On November 12th, I had an EGD performed. Gastritis was detected, but no ulcers or other abnormalities, and a biopsy test revealed no H. Pylori is present. In the absence of any other clues, including no gallstones and no gallbladder inflammation or infection, the GI performing the EGD warned me to ease off the NSAIDs (like Aleve, which I use only for more severe headaches/migraines and very rarely as an alternative pain reliever for hip pain or joint pains that may have inflammation) and consider gallbladder removal if my pain episodes continue. He didn't seem very tolerant of my many questions, despite the fact that my case is not clear-cut for gallbladder removal. So I sought out another GI for a second opinion.
Last Monday I brought all my test results and questions to the new GI and he was much more helpful to me. He listened to all of my symptoms and concerns and agreed with my opinion that gallbladder surgery seemed not to be the clear answer to my problems. Not only that, he actually commended me for being "proactive" about my own health and bringing all my documentation with me. This is how doctors should be! (Special thanks to my niece for recommending him to me.)
Anyway, his best guess for a diagnosis right now is functional dyspepsia, which he explained can be quite common for people who also have IBS or/and Fibromyalgia. It is not the same as IBS, which I have dealt with before, but much like IBS, it is a condition that turns out can be difficult to live with, but is not likely to cause permanent damage. He is having me try some acid reducing medication (Dexilant), since my pain seems to be more on the stomach side rather than one the gallbladder side of my upper abdomen.
I was also given a pamphlet called "Gas and Flatulence Prevention Diet" which discusses foods that can cause gas in some people, and the science of bloating, which can get ridiculously severe during my pain episodes. There is a breakdown of various foods by groups that can be problematic, but each person is different so finding out if any of them make my problems worse is going to take some trial and error. The doctor suggested I try to eliminate one food or food group at a time and see if there is any change either with elimination or returning it to my diet. He made sure I understood that he was NOT suggesting avoiding all the problem foods at once, or else I'd have pretty much nothing left to eat. Looking at the list, I see why. It seems the only food group that isn't listed as a potential troublemaker is lean meat. I'm documenting my diet and symptoms, so I can look for new patterns I may have missed.
Lastly, he suggested that I try to eat smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding large meals. The reasoning behind this suggestion is that some people, especially sensitive folks like us fibromites, don't tolerate the sensation of the stretching of the stomach well, and it can feel painful. To minimize on the stretching, I could try grazing little by little throughout the day. It's hard to have half a meal here and there, especially if you want something hot, but I understand the logic and am glad he gave me so many options and ideas with explanations.
He left me with one last bit of advice before my next appointment: find a way to cope with stress and my annoying symptoms so I don't slip into a constant state of worrying about the next flare up. I believe he was talking specifically about the abdominal pain, but I know this is also important to keep in mind for the rest of my Fibromyalgia symptoms and life in general. I do what I can with journaling, blogging, and reaching out to others in need, knowing I won't always have it all under control. There are days when the symptoms just pile on and I get downright cranky or fed up, especially when I have to miss work and get behind on my duties at the office, but the reality is that I'm stuck with much of this bad luck and need to buck up and do what I can to find my own happiness wherever possible. I'll definitely keep working at this.