Monday, September 21, 2015

Into the Tube

Just before Labor Day weekend, I was carrying groceries into my house.  As I bent over to put them down on the floor, I felt my whole insides shift.  It didn't feel good and made me nauseated.  That was followed by pain in my abdomen, like little knives sticking me and a general achy-ness.  Anytime I had to bend, that happened.  I had to hold onto myself to roll over in bed.  And the big fun - acid tummy (and reflux) like you wouldn't believe.  I had to sleep sitting up.  Tums didn't help.  Nothing seemed to help.  I had a few very fitful nights of sleep, I can tell you!

I called my doctor the day after the holiday and got worked into the schedule that day.  I've had instances of abdominal pain for quite a while (though nothing like this) and it wasn't ever consistent.  He looked back through my history and palpated my belly.  He said enough was enough and he was going to schedule a CT scan for me.

I showed up for my appointment on Wednesday, but there was a problem with the machine, so I was rescheduled.

Friday, I turned up again (fasting).  I got to drink down two large (pints) containers of the barium which tasted like vanilla flavored Pepto-Bismal.  Abysmal is more like it.  Hideous stuff.  When I'd finished that off, I was led back to a bathroom with a lovely warm hospital gown waiting for me.  Wish there'd been instructions too.  Putting it on felt like a test I failed.  After putting it on, I crossed the hallway to where the CT machine was.  I climbed up on the table and they put in an IV for the contrast after a couple of non-contrast scans were made. 

Getting a CT really isn't a big deal.  I'd had one before (though not for the abdomen).  The table slides in and out of the scanner and I have to hold my breath when the machine tells me to (about 15 seconds). 

But the abdominal CT is different.  First the barium drink, then the contrast which makes you feel like you're wetting yourself and your mouth tastes funny.  And finally, an enema, which wasn't as bad as I feared.  I actually didn't feel anything except the urge to go.  There were a few more trips in and out of the tube and then I could get up to get dressed.

I spent a little time in the bathroom before emerging and went to work.  Piece of cake, I thought.

Nope.  A few hours later, my stomach started gurgling and my whole belly hurt.  Moving hurt.  Apparently the barium is hard on a tummy.  I went home early and spent the rest of the day on the couch - and the whole day after that.  By about 4, I was feeling pretty human again.

Next time, I'll be more prepared and just take the whole day off.

I'm glad to have had it done though.  They get a look at everything from the lungs down.  Now I just have to wait until they're done looking and call me with results. 

The possibilities:  hernia (internal), stomach cancer, diverticulitis, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, pancreatic cancer, intussuception (which I had as an infant and apparently if you have it once, it's not unusual to have it again), cysts...  there's a lot going on in the abdomen so the pain could be almost anything.  The one symptom that seems to be missing from a possible cancer diagnosis is weight-loss.  I don't know if that rules it out or not.

Basically, I'm not worrying until there is reason to worry - and will try not to worry then either because worrying is pretty much a waste of time.  I do want to know though, so that I can take whatever action is needed as soon as possible.  Wish me luck, ya'll!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Love letter to Larry

I'm not sure how many years ago it was that I first got into Larry.  It's been a long, long time though.  My friend Kelly introduced us and it's been wonderful ever since.  Larry knows my likes, dislikes and preferences.  Larry knows I hate mustard and am allergic to raw tomatoes.  Larry has been a steadfast companion for so long, than when anyone ever asks me where I disappear to during lunch, I always say "Larry's!"

Don't freak out.  I still love my husband, but I've been having a love affair at lunch for years - with Larry's Giant Subs.

At first, it was the sub combo.  Medium Animal (ham & turkey) on white with mayo and lettuce.  Fritos and sweet tea.  Then the sweet tea became unsweet with Splenda.  My "usual" for YEARS.

When I went gluten-free for a while, I'd drop by and pick up a container of chicken salad or egg salad for lunch.  

Now that I'm watching what I eat in a serious way, my order has changed again.  When I really feel the need to bite into something, I order a turkey club on a spinach wrap (no mustard, no tomatoes).  When the biting urge isn't so bad, I have the chef salad.

And then there's the soup...  my favorite is Jambalaya Thursdays (A hearty Creole classic that features long grain white rice, tender chunks of chicken, smoky sausage, ham, onions and green bell peppers simmered in a tomato-infused chicken stock seasoned with chili pepper, garlic and oregano) followed closely by Crab & Cream Bisque (Sweet firm crab meat, Old Bay® seasoning and a splash of sherry come together beautifully in this unabashedly indulgent bisque. Finished with a flourish of fresh cream).  The crab isn't there on a specific day, so it's always a pleasant surprise to find it on the soup board.


What I really love (besides Michelle and April, who are almost always behind the counter making the sandwiches) is that I can still visit Larry's and not feel like I'm totally busting my diet.  It makes a difference in feeling successful at this weight-loss thing if you can eat out like a normal person and still be able to make good choices.  The fact that the good choices are actually GOOD is a bonus! 

Thanks for being there, Larry.