Gastric Emptying Study Follow-Up

On the 28th of December, I had a gastric emptying study done. Today, the 6th of January, I had my follow-up appointment with my gastroenterologist. It wasn’t quite what I expected…

First of all, let me explain what a gastric emptying study is. While the way they are conducted can vary quite a bit, the premise is the same: eat some food with a radioactive tracer in it, then get scanned periodically to see how fast the food empties from your stomach. For me, I had to eat some radioactive eggs (more like, one very small scrambled egg), then I could eat two pieces of toast with jelly, and I got a shot glass sized amount of water to wash it all down with. After I ate, they scanned me immediately to get a baseline (see what 100% looked like). For the next four hours, I was not allowed to eat or drink anything at all. Yes, four hours; I sat in a pretty, sunny hallway and read a book for four hours, minus the few minutes each scan took. The scanned me again at one hour, at two hours, and at four hours. After I left, they calculated the percentage of food left in my stomach at each scan, then sent the results to my doctor.

Gastric Emptying Study imaging machine

The scanning machine; I stood between the two giant paddles while they were scanning me.

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Productive Gastroenterology Appointment Today!

Today was my follow-up appointment with my gastroenterologist, and it was an extremely productive appointment! My GI doc is my favorite doctor, by quite a lot. They’re the most awkward subject matter, but they’re always productive and my doc refuses to give up on me. It’s a very refreshing change from how most doctors treat my cases.

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Anyway, the follow-up was in regards to my HIDA scan. Continue reading

Visbiome High Potency Probiotics – Review

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

I am not a doctor! This post is not intended as medical advice. This post is for information purposes only. Before beginning any new medical routine, always consult with your doctor and/or pharmacist. By continuing, you release me (Elizabeth Bulfer) from any and all liability.

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This review is about Visbiome high potency probiotics; specifically, the regular strength capsules.

Why am I reviewing Visbiome high potency probiotics? Well, I’ve been struggling with severe IBS-C (irritable bowel syndrome, constipation prominent) for over 20 years. I’m only 26 years old. My IBS-C problems started very shortly after I started eating solid foods. Apparently, as a toddler, I used to scream and cry in the corner to try to avoid using the restroom. I first got an IBS diagnosis when I was in college, about 2010, but there hadn’t been any other testing done so I actually ignored that diagnosis. Then, just recently, I got diagnosed with IBS-C again. This time, however, I really trusted the doctor and we have done extensive testing for all sorts of other illnesses (and ruled them out). After listening to my history of “bathroom issues,” he concluded that I have definitely been living with severe IBS-C my entire life. You can read a more detailed account in my post: “The Personal Hell That Is My IBS” (warning, it’s quite detailed/graphic and emotional). I’ve only just started to get some semblance of control over my IBS-C thanks to the use of high potency probiotics and an incredible gastroenterologist. Continue reading

Time for a HIDA Scan…

My stomach issues have been slowly getting worse and it’s been very disheartening. The delayed gastric emptying has hit ridiculous levels, and the pain and nausea can be incapacitating after I eat.

The absolute worst episode was the weekend my mother-in-law was in town… Of course, when people are in town, we try our best to not let my health mess with our plans. Becky, my MIL, was here from Friday night until midday Sunday. Continue reading

Experimenting With Treatment

Right now, we’re (my GI and I) experimenting with treatment for small intestine bacterial overgrowth – aka SIBO. I am going to be taking Xifaxan for two weeks, and hopefully the delayed gastric emptying will improve. We’re also going the motility improve.

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He decided to just do the treatment instead of testing first because he didn’t like how many I’ve been thru already, and apparently the SIBO test isn’t very accurate. Xifaxan isn’t supposed to be absorbed into your system much at all, so there really isn’t supposed to be too many side effects, so I decided to just for it. I figure my daily issues are so miserable, I’d rather just try it and hope it’ll help.

So far, I haven’t been too happy: gassy and lots of bathroom trips. My fatigue is also a little wacky, but my period is also poorly timed again. However, my stomach had been marginally better. Hopefully that means it’s been helping.

Minimal Bodily Cooperation, But Still Cause For Gratitude

My body seemed to level back out again, weight wise. When I picked Dan up from the airport, I was still nauseous but it was dinner time and I really wanted a French dip sandwich from Mimi’s Cafe. Instead of only eating half (like usual), I ate about 3/4 of it and half of my fruit bowl. The next day I managed to eat most of my Qdoba nachos for lunch too!

The rest of the weekend I’ve been eating lighter, but I did go back up those three pounds. The nausea is a little more manageable, but still pretty bad. We’ll see what happens this week. At least the rapid weight loss seems to have stopped for now – that was unnerving.

I hope you all had a good weekend.

Nausea and Dysautonomia

Today, Dysautonomia International shared an article to their Facebook  about nausea and vomiting, and how the two don’t always go hand in hand and how they tied to the nervous system. The text that accompanied D.I.’s post points out that nausea is a common symptom for dysautonomia patients.

As many of you know, I have been suffering with chronic nausea for years. Lately, it’s been so bad that, at times, I struggle to eat. That’s actually part of why my GI decided to do the colonoscopy. As of my last appointment, he didn’t believe I had primary gastroparesis, but he did say I definitely have what is called “delayed gastric emptying” which is caused by my whole system running slow so it tells my stomach to stop working. Very similar, but different causes. He is thinking he might do more testing though, later, just to be sure.

I am wondering if the reason my nausea is so bad is because it has multiple causes?

Anyway, I found the article extremely interesting and really wanted to share:

Nausea and Vomiting: Not Always in Sync by Pharmacy Times

The Personal Hell That Is My IBS

Unfortunately, my gastroenterologist is now starting to suspect that my IBS may actually be something more than IBS. I have been dealing with my severe IBS-C for more than 20 years, so this is both not surprising and very frustrating. (Yes, I am only 26. I literally cannot recall a time in my life that I have not been constipated unless I was horribly ill and afflicted with diarrhea instead.) If I was told to name one singular illness that causes me the most negative impact on a daily basis, and that I have to most carefully plan my life around, I would choose my IBS. Yes, above the POTS that makes me so dizzy I can’t think straight, above the fibro that can make a gentle breeze feel like I’m being sand blasted, above the allergies that make my eyes feel like they’re full of sand, and above the asthma that can make me feel like I’m trying to run a marathon on top of Mt. Everest. My IBS literally runs my life and it is relentless.

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(Disclaimer: This post is going to talk about poop, just in case you hadn’t figured that one out; you might not want to be eating.)

What is IBS? Continue reading