Friday, 14 January 2011

Scarred for Life

In the last few days, I've had some pain in my upper-right abdomen, apparently the liver. With the unusual doses of hormones I'm on, liver stress is a real possibility, so this kind of thing can't be left too long.

My regular GP isn't available until February, so I saw my alternate. Good value, by the way, and clueful about IS issues to a much higher than average degree.

Anyway, he examined my abdomen for the first time. I'm used to the reaction whenever a medic does that. I have quite a scar, from bikini line to breastbone, where I was told they were going to take my gallbladder out. That's all.

His eyes widened when he saw it.

Yes, it's in the wrong place, and also the wrong orientation, and also at least three times too big, even for surgery circa 1980. He even asked me if I was sure that my gallbladder had been removed, the pain I had was consistent with a gallbladder problem.

It was - they even gave me the gallbladder-shaped mass of cholesterol and calcium carbonate that they'd removed from it, it was absolutely full of matchead-sized stones, all fused together. Ultrasounds in 2005 confirmed a distinct lack of gallbaddery substance.

It looks like the problem is adhesions, my abdomen appears to be full of them, even now. I'm getting another ultrasound to be certain, but the pain has diminished considerably, and the type of pain is consistent with the pain I used to get. I thought that after 32 years had passed, the problem would have resolved, but he told me that as long as I had the scar externally visible, I'd have the same kind of thing internally too.

The pathologists reports of exactly what structures were removed from my abdomen back in 1979 are missing. Not unusual in cases where someone's internal anatomy doesn't quite match their external appearance. It was thought at the time that informing the patient would risk causing serious psychological damage.

Previous ultrasounds of my abdomen in 2005 showed no clue - everything's healed. I just have some scars internally that will be there till the day I die.

The Joys of Intersex.


Carolyn Ann said...

Wishing you a speedy recovery, and I hope it's a temporary thing with your liver.

Nicole said...

Best Wishes Zoe!

Anonymous said...

Feel better soon, Zoe!


svelte_brunette said...

Wishing you all the best, Zoe. I hope that whatever it is they have more effective ways of treating it now.

Big hugs,


M Italiano said...

feel better Zoe

Ronnie said...

Hope your liver (and all the rest of you) recovers very soon. Take care, Zoe.

Supreme_Martian_Overlord said...

You've made too positive an impact for the world to afford to lose you so look after yourself as best you can! Hope you get well soon.

Zoe Brain said...

Thanks so much everyone for the good wishes. Symptoms have completely vanished, but I'm getting an ultrasound tomorrow anyway, just to confirm the preliminary and tentative diagnosis.

Some of the alternate possibilities are not so good, and swift detection of some of them could greatly increase the chance of a good prognosis. (Ok from 1% survival to 5%, but that's still a fivefold increase).

Calie said...

I do hope all is OK, Zoe.

Calie xx

Zoe Brain said...

Results of Ultrasound: some fatty infiltration of the liver (it would be surprising if there was none, my whole cholesterol metabolism is awry).

Otherwise the known anomalies haven't changed, and everything is disgustingly healthy.

Yes, I did have to explain to the radiologist why such things as ovaries, womb, and cervix (and gallbladder) were conspicuous by their absence; but the scar told its own story.

My "weird and funny looking" adrenals they already know about.

None of the real nasties that it might possibly have been are in evidence. It's worth far more than the $250 cost to know that.