Monday, November 30, 2015

Sidelined by illness.... A story of acute idiopathic pancreatitis.

This month brought me a whole new scary challenge!

Several weeks ago I was on a business trip to upper Connecticut and central Massachusetts when things started going awry. On a Tuesday I was a little bit like an acid stomach so I ate a couple tums. By Wednesday I had a full on stomach ache so I started taking some Pepcid. Sometimes on business trips this can happen. You know, planes, rental cars, meetings deadlines, customer dinners, hours in the car going from here to there. By Thursday things just hurt, I didn't sleep, I was feeling a bit nauseated. Nothing I took helped and nothing really made it acutely worse. It just slowly was getting more and more painful. By the time I flew home Thursday night I was a wreck. It was the worse flight of my life. And it was about my 67th or so flight this year! My middle/upper back was spasming, I was nauseous the entire way and generally wanted to just click my heels and be home!! 

By Friday the 13th dinner time I was in the emergency room with a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis. What the hell!!! 

The emergency room personnel went from 'oh you probably just have an ulcer, here is a special cocktail to drink to make you feel better and let's get an ultrasound' to immediate concern with shots of zophran and morphine and a cat scan followed by a MRI the next day.

I was immediately admitted and from Friday night to Wednesday had nothing by mouth. And I mean nothing, not a sip of water, not an ice chip, nothing by mouth. Which actually was strangely ok with me since I had zero appetite. For me not to have an appetite, something was seriously wrong!!! I always have an appetite! For 4 days I subsisted on IV fluids, shots of morphine every 4 hours and Zophran and IV Pepcid. I had no idea that this little gland that sits tucked under your stomach could cause so much trouble! 

After a multitude of tests it turns out that they have no idea what caused my pancreas head to suddenly become inflamed and swollen. I had no evidence of cancers or lymphomas, no anatomical deformities,no alcohol abuse  no immunodeficiency issues, no gallbladder problems and never been bitten by a scorpion. Yes, they actually asked me that! 
So the fancy term for the doctors not having a clue is 'acute idiopathic pancreatitis'. 
Have to love the fancy names for we have no freakin idea!

After going for 96 hours with no food and minimal movement outside the bed they moved me to a clear liquid diet. Think water, broth, jello and that's about it. I got to do this for a day and a half. With the added bonus of let's try to take a walk. Along with a try your best not to vomit, it's bad for your pancreas. 
Getting my hair done after 6 nights in the hospital....

Long story short 7 nights later I finally made it home. I cancelled all thanksgiving plans and my hubby and I just hung out for a quiet holiday of me trying to figure out food again. I still have no appetite, am losing weight, around 16 lbs in the past 2 weeks and eating is now a chore. Something I have to do to try and keep up some energy.

During all of this I found that I have some of the most amazing friends, loved ones and coworkers. I had some of the most beautiful flowers to brighten up my hotel room and I was glad for them. I was too nauseous to read or watch TV so I spent many hours listening to podcasts and staring at my lovely flowers! I had the best visitors to help keep my mind off things! They definitely helped me through my ordeal, I don't even want to think of trying to go through that alone. My husband was amazing. He was there early every morning and all evening. 
Grand baby hugs and snuggles make everything feel better!

Now the road to recovery after an acute bought of pancreatitis can be a long one. A super strict diet of low fat and bland with no alcohol for a while and then we shall see. Right now I still don't have much of an appetite but I'm assured that this too will improve over time. I still have some lingering nausea and some mild pain especially when I lie down. 

Despite all of this I am most THANKFUL that things were not worse! Thankful that they did not find any 'bad' stuff going on. Thankful for all my family and friends who love me, sent prayers and good thoughts my way. Thankful for my life. 


  1. So sorry to read about your ordeal and diagnosis. Glad to hear you're on the mend. Prayers going up for you.

    1. Thank you so much Robin! I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

  2. What an ordeal. I hope you feel better soon and can get back to your normal diet. Grand baby? You look young enough to be that baby's mama. My Corgi has had several hospitalizations for acute pancreatitis, and I've always wondered what she'd say about it if she could talk. So, it was interesting hearing your perspective on the illness.

    1. Thanks Nuz Muz! I see that you are having your own 'health' issues. Take care of that arm!!! I too often think of what our beloved animals think when they are going through things, if they could just talk to us!

  3. So very glad you're on the mend. I was in awe of how upbeat you remained through it all. You are one amazing person.

    1. Wendy, I could not have done it without such a loving support group! And you helped more than you will ever know :) besides, it was all an act... You know fake it until you make it! I was scared shitless...


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