The regular procedure started occupying my calendar after an incident in 2011. I felt weak, light headed, had unusual breath, stomach pain and black tarry stool. I pushed through it for five days before going to urgent care where they explained to me the severity of what was happening. I was bleeding internally through ruptured veins in my esophagus. Since there was a lot of blood in my stomach they used a Balloon Tamponade.
When I went in the first time, they used this incredibly painful contraption, made all the more painful thanks to the ambulance ride across town. I had the pleasure of watching the dried blood get pulled from my stomach through my nose for a few hours. They also gave me morphine, which just makes me feel like I'm on fire.
Since then, bleeds have happened half a dozen times, varying from catching it on my routine endoscopy, to a blood transfusion and trip to the ICU.
There are several versions of an endoscopy. What I will be doing next week is an Upper GI Endoscopy, which means they'll be looking at my esophagus down to the stomach entrance. It's a rather quick procedure typically taking a few minutes, longer when banding occurs. In the US we use anesthetic to minimize the discomfort and make the process faster. Some people will retch regardless,
I am unfortunately one of those people. When you've got a tube down your throat and you begin to retch, it becomes more likely to burst a vein.
But that's probably the best time to burst a vein, since the doc can fix it real quick.
The banding process is interesting. Essentially a rubber band ties off the bleeding vein, causing them to balloon and completely rupture. The residual blood is digested and reabsorbed.
If you happen to get banded, the throat becomes incredibly sensitive, and it's a soft food diet for a few days to a week. So if you suspect you've got varices have some pudding, soup, milk, juice, yogurt at the ready.
I also prep by shaving my face the day prior, while it's not necessary, it does help make sure they don't break your lips, or give ya some hardcore chaffing from the gag.
|an example of an endoscopy gag|
It can also be a pain in the neck, literally. The discomfort from an endoscopy typically sticks with me for four days to a week. If i get banded, it's a week to three depending upon the bleeders and how much i retched during the procedure.
Typically the discomfort goes away quickly, unless you retch a lot, then it sticks with you.
In addition to my procedure next week, i may find out a little more about the future of my treatment.