Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dumping Syndrome

As much as it's easy to think otherwise, I think that yesterday's case of the atomic butt blasts were caused by nothing more than dumping syndrome. The Wife, The Kid, and our two visiting friends and their three children ate the same thing, and nobody else got sick.

Dumping syndrome is one of the unpleasant side-effects of having your gallbladder removed, which I had done about eight years ago. Immediately after the surgery, I had problems with diarrhea, and it's never cleared up completely. I'll go through times where things are better, and times where things are worse, and yesterday was definitely one of those worse moments.

My surgeon, of course, assured me the problem would clear up eventually. He told me that an unlucky 10-20% of patients continue to have problems, but not to worry. Had he told me that before the surgery, I would have insisted he only remove the stones and not the gallbladder itself, because I'm the type of person that if there's a 10% chance of something lousy happening, it's bound to happen to me.

All I can say is that if someone suggests removing your gallbladder, say no unless there are absolutely no other options. Have them break up the stones with ultrasound, or do surgery to remove the stones but not the gallbladder itself. Even if the stones keep coming back every few years or so, I would rather deal with that than having persistent diarrhea.

I've been told that avoiding certain foods can help with this problem, but I can't seem to figure out what foods to avoid. I've tried avoiding fats, carbohydrates, protein at different times, but it had no effect. I've tried eating more fiber, less fiber, no dairy, increasing dairy, and really nothing changes. I can eat the same thing for days on end and be fine or not be fine.

I've tried supplements, calcium, enzymes, and other stuff, but nothing works for very long. I've pretty much had to learn to live with the problem. Eight years later, I've come to realize that I'm never going to be the same as I was before the surgery. I've learned that if I'm going to travel, I'm well-served by not eating, because if there's nothing in the pipes, then there's nothing to poop out later.

Most of the time the problem doesn't take me out for an entire day. Usually I know if something is going to bother me within a few minutes of eating it. On most days, if I have a problem, I just wait around near a bathroom until things explode, and then I'm fine afterwards. I don't really have much explanation for yesterday, other than I'd been eating a lot of fiber, which had slowed stuff down, and then when breakfast didn't set well, a lot of stuff had to move out of the way so that breakfast could make a rushed exit.

On the plus side, all the hassles with my intestines do have one benefit. Since my tummy troubles can be somewhat unpredictable, I was able to get a note from my doctor to permanently get me out of jury duty.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Talk to your doctor about the low cholesterol medication, Welchol. I've suffered from post-operative diarrhea for all of the last 89 years since my surgery to the point that I either could not work or, could only work sporadically. Nothing worked until my doctor gave me a sample of Welchol. From the first day, my diarrhea stopped. I take it 2x a day. Others take it 4x/day and still others only take it before travel or, dining out. It has made a huge difference in my life.