Autoimmune Dysmotility and Me: Part Four

It probably was a good thing I was running late for appointment and not left to my own devices too long – I rushed into the Esophageal Institute and sent immediately back for my procedure. Thus, I was too distracted to contemplate just how fucking big the pill was that I was going to swallow.

<Insert all your jokes here …. I’ll wait>

This was yet another test in my quest for answers to my health challenges. As a reminder, dysmotility is a condition where the muscles in your digestive system (in this case, mine) do not work as they should. Food doesn’t get from the mouth to where it is intended to be in the manner that it should.

GI SmartPill
For reals …

So my latest test involved a GI SmartPill – essentially it is a capsule that monitors PH, pressure, transit time, and temperature throughout my entire GI tract. It transmits data to a receiver I have to wear 24/7 close to my abdomen.  It passes naturally within 3-5 days.

The most difficult pieces were the swallowing which I aced, fasting from midnight until 6 hours after the swallowing, and remembering to carry around the device. While I was in Ann DeWitt’s office (the esophageal dietician), she confirmed it had moved through my esophagus, then through my stomach, and into my lower GI. So any sensation of a big clump of something stuck in my upper GI was psychosomatic or due to some other cause.

This test will help pinpoint where the dysmotility begins, particularly if it is in my lower GI – hey, the gastroenterologist who get me on this path said it was likely a lower GI issues with autoimmune properties. In 2019. This test and actually no test will determine if it is an autoimmune disorder, but that’s probable based on everything being ruled out. It just seems to take forever to do that.

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They also checked my weight and it is exactly the same as two weeks prior. That’s good – no more losses. But I have been very intentionally ingesting calories even when I feel uncomfortable so I suspect that’s the reason I didn’t lose more weight during that time period – the yogurt, jello, soup, cereal foodapalooza offset the progressive weight loss. I’m following Ann’s advice and ordering extra cheese on my one slice of pizza and drinking more pop because the carbonation promotes motility.

On the down side, I’m still struggling with clothing. My winter coats are huge so I took the plunge and bought a new cute winter coat online. And it was big on the top, fine on the bottom, and tight in the middle because my abdomen is swollen. I’m going to see our seamstress to discuss if it can be salvaged. Sigh. My therapist suggested I invest in maternity clothing that’s designed to fit this exact body shape. I just can’t contemplate doing that right now.

So up next is another endoscopy and the implant of a ‘Bravo’ device – basically a clip attached to my esophagus that measures Ph levels for 48 hours, then slowly detaches and sees itself out so to speak. Again, I have to wear a monitor. I agreed to this test because they pressured me. I had an endoscopy in the spring that was fine, so fine that the gastroenterologist told me I didn’t need another one unless I developed symptoms. He told me I did not have GERD, never had GERD and also I have no signs of cancer. So now we are redoing that test and everyone keeps talk about GERD.

Frankly, it pisses me off. If Dr. Blair Jobe has such faith in surgeon Dr. Michael Babich who performed the first test, why do I have to have another? They can’t give me a good explanation except the Bravo needs to be implanted and I don’t honestly understand why that’s the case. My suspicion is that they are going to keep circling back to GERD because they don’t have other answers.

I was assured that there is a lot unknown about the GI system and that it is possible I have dysmotility stemming from my lower stomach and beyond. But they told me they ruled out … I mean, see how frustrating this is?

But for now, I have my path set out for me through December 2, 2021. I hope.


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