- CASE FILE
Bouts of severe upper abdominal pain lasting up to 30 minutes with no relation to type or amount of food, or length of time since last meal.
ABOUT THIS CASE FILE
I have been diagnosed with GERD, gastroparesis (no diabetes), and a small hiatal hernia. My gallbladder was removed over 10 years ago. Endoscopies, colonoscopies, CT scans, blood tests, EKGs have all found no other problems. My PMD & GI doctors all blame the pain I experience on the gastroparesis, but I am not convinced. I get these attacks of pain, & the pain is rolling, it feels like labor contractions but around where my diaphragm is. The pain is as bad as when I had a baby & as bad as when my gall bladder ruptured. Nothing eases the pain (meds, changing positions, etc.) & all I can do is try to breathe through it. I have had many trips to the ER because the pain is terrifying, but my closest hospital is 45 minutes away even in an ambulance coming it hot. By the time I get there, it has ended & so no one can see what it looks like. Oral pain meds are a waste; they take too long to kick in. It can happen in the middle of the night waking me up. It can happen in the afternoon when I haven’t had anything to eat yet for the day, & it feels very different—more like a stabbing feeling than pressure—than when I have had more to eat than my gastroparesis allows. It can happen 4 times a month, or not for 3 months. My diet is very limited because of my other conditions, so I don’t see how it can be a specific food (have done an elimination diet with a nutritionist). I don’t take any medications I shouldn’t, such as ibuprofen. I have seen a barrage of mental health professionals & have ruled out panic attacks. I have been prescribed fast-acting anti anxiety meds (Xanax, adivan, klonopin) just the same & have taken high doses at the start of an attack with no effect. I don’t know what else this could possibly be & my doctors seem to think the problem is my existing diagnoses. I am medicated for those problems (reglan, Prilosec out to wazoo, Zantac, etc.) & those meds treat the other things well. I have wracked my brain to try & find a pattern of what leads up to these attacks & have found nothing. So I’m constantly afraid of when the next one will come. What if it lasts even longer? What if it hurts even more? What if I don’t go to the ER even though it’s been pointless every time before, & the time I don’t go is when something really bad happens? Maybe my team is right & I just don’t understand my diagnoses well, but I just don’t feel like that’s it; the quantity of reading material I have been through fits the bill for me perfectly... with the exception of these attacks. They are incapacitating & scary. I’m just not ready to give up on figuring this out & hopefully finding some treatment.