Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I'm recovering from the ERCP. I've been scarce of late, not because I felt great--I've actually continued to have issues with the pancreatitis--but rather because I was trying to work ahead on my books in case I ended up in the hospital after the ERCP. I literally holed up in my office and wrote, pausing only to do what was absolutely necessary for my family.

So I had the ERCP yesterday.I think if I get through today I'm in the clear for ERCP induced pancreatitis. I've been really careful, not eating in order to let my system rest. I finally had some yogurt just now. So far, so good.

You should have seen my face though when the doctor told me every second or third patient ends up with pancreatitis from the ERCP. I didn't realize the odds were that bad. Actually, they're not bad, they are horrible. Really horrible. Wow.

I wanted to leave. I'd actually started to feel a bit better a few days before the procedure.I was even able to lay on my back and eat food, although I still couldn't rest on my right side. It seemed stupid to flirt with such a big step backwards. I wanted to go home.

Instead I stuffed some suppositories up my you-know-what that the doc said had been shown to reduce the risk of pancreatitis.

Then we marched off to anesthesia. They gave me a stress dose which was great. I'm glad we did it. It seemed to give me extra umph. It wasn't neutral, it did have a positive effect.

However, when I woke in recovery I was already holding my stomach and in immediate excruciating pain. They said it was the gas, but I know gas pain (hey, yo, not my first rodeo, guys) and that was not it. I had some relief by sitting up and leaning forward, which is, you know, pancreatitis.

Or my special brand of 'if you touch my pancreas, it will make me pay' pain. Thanks to various medical stuff leading up to the ERCP, I've learned my pancreas does not like to be disturbed. Touch it and I will cry. Like a baby. In fact, I was fighting tears already at that point.

Since they were unimpressed with my reports of pain, I begged to go home where I thought misery would be more comfortable. (It wasn't.) 

So I had pain, nausea and a migraine-like headache for a very loooong time after the ERCP. Because they did cauterize a sphincter, I can't/couldn't take anything really effective for pain either.

Anyway, the results of the ERCP...

Pancreas "drains beautifully"

They cauterized the biliary duct.

And I am so confused.

Can biliary duct problems cause pancreatitis? Google says something along those lines,but there's no definitive internet knowledge. I've looked at the anatomy (admittedly while still high on anesthesia) and can't figure out how that would work.

So did we fix a stand alone problem or the root cause of the pancreatitis?

I have no idea.

Shouldn't I know though?

I love how they dump all this vital medical information on you when you are not mentally competent. If a patient isn't competent to drive or make any decisions for 24 hours (it says that on the discharge sheet) WHY would you think they could formulate intelligent questions or analysis of any information given to them?

I'm not even sure I remember everything that was said!

My husband was there, but they wouldn't let him back so he could hear anything! Which was the whole reason I made him stay for the whole procedure, just so he could be there for that moment when they tell you what was done and why!


I suppose I'll learn more at my follow up appointment in...wait for it...December.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you survived sorry about all the pain!

    From what I know, if th pancreatic duct itself is not an issue the place where it joins the common bile duct and emptied into the small bowel at the sphincter of oddi can cause problems. Generally in an ercp they cut or cauterize that spot to open the area up and improve flow in case that region is causing issues. Other bile duct problems can also backlog into the pancreas. Let us know what they say. Whatever it is I hope it's gone!!


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