Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One Foot in Front of the Other

I continue to have the constant ache in my right side that wraps around my back.  I had visceral manipulation yesterday.  Kent found that my splenic flexure was not moving.  He fixed that, and also made sure that the nerves in my abdominal area were moving freely.  When I got home, it was time to run.  It was really hard to get out the door for this one.  It was cold and windy.  And I knew it was going to hurt.  It's really hard to make yourself get started when you know you're going to encounter pain.  And not effort-type pain that results from running hard, but nagging, unrelenting pain that won't stop no matter how slowly you go.  It might be moderate, it might be severe, but it will be there.  To what degree you never know til you get out there.  To be honest, I've started to dread my runs on account of knowing that I'm going to have this abdominal pain, to some degree, every time I get out there.  Eventually, I got myself out the door.

The weather wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.  Except in the wind--that was chilly.  The pain started about a half mile in on the right side.  It was there the whole time, though a bit better at the end.  On the left as well.  Again, another 12 miles survived.  I keep having to run more slowly to get these runs in, but at least I'm getting them in.  Today is a rest day, and I'm glad for that.

I just spoke with my GI doctor who did the colonoscopy--Dr. Spier.  I really like him.  He seems to understand my plight.  Not once has he said, "Well, then, just stop running."  He's baffled by my (interesting) case and really, I believe, genuinely wants to help me.  He was calling to tell me about the results of the biopsies.  He took biopsies throughout the colon--sigmoid, descending, transverse, and ascending.  That basically means he took them from the left side, the right side, and the middle.  The results were somewhat nonspecific, but basically indicated that there is inflammation throughout my colon that is "sub-acute" in nature.  Sub-acute means it's not chronic, and it wasn't actively happening....but that it happened sometime in the last 72 hours.  So, the biopsy results were not normal.  For some reason, my colon is inflamed.  I was surprised it was my entire colon, as I seem to have pain mostly in two or three spots.  So, what does this mean?  Well, this means that this inflammation could be as a result of ischemia, which could be causing my pain.  As in, maybe.  The fact that it's sub-acute, he said, makes it more likely that it is due to running, as I had run the two days before the colonoscopy (a total of 29 miles).  But, the question remains, is that the cause of the pain?  And another question, at least for me, is why on earth did this begin happening after my pregnancy? 

I suppose it's best to focus on the first question, and that's what Dr. Spier is doing.  He is referring me to a vascular surgeon in Indianapolis.  Which one, I don't know yet.  He has to find someone who can somehow determine if this is the cause of my pain.  Basically, he has "dreamed up" (his words) a test in which I can be given some kind of medication that would cause vasoconstriction of the vessels that feed my colon.  If my pain is reproduced, that's the problem.  If not, then I have inflammation in my colon but that's not causing this pain.  So IF we can find someone who can do that sort of test and IF that is the cause of the pain...what next?  He said the inflammation is throughout my entire colon.  Well, I'm not going to go and have my entire colon removed.  He said that we could have the two "water-shed" areas--where I seem to have the most pain--removed, and that would probably make me much, much more comfortable.  And he said the vascular surgeon might have ideas about how to improve blood flow via medications or some other kind of procedure.  So, that's the next step--seeing a vascular surgeon at the IU Medical Center.  I'm worried it will take a LONG time to get in.  I also mentioned that I'd like to see a pain specialist, as in an anesthesiologist.  There is a pain clinic here, and I've read about how they can perform certain nerve blocks to determine from where pain is coming.  If the pain gets better following the block, that's the cause of the pain.  So I'd like to try that.  He's referring me there.

I'll keep trying to figure out what's wrong with me.  For now, I'm taking it day by day.  One foot in front of the other, as long as I can take it.

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