far) I can definitely feel it. A few times I've gotten more nauseous after eating than I ever did before my surgery. I haven't been able to get into my post-op appointment but I e-mailed my doctor's PA and she said this is normal. She said that GP can get worse before it gets better after these surgeries and to make sure I'm eating small amounts all throughout the day. As it is I'm having one small-medium sized meal once a day and that's all that's going to happen for awhile. There's too much to do during the day to eat and then deal with the nausea that follows.
To put this as delicately as possible, by lower GI system has also stopped working again and that has been a real pain in the ass (LITERALLY) to deal with. My doctor prescribed me a new medication that will hopefully help. But it's $200 a month (thankfully my mom picked up my first bottle for me) and I'm still worried about things down there. Nothing is going to be easy, that's for sure! But that's life right?