Waiting for results of biopsies
Monday, April 05, 2021
I had an endoscopy (otherwise known as "having the light put down") on Thursday and the whole appointment was a bad dream. I won't say nightmare because I guess it could have been a lot worse.
As a back story to why I had the procedure done in the first place: My dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in July 2005 and passed away from it in July 2006. Up until that point I had never heard of such a cancer and we were told by our family doctor it is often associated with Humphrey Bogart who drank and smoked heavily. We were relieved as dad never drank (he tasted beer twice in his life), never smoked and was a very slim and fit man. The specialists were befuddled as to why he contracted this type of cancer and said it was possible to blame it on the paper mill where he worked.
Anyway, I've dealt with GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) for many years. I started out by taking tums and graduated to prescription Nexium. That is why I rarely ever drink alcohol and have never smoked. It is also one of the reasons I am trying to lose weight.
My last endoscopy was 5 years ago and there was some "irritation" that the doctor blamed on the Nexium itself. Talk about irony - you take a medication for one reason and long term use can cause more trouble. Anyway......
I was on the gurney with the IV in my arm on Thursday when in walks the doctor doing the procedure. He is a surgeon (but not the same doctor I have had in the past) and his whole mannerism was brusque and off-putting. First question was how much I weighed and my height. He practically tutted at my responses. Then he asked if I had ever tried to lose weight and I said I had lost 12 pounds since January. He looked at me square in the eye and said that a "mere pittance" wasn't going to help me. I was pretty dumbfounded, to be honest. Then he went on asking me questions about how much I smoke, drink, and take recreational drugs. My answers of "None, rarely and never" didn't appear to win me any brownie points. Anyway, just as they were putting me out, he said "I think the only solution for you in weight loss surgery" and off to sleep I went.
When it was over and we were called back to talk about the findings with him he started out by shaking his head and saying "I found many things" which scared both John and myself. He said he took multiple samples from my esophagus and stomach to be biopsied for cancer.
Then he said he would be writing a letter to my family doctor to recommend weight loss surgery.
He followed that with saying he also is referring me to a thoracic surgeon to have a look at a "very large hiatal hernia" .
He mentioned the stomach irritation and said it was caused by taking Nexium which he increased in the next breath.
Next he brought up the possibility of H-pylori which is a bacteria that can lead to stomach ulcers and cancer, if left untreated.
Then he handed me a sheet full of instructions along with verbal instructions to start eating healthier and to begin exercising. Notice the blatant assumptions made by him? John was fuming by the time we left and I was still very much drowsy from the procedure.
Along with the increase of Nexium, I am to start taking a medication that has to be taken on an empty stomach either 1 hour before I eat or 2-3 hours afterwards. The kicker is I have to take it 3 times a day. Oh, and his parting shot was the new medication is known to increase blood sugar so I was warned again about losing weight before I became a diabetic.
To be completely honest, I feel demoralized about the whole thing. I just received a phone call from my doctor's office making a phone appointment for tomorrow to go over the procedure's findings. I don't know if that means the biopsy report is back or not. I'm thinking if it is, it means bad news as this was a holiday weekend.
I'm at a loss. Do I sign up for weight loss surgery? Do I start taking other drastic measures to lose weight faster? I was feeling relatively proud of myself for losing the weight I had over the past few months but now I'm not sure how I feel. Do I look for a new weight loss program? Weight Watchers? Noom? Ideal Protein? Keto? Cut off a limb?
Of course, all of that is dependent on whether or not I have stomach or esophageal cancer.
I've been told by John's cousin (a doctor) that removing a large hiatal hernia would probably help out my GERD immensely. So that is a positive. I'm worried so much and I don't know if it is needless.
Any positive thoughts are more than welcomed.