Day 14 – Dear Diary

Dear diary,

Day #14! YAY! I’m so proud of myself for doing this for two weeks and missing only 1 day! I was very skeptical that I would be able to keep this up for two weeks.  I have enjoyed this series so much that I have decided to keep going till I run out of things to say.  So that can be years!

Today was a great day to rest and take it easy.  I was going through in my head, what I should talk about tonight.  My husband suggested a topic and I really liked his idea.  I know that tonight I can only go through small amount of my experience. I will  do more  in-depth posts soon.  The topic tonight is one word…….DOCTORS.

First and foremost, I have no hard feelings towards any of my past doctors.  Many did the best they could at that time. And please remember this is only what I experienced and my side of the story. So it all began…..

My first experience with a doctor and pain was when I was, after many years, diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis and Ulcerative Colitis. It took about 6 years of me in excruciating pain daily and one doctor that wouldn’t give up on me.  Dr. Hansen was amazing, I just wish I met him in the beginning of this journey.  But I made it through it and that is all that matters.

The pain started about 6 months after my wedding in my first marriage.  My grandfather had died, which was hard on me,and I lost my job right before I got married.  I started having pain on my right side, most of the time it was under my rib cage and shoot to my back. I thought that I was just under a lot of stress, being newly weds, lost of a job and a death in the family are all about the highest on the list grief stages.  In the beginning I could eat and the pain would come about a half hour to an hour after I ate.  Most of the time, it didn’t matter what was the meal, healthy or unhealthy, it would affect me the same way. Pain on the right side, and nausea. I started to cut out bad foods from my diet and try eating lighter.  This didn’t affect my pain and nausea at all.  I carried a bottle of Pepto Bismol with me at all times and drank it like it was the best thing in the world. I would go through a bottle in two days.  I was in and out of doctors and every one of them would tell me I had a nervous stomach and/or stomach ulcers.  You see, my maternal grandmother had 1/8 of her stomach when she passed.  Her doctors would take out the parts of her stomach that was full of ulcers.  I thought that was exactly where I was heading, until I found Dr. Hansen.

Life pretty much changed 180 degrees when I met Dr. Hansen. He was my 5th doctor that I had seen for this issue and by the time I met him, I couldn’t keep anything in my system at all.  I would vomit anything I ate. I was losing weight constantly.  I was grey looking and I had no energy at all.  Dr. Hansen took one look at me, and admitted me to the hospital.  I remember that day very clearly. It was a Friday afternoon and making the walk from his office to the hospital was torture.  As soon as my mother and I walked into the admitting area, the poor gentlemen that was admitting me, must have thought I was about to die or something because he made one call and two nurses hurried in and sat me in a wheelchair and off they went with me. In the room they were trying to put the IV in my but I was so dehydrated that after the 3rd try, the nurse called the IV team to put it in me.  The other nurse ran to get the meds that Dr. Hansen ordered and they did everything in their power to make me feel better.  It was that long weekend in the hospital that my life changed and it was due to one doctor.  I was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis,  I spent the entire weekend in the hospital, heavily sedated and thrown through a long list of test. With all the test that were done, the next best option was to put me on the “B.R.A.T.” diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) and see if they could send me home to get strength and feel better.

After a few more months of test, Dr. Hansen still didn’t have a positive test to show that my pancreas isn’t working.  Every time I would tell someone in the medical field that I had chronic pancreatitis, they would look at me quizzically and asked “how long have you been drinking alcohol” and when I answered that I don’t drink alcohol at all, I could see the doubt all over their face. It was that way, and still is when I give my medical history.  It wasn’t until I started looking into my family history and found out that my maternal grandmother had chronic pancreatitis, and Dr. Hansen knew exactly what needed to be done.  But before he jumped in and sent me into surgery, he took my case file to a board of doctors fits or  Colorado Gastroenterology and it was a unanimous decision that I need my gallbladder removed.

I had my gallbladder removed on May 6, 1999. When the surgeon got in and saw my gallbladder, he knew they made the right decision but found a surprise that no one would have guessed.  My bile ducts are mis-shaped and instead of being in a “Y mine are in a circle.  So instead of the food leaving the gallbladder and traveling to the pancreas, mine just keeps going round and round.  So my pancreas doesn’t work properly.  There isn’t a fix or cure to this, this is how I will always be. Lucky for me it’s been a few years since my last episode of pancreatitis.

Why the long story?  I feel that this is an amazing story about how my doctor didn’t give up or throw in the towel ever.  Did he get frustrated, of course.  Did he tell me he was completely stumped. Yes, because he was an amazing doctor that didn’t just throw medications at me and think that would shut me up.  Dr Hansen actually cared about me and truly wanted to help me.  It can make a world of difference if the right team isn’t on your side through your medical history.

Doctors are human and sometimes they don’t know exactly what is going on but not giving up on a patient can change the outcome in so many ways.  Find that doctor that wants to be on your team and one that wants to go through the good and bad, no matter what.  Find that doctor that takes time listen, truly listens.  Dr Hansen would take an amazing amount of notes every single visit with me. He would then read me everything he wrote.  Not once was I ever rushed or treated poorly.  And you know, I actually wouldn’t get nervous going to see him. I knew he wanted to help and I knew he cared about me. Unfortunately, Dr Hansen retired from medicine.  But he was one in a million and that’s the energy you need to use to have someone like that being your cheerleader.  They are out there.  It might take to the 5th or the 15th doctor but they need to be on your side!

Until tomorrow………………………………


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