Ice Chips & Christmas

Dear Friends,

I finally had my ERCP last Thursday – the procedure I had to repeat (after an incomplete try in October), and then wait six weeks for. Anyway, it went smoothly this time. I had no moments of consciousness, knowing there was a tube down my throat causing panic. The Good news is the positive outcome….no auto-immune liver disease or cancer. The cause for my attack and hospital stay in September was another pesky gallstone in the bile duct. I’m SO grateful for this diagnosis.

ercp Nov 29 2018

I will say though, that if you’ve had your gallbladder out, know that gallstones can appear in the bile duct, which can be dangerous. If the bile duct becomes blocked then the bile stays in the liver making it sick. Not a good thing. I’ve learned a lot since my daughter’s auto-immune liver disease diagnosis six years ago. Things I never cared to know.

Anyway, they kept me overnight for monitoring, so I was home in the comfort of my own bed late Friday afternoon. Since then, I had some unpleasant after effects, but I’m feeling better now. To rest and eat lightly are doctor’s orders for a couple of weeks. I can do that. 🙂

Image result for chicken noodle soup

What remains surreal is that I’ve endured similar symptoms my daughter experiences with her disease. Maybe it’s the mom in me that has to truly feel the pain my daughter feels. I don’t know, but it’s very strange and coincidental. I have to add again that all of this is non-alcoholic related. Gallstones can cause havoc! 

Needless to say, I’ve lost momentum for blogging, and at this point, I’ve decided to take December off from WordPress to focus on a little “me time” and the Christmas season upon us. I will miss all of you, but I’ll look forward to returning in the new year refreshed and invigorated. Wow, 2019! Time, she is a flyin’!

So, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year full of new adventures, possibilities, and lots of Love! Lauren ❤🎅🎁🌲

Xmas 2017

Photo #1 – my hospital stay
Photo #2 – Google
Photo #3 – Copper during Christmas 2017 (my dog) 

P.S. I also have to express how grateful we are for the outstanding team of doctors at Kaiser. 

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Fingers across the keyboard

Dear Friends,

This is a follow-up to my last post on Sept. 19th, and I’m typing as thoughts pour out, so this is more raw than edited. As you may remember, I’ve had a medical issue that landed me in the hospital over a month ago, and I’ve been anticipating a procedure that hopefully would’ve brought answers. Well, the procedure was last Thursday, an ERCP. It’s where a tube passes through the mouth, esophagus, and stomach into the first part of the small intestine. Then a catheter goes into the bile duct to detect causes for high liver enzymes (all non-alcoholic related), severe abdominal pain and jaundice. The doctor injects a dye so that x-rays can be taken of the biliary ducts. I’ve provided an image below if you’re interested. 

Image result for bile duct and liver anatomy

Surprisingly, the doctor (a bile duct expert) couldn’t get the instrument all the way down, in fact, barely down at all because my common bile duct is so scarred. I’ll spare the gory details, but long story short, it was incomplete. This means I have to repeat it next month. Honestly, when he spoke to my husband and I after I had been in recovery and I found this out, I felt depressed. I felt my shoulders drop, knowing, first of all, that I still have no answers, secondly, he still can’t rule out some scary diseases (one of which my daughter has), and thirdly, I have to do this procedure again. 

Everyone was so nice, though, and I’m grateful for an awesome team of doctors – doctors who we know because of our daughter’s experiences. And my doctor was genuinely disappointed with the turnout. But he’s also performed enough of these that he knew when to stop trying before causing complications. I thank him for that.

So, the symptoms I’ve had can be caused by gallstones in the bile duct (gallbladder is out), Primary Schlerosing Cholangitis (PSC, the auto immune disease my daughter has), or Bile Duct Cancer. I admit to being scared and have had some emotional moments. I hope it’s just stones, which are dangerous alone. Any of these causes affect the liver because if bile isn’t taken from the liver through the bile duct into the small intestine, the liver then becomes “sick” and begins to fail. Liver failure is fatal. For PSC, the only cure is a liver transplant, which is what we’re anticipating for our daughter in the future – a future that holds so many uncertainties. 

So why I am blogging about this? I don’t know. Maybe part is to bring awareness to the bile duct and how rare some medical issues can be involving it. Until our daughter was diagnosed, I didn’t give the bile duct a second thought. Nor my liver because I’ve never been a big drinker. This whole thing has been surreal – the fact that I’m experiencing everything similar to my daughter’s symptoms. She doesn’t drink alcohol at all, so it’s just an auto-immune disease that chose her. Ask anyone who knows me..I’m a lightweight when it comes to drinking. So, it’s all a case of being unlucky just like those who are diagnosed with cancer or some other horrible disease.

The upside to sharing what I’ve been undergoing is that in spite of the continued anticipation, the unpleasantries of another ERCP, or fear of the unknown and known, for that matter, life goes on. I feel better physically, although my throat still hurts, but it’s better than yesterday and the day before that. My mindset is healthier, and that doesn’t mean I’m not realistic either. The outcome will be good news or it will be daunting news. Regardless, I want answers. I want to know what’s going on inside me. However, I’m not trying to burden you by posting about this. Maybe what I’m going through will resonate with someone and be of some help even in a small way.

Selfishly, though, I ask for your ongoing positive thoughts and prayers. And I thank you for reading this longer-than-planned post. 🙂

Image result for moving forward

Moving forward with hope in my heart and love for my family and friends who have provided tremendous support. Lauren xoxo
p.s. The title of this post is credited to my son.
p.s.s. Both images are from Google.