Gut feelings

So today, as many of you will know, I had another gastroscopy. Apparently, it was longer than I thought since my last one – two years, the supervising doctor said. Whether he’s rounding up I’m not sure – I know my last one was in February, but was it 2008 or 2009? I’ve had this condition so long now and seen so many doctors about it that it’s little wonder all these GP and hospital visits are blending into one.

Anyway, today’s was much longer than last time for some reason. And more painful. Unlike quite a few others attending at the same time I chose to have it without a sedative. A couple of minutes in I was beginning to regret that decision.

Three biopsies (lower oesophagus, upper and lower stomach) later and I was done. I won’t get the results for those back for another week, but I did find out that my condition has changed somewhat. I know have something known as Barrett’s Oesophagus, a condition whereby the bottom of the gullet develops cells similar to those found in the stomach. Essentially, it’s caused by regular and prolonged acid reflux, and most commonly occurs among over-50’s. Which made it all the more perturbing when, during the operation, I heard the doctor claim that two years between gastroscopies wasn’t really long enough and they’d see me in three.

While in one sense you might think it’s a good thing that they aren’t too concerned with my condition – despite Barrett’s Oesophagus noticeably increasing your risk of developing oesophageal cancer – I do wonder why, given that I’m not anywhere near fifty, and I’m not massively overweight (a little chunky perhaps, but still) why questions aren’t being asked as to why I’ve developed this illness. Particularly given that it’s only really meant to occur in cases where acid reflux has been an issue over several years. My hiatus hernia is a major part of the problem, but there’s been absolutely no suggestion that they might want to try and sort that out.

I guess I’m annoyed at the fact that it’s reached the stage where my condition has been allowed to develop into something potentially more serious. And why it’s taken two years to get to the point where something is being done about it. But is it, though? The suggestion that I merely have to put up with this for another three years and go back for another gastroscopy to see if it’s any worse (and I can guarantee it will be) doesn’t exactly fill me with joy.

So it looks like I might have to look at getting yet another second opinion. Though it’ll be more like the fifth or sixth this time.

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4 comments

  1. That’s rather rubbish đŸ˜¦
    I hate when doctors are so vague and just leave you a bit stumped as to what to do next.

  2. How’s your GP? If you have an even semi-decent relationship with them, I’d be inclined to talk to them about how the procedure went, plus whatever the results are.

    It honestly IS a good sign they sounded so untroubled, even if it doesn’t feel like it. The NHS jump on potential cancers in seconds, so whatever they saw was obviously healthy looking enough for them to feel like they could ease off on the caution a little.

    Thereafter, I’m afraid the only comfort I can offer is that you’re not a unique case in terms of nobody thinking to question why someone in X physical condition should be getting Y medical complaint which usually only occurs in Z.

    All you can really do is relax as best as possible, settle in for a longer than hoped for haul, and keep poking at them till they fix it. Their disinterest isn’t personal: they’re quite magnanimous in their disinterest!

    Do you get much relief from dietary modification?

    Huge hugs. Hell of an ordeal to have to go through, and I remember only too well how frustrating it was to keep having tests, but never getting answers.

  3. Hang in there R kid. Push them. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from the NHS then it’s push them until you get what u need x love u bro x

  4. Rhiarti is correct in that, if they were even slightly worried about the C word, they’d be taking the case very seriously indeed.

    My ex used to work in endoscopy, and my grandmother – who also has Barrett’s – had them done for years, but eventually they basically said “It’s not getting any worse, so you’re probably fine.” It’s a strange illness, from my understanding, that sometimes develops pretty seriously and in other cases lies dormant forever. Of course, the flipside to this is… well, y’know, you’ve probably read my blog and know about the situation with my aunt last year. But then, in that situation, it was a case of it just having never been causing any symptoms, so was never caught. As you’re obviously pretty in-tune with what’s going on, that’s very unlikely to happen in your case.

    The thing with the NHS, of course, is that it’s so criminally underfunded that everyone who works for them is just totally swamped. The NHS is a wonderful, wonderful thing, staffed by wonderful people who simply do not have the time or money to run everything super-efficiently. Unfortunately, that’s the sort of time at which, if you’re /really/ worried (which I’d maintain you probably don’t need to be, despite not really knowing anything about your situation), you’re probably better off considering whether it’s worth forking out for some private consultation.

    Best wishes, either way.


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