Saturday, June 11, 2011

Endoscopy Completed And A Happy Health Update

In early 2010 I first saw my gastroenterologist, Dr. Tack (who I mentioned in my list of "Winning Doctors"). At that point, I was having almost constant, burning stomach aches, especially after eating. During my initial exam he found blood in my GI tract and assumed I had an ulcer. We agreed that this most likely developed from overusing NSAIDs during a particularly painful period. Although we were able to control my stomach issues with Prilosec and Misoprostol, I still have periodic pain. Dr. Tack has been suggesting an endoscopy for a while now, but the idea of having a scope put down my throat wasn't exactly thrilling. Furthermore, I've been preoccupied with getting my Spondylitis under control, so I decided to postpone the test.

As I wrote about in this April post,  I started experiencing a slew of other problems this past Spring. The hardest symptoms to cope with were dizziness and tremendous fatigue. I could easily sleep for 12 hours a night and then needed several naps throughout the day. I had constant mouth sores and was losing hair in clumps. I felt truly awful. When my blood results showed that I was anemic and had extremely low levels of Ferratin, internal bleeding became a concern. My stomach was also acting up again, so Dr. Tack ordered the endoscopy to check for a bleeding ulcer.
So I had my first endoscopy a little over a week ago and it wasn't as bad as I expected. I wasn't sure if I'd be aware of the scope, but there was an anesthesiologist present who ensured that I was blissfully unconscious. The only part that proved difficult for me was the the IV. The doctor must not have positioned it properly in my vein because, as the medication started dripping, my vein started burning intensely. I was more scared by this than the average patient because of my IV horror story from 2008. By the time I was able to explain my pain, I was out and the procedure had begun. Dr. Tack biopsied several areas of my stomach and upper intestines. Thankfully, the results revealed there is nothing to worry about. Whatever the reason for my anemia, another bleeding ulcer was not it.

I'm thrilled to say that all of those symptoms have essentially disappeared. I've been taking iron supplements and they've made a world of difference. Compared to the fatigue I was experiencing in the Spring, I honestly feel like a different person. Furthermore, my Spondylitis seems to be entirely controlled by a combination of Orencia, mild pain medication, and a gluten-free diet (Knock on wood). This is the greatest blessing I could ever imagine. With my pain lower than its been in years and my new-found energy, I've been making all kinds of summer plans....and keeping them! I know this disease is cyclical and this may not last forever, but for now I'm savoring every moment in this body. 

Thanks for sticking with me, my wonderful readers. I hope you're all feeling well and staying cool during this exceptionally hot June! I love hearing from you all, so please feel free to leave comments or e-mail me at with questions, comments, or just a "hello."


  1. That is wonderful! First no bad news on the biopsies and you have found some of your energy again :-) I know you will use it this summer and hopefully we will be reading about your great adventures...whatever they may be. Enjoy this time!

  2. I also have stomach problems re NSAIDs, I have had 2 endoscomies, and 2 colonoscopies because of extrem anaemia, also a camera pill, all they found was inflamation and damage, but no cuase, again written off to AS. I am on huge doses of iron at the moment as been having too many blood transfusions.I am told this is all typical....Still positive is nothing new and sinister, and blood transfusion or iron does help pretty quickly xxx

  3. So glad you are feeling better!

  4. Happy to hear your symptoms have disappeared! My Ferritin levels are basically nothing...and have been that way for years, however, my H&H seem to hold steady, far, no treatment has been needed. Although I can relate to the fatigue and clumps of hair falling out! Iron supplements kill my stomach, but maybe I should try some new ones?!?

  5. So happy to read this! I love how you sound, too: hopeful, positive, and excited for summer :) How I wish I was joining in on some of those summer plans with you. Keep feeling well my dear xxx

  6. Good news indeed, the best!

  7. Thank you so much everyone...your happiness for me means the world <3