Wednesday, June 30, 2004

personal update 30 june 04

My health has been significantly better for the last couple of weeks... the various teams of docs seem to be converging on some sort of remedy. Pain is still high, but I think if I can break any link in the chain the other bits will mellow out too, so I have hope, which makes me uncomfortable because there's been so many hopes dashed by what, 50 or 60 doctors in 4 years? Despite claims from both sides that western medicine and 'alternative' medicine have nothing in common, I think western medicine is faith-based healing (most of it isn't even science, per se... it's statistics: we tried this on 100 people and 15 of them got better while only 3 of them died, so let's call this the cure and move on), and I've become something of an apostate.

Anyway... the GI doc has me on anti-cramping meds that work reasonably well (i.e. I can usually walk now). I had two radio-isotope tests done which were in themselves inconclusive but my subjective experience during those tests (one of the drugs they gave me caused a [well, THE, actually] stabbing pain in my side, and it shouldn't have done that, shouldn't have been able to do that) makes my surgeon eager to remove my gallbladder... he says he's removed them from numerous people that had pain (and no indication of gallstones), and overall the operation has been successful. Some people have no change, a few get worse... I'm keeping this operation down towards the bottom of the list, being somewhat leery of injudicious removal of body parts, but the diagnosis jives with an earlier celiac plexus nerve block I had which showed that the pain was definitely coming from one of my organs, so the lines are converging.

The only part that bothers me is that this does nothing specific to address the anomalous pain on the other side... but it's a sort of non-specific pain, and it could be crossed wiring or saturation of pain neurotransmitters or even something psychosomatic my brain cooked up in an attempt to balance out the signal load. Which brings me to my shrink...

This guy thinks (well, he thinks a lot of things, an astoundingly small number of which have any applicability to me) that maybe, just perhaps, it might be possible that I've got a stress->pain->depression->stress etc (rinse and repeat) cycle going on. Of course, I already knew that going in the door, which is why I was there in the first place. For this the guy went to med school? Doc, I want you to take a deep breath and realize that this is me firing you.

I've been less depressed lately, partly the result of determination on my part to fight this, and partly because I've been talking a lot with old friends (and newer ones, too... people that live within a couple of miles of me that I haven't seen in a year because I was in too much pain to get out of bed). There's a lot of healing and a lot of joy in this.

Every couple of days the effort to be physically active and fight the depression lays me out for a day, but overall I'm much better than I was a couple of months ago.


Blogger krishna said...

It’s nice to know that you are feeling better and a solution seems to be in sight for your problem. I agree with you that it is not advisable to go in for extreme measures like gall bladder removal. A friend of mine had a small, benign tumour on her spinal cord for the past ten years. She used to limp while walking. Her doctor told her that it is due to the tumour. Last month, she went to a Nature cure hospital and there, the doctors diagnosed a swollen disc and started treatment which included Yoga, physiotherapy and so on. Her gait has improved and she is now able to walk longer distances. It may be worthwhile to exhaust all remedies (and even try out alternate medicine) before going in for surgery.
Have a nice day!
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