Since shortly after the endoscopy and colonoscopy, I’ve known that there were no significant results from the test. I was a bit disheartened by that fact until yesterday, when I saw my gastroenterologist. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good thing that there wasn’t anything wrong, but I wanted to know what was causing the anemia. Because of yesterday’s visit, I may now have my official answer. It was the gastric bypass surgery, but not in the way you might think.
When you have gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon tells you to expect to take vitamins for the rest of your life due to the whole malabsorption thing. This means that you’re not absorbing enough, but that you still can absorb them. What they don’t tell you is that if they mess up, by just a tiny bit, they can make it impossible for you to absorb certain nutrients forever. Iron gets absorbed in the very beginning of the small intestine. If the surgeon bypasses it at the wrong spot, then the body no longer can absorb oral iron…in any form. This would explain why the pills didn’t work and why the liquid iron didn’t work. This would explain why it didn’t matter when I tried to increase my vitamin C (which helps iron absorption) and when I increased my overall iron-in-food consumption, it didn’t do a damn thing. The gastroenterologist told me that my iron and blood count would definitely need to be monitored 3-4 times a year to see when I would need my next iron infusion. These will definitely be a part of my life…for the rest of my life.
The doctor also said that it is possible that there is still something wrong in the bypassed part of my stomach, but (because of the surgery) it cannot be reached by his instruments. He basically said that to get the answers about if there’s an ulcer or something else in that part of my stomach that I would need to get an appointment with a surgeon to let me know. I think my mom sort of wants me to do that. And it would probably be smart to find out for sure, but I’m not certain that I feel entirely comfortable with the idea of going to a surgeon. Yeah, now I’ve finally gotten a little bit more squeamish than I had been. I’m afraid that seeing a surgeon will lead to some kind of surgery, which, to be quite honest, freaks me the fuck out.
So I guess I need to make the decision whether to be “smart” or to let my squeamish side win.
Oh, and my mom and I had sort of a blowout argument while waiting for the doctor. I made a comment about how I wished I could have individual therapy with Debbie again. She said that I might be able to find a therapist in this area that took both of my insurances, which is very, very unlikely. I tried to explain that it took years for me to trust Debbie enough to work up the courage to want to talk to her about what I want to talk to her about. (I’ve known Debbie since I right after I turned 15, even though she’s only been my therapist for a few years now.) She said that I only wanted to talk to Debbie about it because I “want to take all my toys to Debbie so that she can play with me because” I “know that she can’t play” with me anymore. And, yes, she phrased it exactly like that. She thinks that I want to talk about symptoms and shit related to my diagnoses and, while that might come up, that isn’t true. What I want is to talk about something that has been causing me issues for years. And I want to talk to Debbie because I trust her, because I feel comfortable with her. I want to talk to her because I feel like after over 20 years of therapy, I finally have a therapist that I can actually tell things like this to. And, what my mom doesn’t realize, is that I was planning on discussing this issue with Debbie before the Mental Health Center started requiring group sessions, instead of individual ones. This is an issue that, if I could finally deal with it, might help me with my anxiety, trust, eating, anger, and various other issues. So it’s kind of a big deal to me, and I don’t feel like it’s something I could just blurt out to some random stranger who happens to take my insurance.