I’ve had stomach issues for as long as I can remember, however in the last 10 years they got severely worse and debilitating and within the last 3 years it got so bad my day to day functions were hugely impacted. In the summer of 2021 it got so bad, where every time I ate I was running to the bathroom in horrible pain and diarrhea. I was waking up in the middle of the night with crippling pain, night sweats and chills and spending hours on the toilet. I finally ended up in the Emergency Room where I was told I had stage 3 kidney disease, and IBS and to follow up with a GI. I was prescribed Bentyl and Zofran that I was taking around the clock to try to live a normal life, but every few days or so the pain would come back. When I finally got into a GI I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy where I found out I had numerous issues with my esophagus but all my stomach “issues” were still being chalked up to IBS and Gastritis.
Fast forward to June 2022 where I had surgery on my esophagus, a Laparoscopic Toupet Fundoplication, which left me with a shortened LES. I was having a lot of complications after surgery every time I ate, I developed dumping syndrome where large amount of sugar enters my small intestine all at once which my body absorbs quickly, and then my pancreas releases an excessive amount of insulin which then in return leads to very low blood sugar levels aka Reactive Hypoglycemia. Every time I eat I develop severe hypoglycemia within 2-4 hours.
I finally got established with an endocrinologist and after numerous tests and scans and my amazing team of doctors combing through my medical records I got answers to all the pain I’ve been in all these years; chronic pancreatitis. Upon finding out I had chronic pancreatitis, I also found out I had EPI, my pancreas was no longer producing the enzymes that I need to digest food and ultimately as a result of the permanent damage to my pancreas and I was diagnosed with type 3c diabetes.
My case is vastly different from most, I still have my pancreas although I am in the process of learning if I’m a candidate for a total pancreatectomy and auto islet transplantation.
My day to day life, I struggle to keep my blood sugar elevated. I do not take insulin, but I do have to take a digestive enzyme replacement called Creon every time I eat, and I take glucose tablets throughout the day to keep my blood sugars at a safe levels and Glucagon injections.
I truly believe that if I was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis sooner, I wouldn’t have been diagnosed with EPI and Type 3c Diabetes because of the permanent damage it caused and how bad off my pancreas is now.
My biggest reason for sharing my story is so others remember to advocate for themselves! You are your biggest advocate, and know your body better than anyone! I know it can be scary, doctors are supposed to be “on our side” and have all the answers but sometimes it just takes finding the right doctor to listen to you!