The test itself was easy. I arrived at 6:15 am and was given a scrambled egg with radioactive dye in it. Yum. First of all, I do not like eggs, and secondly, the thought of eating radioactive dye was unappetizing. But this was not a restaurant. I was there for testing. My health was at stake.
After ingesting the egg (yuck), they took a picture/image of my stomach every 15 minutes. How long it took the egg to digest and leave my stomach was what they were measuring. This shows how efficiently the muscles and nerves in my stomach are working.
After the first picture I asked the technician how long it takes a person without gastroparesis to digest and move the egg into the small intestine. He thought about 60-90 minutes to digest 50%. 60-90 minutes to digest 50% of the egg? I become obsessed with these numbers.
Back out to the waiting room I went. In between the photo shoots of my stomach, I had to hang out and wait. Waiting is not one of my strong points. I admit it. I hate waiting.
15 minutes seemed soooo long. I had brought a book to read but that was not going to happen. 15 minutes….
15 minutes! Time for another picture. At an hour, 25% of the egg was gone. 25%? Well, at least some of it was gone, but would I hit 50% in 60-90 minutes? Doubt set in. If it took an hour to reach 25% would it take another hour to reach 50%? That would be two hours which is longer than 60-90 minutes (the normal time).
I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out percentages and time tables.
Why was I trying to control the outcome? Why could I not let go?
Because I was darn scared and did not want to be told that my stomach was not working properly. Did it go even further than that? Was I afraid of neuropathy affecting my stomach and then who knows what next? Liquid diets? Feeding tubes? My heart? My legs? My life?
That was the core of it. My life. I was afraid the quality of life would go downhill, and even more importantly, I was afraid of death. Dying.
No one was even talking about death. No one had mentioned it. But somewhere amongst eggs and pictures of my stomach, I was thinking about dying. Dying from the disease that I had tried so hard to manage over the years.
Stop it. I had to get control of my emotions and feelings. I was not dying. I was here. Able to walk, eat, talk, etc. I was breathing. There was nothing I could not do. People not too far away from me were in the ICU fighting for their lives. And here I was worrying about something that had not even been diagnosed. What was wrong with me?
15 minutes were up again. Time for another picture. One hour and 15 minutes had passed. Would I make the cut off based on the number the tech had given me? The picture was taken, and I was told to wait another 15 minutes, and then they would see how much I had digested. Why couldn’t they just do it now. See how close I was to 50%.
It had become a game. The number game. Having diabetes is a number game. What is my A1c? Bloodsugar? Basal? Bolus? Carb count? It is a number game all day long. So why should this be any different?
I had to switch my focus. My kids, my husband, my wild dogs. I had so much to be thankful for today. Forget about tomorrow. All the wonderful memories started popping into my head. I wondered what they were doing right now? Getting ready for school and work?
During all this (those last 15 minutes), an inner peace came over me. Even though I still wanted to know the numbers, I was no longer anxious. Death had left my mind. The numbers game was slowing down. I sensed no matter what, it would be okay.
I can’t really explain what triggered the inner calm. Thinking about my family? Realizing how important right now is? I don’t know. But somehow it set in and relaxed me. I, also, started thinking about my life with diabetes. We had our moments, but overall, it was good.
With the inner calm came a feeling of control. I felt in control of my life at this moment. I was the driver and no one could take that from me. As I write this, it almost brings tears to my eyes.
No matter what diagnosis is made, this is my life. And I can choose how to live it. Very powerful.
15 more minutes were up. 90 minutes had passed. Would I make the 50% mark? I went in for the photo. When done, they made me wait again. A few minutes later they came back out and told me I had digested 50% and could go home.
Sooo..does that mean I do not have gastroparesis? “Not necessarily”, they responded. Apparently, the radiologist needs to review all the images and times and then write up an assessment. He makes the decisions and forwards them to my endocrinologist.
48 hours until my endocrinologist will receive the results. That is Sunday so I should hear something on Monday. Means I have to wait a little longer. But that is okay. For some crazy reason, I am at peace with waiting. Don’t get me wrong, I still want answers and impatience will probably sneak up on me again. But for now, Monday is cool.
That feeling of inner peace is still with me. No definitive answers, but I hope and the believe that it will be okay. My mind has calmed my body down. My thoughts have become positive. Let’s hope this lasts awhile.
I leave the hospital and decide to go do what I love best (besides being with my family) – exercising. Why not? Continue on like any other day. Live my life. Do what I love. Soak it all in. Live in the moment. And find out the results on Monday.
I will keep you all posted. Have a peaceful day!