Today I saw my GI (gastroenterology) specialist for the first time since September 2013. It has been so long for two reasons:
1. I got caught up with heart surgery and then immediately after that I had a year-long adventure with four eye surgeries. And on top of all that I have been seeing a cardiologist, primary doctor, and now an endocrinologist. So I guess I just was overwhelmed with doctor visits, surgeries, and labs, etc..
2. All of my tummy troubles completely disappeared after my heart surgery so I felt I really didn't need to see the GI specialist anymore.
Back in January my GI specialists office called me and requested to see me. I figured what the heck, I may not feel any tummy troubles anymore but it would be nice to get a clean bill of tummy health from The Man. I made the appointment and today I went in.
Let me take a moment to get you informed of my past health issues. In mid 2011 I began to have bouts of what I thought was heartburn. Very quickly the weekly heartburn attacks became daily and got more and more painful. I had no insurance at the time so I self medicated by taking over the counter heartburn meds and also by changing my diet and treating with apple cider vinegar (a treatment that helped at first but eventually stopped working). I eventually got to the point of not even being able to walk slowly down my hallway without having to stop and rest because the "heartburn" was so painful.
In mid 2013 I got insurance and saw a primary care doctor for my terrible heartburn. She didn't want to do anything at first but double the Omeprazole I was taking. She wanted to concentrate on my diabetes first, and also do a full physical. I went along with this but then kept making appointments with her to bug her about my extremely painful heartburn. Finally she got the hint and referred me to a GI specialist.
The GI specialist did an examination, asked me a million questions, scheduled an endoscopy, and immediately referred me to a cardiologist. I had the endoscopy which showed only mild irritation.
Not long after the endoscopy I had an appointment with a cardiologist. After an EKG, exam, stress test, and angiogram, I ended up having triple bypass heart surgery!
So today I finally saw my GI specialist again. I like him a lot. He has a wonderful personality and bedside manner. He is a doctor who knows his field inside and out. He is highly aware that women have extremely different symptoms of heart trouble than men and doesn't hesitate to take into consideration that heartburn and heart failure often have exactly the same symptoms. If he had not referred me to the cardiologist as quickly as he had, I could have dropped dead from a heart attack at any second. I made sure to thank him for saving my life!
We talked about my tummy. I told him I have had zero troubles since the heart surgery. He was glad to hear this. I did tell him, though, that when I eat my blood sugar doesn’t rise hardly at all until four to five hours later, it is then that it suddenly spikes. He said this could be a symptom of delayed stomach emptying (gastroparesis). He asked me if I have nausea, vomiting, excessive fullness even when I don’t eat much, gas, etc… I said nope, no troubles at all. He was not too worried at this time and said we will keep an eye on it and to continue eating a healthy diet and gaining tighter control of my blood sugar.
My cardiologist is also his cardiologist (and good friend, apparently they went to college together). We talked about my heart, cardiologist, medications, diet, exercise, labs, etc… He informed me that he is going to be retiring and has hired a doctor to take his place when he eventually leaves. I was sad to hear this, it seems every time I find a doctor I really like and think is very good, they leave in one way or another.
He said he is very happy I am doing so well. He wants to see me again in six months to revisit my possible delayed stomach emptying and make sure I am still doing well.
Here’s to hoping my tummy is good…'cause the rest of me sure is falling apart.