The Upper GI and Lower GI Was Fun

By | January 21, 2015
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Lower GI EndoscopyBefore I was diagnosed with pancreatitis I remember a really fun day in Doctor Langdon’s Clinic, at least I think it was there I had an upper GI and lower GI. That was like my third upper GI and only lower GI, anyway …

I think the lower GI was what they did before they developed the colonoscopy. They knock you out for a colonoscopy but they didn’t for a lower GI. I was wide awake for the whole 9 yards. But first let’s talk …

Upper GI

Ok since I had both the upper and lower Gi they did the upper Gi first but I had to prep for both so that meant fast and blasting. If I recall correctly (it was a long time ago) I had to fast for like 24 hours, take laxatives and then powerwash my intestinal tract with a hose (enema bag). The old fast n blast. Then I had to drink a gallon of this chalky crap called barium when I arrived at the clinic.

Once I got that down they escorted me to some room filled with equiptment, had me lie on a table and started taking pictures of my upper torso (upper most intestines, stomach, esphogus) while I squirmed into different positions as instructed. Except for drinking that nasty chalk shake it was’t to bad. This wasn’t an upper endoscopy like they do now so I didn’t have a tube stuffed down my throat, yet. Dr. Langdon did an actual upper endoscopy later. Right after the upper GI was completed they took to another room for the …

Lower GI

lower giNow like I said earlier the lower GI test wasn’t the same as a colonoscopy and at that time they didn’t send you to dreamland with drugs. So …

Once I was in the room I was asked to get on another table. They mentioned something about prepping my lower intestines with barium. Then …

Someone spread my butt cheeks and jammed a tube up my ass. Then they began to blast that liquid up into my lower intestines. After a couple minutes of flow from their hose I felt like a bloated whale about to explode and the nurse said I had to hold it in! Then they pumped up what felt like a huge butt plug in my fart box and started taking pictures of my intestines. There I am so full of barium I felt like exploding and they said turn to your left? Then turn to your right. Now lay face down. Now roll over onto your back. I felt like a pregnant dog doing tricks! And what was found?

Nothing! But that’s a good thing because that meant I didn’t have an obstruction or cancer that they could see clearly. How they could see clearly with all that barium packed into my intestinal tract is a whole different story that I believe is taught in medical school in the radiology department.

10 thoughts on “The Upper GI and Lower GI Was Fun

  1. Jody

    Okay, Health Guy, that made me laugh, and I’ve been having a hard time laughing because I’ve been having symptoms all week. I’ve been throwing so many supplements into my tummy that I’m not sure what to think. I’m still trying to decide about the gallbladder surgery. I saw a second GI doc who said 9/10 would tell me to have it out, BUT there is no guarantee that I won’t get pancreatitis again. .??? I was also told that it doesn’t matter whether you have a little bit of sludge or a lot of sludge. Sludge, apparently, is sludge. Also, I wanted to ask you where on your site do you explain why fat is our enemy. I’m trying to understand the mechanism that of how fat in the diet doesn’t work off us anymore. Sorry to be redundant.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Jody sorry you are ill but I’m glad you were able to laugh. I was hoping people would find my story about the lower GI funny. It was so long ago I forgot some stuff and remembered after I published it but, oh well. Unfortunately …

      Once you’ve had acute pancreatitis there is no guarantee that you won’t experience the pleasure again. I’d say about 90+% of folks will have more than one occurrance because once that little piece of meat has been damaged, even slightly, it seems to hold a grudge. I could be wrong. I’d go with the sludge is sludge thing. It doesn’t take much to cause a world of pain.

      Jody you brought up a good question or point. I have never explained why fat is the enemy. It was simply a deduction. When I took fat out of my diet I felt better. When I ate fat I didn’t fair so well. so I simply deduced that fat isn’t good. Even doctors don’t know why. A low fat diet also helps those who suffer with SOD, sphincter of oddi dysfunction. Again, doctors have no clue why it just does. Those who have gallbladder disease do much better on a low fat diet because fat stimulates bile flow which can cause the GB to spew stones and/or sludge and like fat does with the pancreas it inflames the gallbladder when the gallbladder is not 100%. So …

      To give you the exact reasons that fat inflames the pancreas or the mechanisms involved I am not able to explain that because I don’t know. I should probably try to find some research that sheds light on that particular subject. I may do so in the future. I apologize for not having a proper explaination. I just found the proof to be in the eating. That is where that food diary comes in handy. 🙂

      1. Alissa Sarbiewski

        Hi Health Guy,
        I had acute pancreatitis in 2003 after an ERCP and I have had intermittent attacks since, but was only just diagnosed about a month ago with CP. I wanted to tell you (although it won’t be surprising to you) that I have been following your 25 grams or less of fat diet and using a food journal. My pain is almost non-existent! I had no idea what or how to eat and was having a horrible time with the conflicting advice. Anyway, I’m really thankful that you take the time for your blog/website because it has really helped and probably kept me out of the hospital. Thanks Health Guy!

        @Jody, From what I understand, If there is a high level of fat/triglycerides in your blood, it can cause a pancreatitis attack because your pancreas is probably already damaged so therefore is not able to digest fats well and pancreatic enzymes are necessary to digest fats. I don’t know how decent my explanation is, but that is how I understand it, but of course I am not a medical professional so I could be wrong 🙂

        1. The Health Guy Post author

          Alissa you are welcome and I am glad to hear you are feeling better! Hang in there, stick to the diet. You might want to start the supplements too. Hopefully you’ll continue to heal and feel much better in short order 🙂

  2. arcturus

    Dear Health Guy,

    First of all, thank you for this awesome page and your shared experience. You sir are a life saver. I have shared and translated bits and pieces from your page to my family and folks who might need this info, not just as a recipe to get better but as an excellent prevention material.

    Now, I’d like to lay out my own personal case. So far, I have not been diagnosed with pancreatitis.

    However, 5 years ago (I am 35 now), I had a 3 month long nausea spell after a traumatic episode (a good buddy, only 32 at the time, discovered he had gastric cancer and died in a matter of weeks). Since the nausea never seemed to went away, I had an upper endoscopy and, nasty surprise, was found to have atrophic gastritis, a kind of chronic gastritis that also can predispose to gastric cancer. I was put on reglan and ommeprazole generic derivative, but those didn’t do much for me. I was nauseated whatever I ate, but no pain whatsoever. This went on for months. Reading online (i’m a phd, but not a medical doctor), pubmed and similar sources, I came across data regarding vitamin C, its role (lack) in gastritis. So I have taken large doses (1g several times per day), and lo and behold, after the first dose the nausea went away and never returned. I didn’t know then what you know now about vitamin c and pancreatitis.

    However, I have developed slight traveling pain in the left upper part of my stomach, which I dont even notice if I sit or lie down, or walk. However when I change positions or stand or sit straight, it slowly comes on. This may or may not be a skeletal/muscle issue, I don’t know, my gp thinks it is not significant. I also have occasional anemia, which might point to absorption problems.The pattern of anemia changes, sometimes it looks like b12 anemia (which would imply stomach issues) and sometimes like iron defficiency (low hematocryte). Question is, where do these problems come from, the stomach or perhaps the pancreas.

    You see, after 4 additional endoscopies, I am now diagnosed with chronic gastritis, not the atrophic kind. I don’t have nausea or pain. It’s like my stomach has repaired itself quite a bit, and thats a good thing.

    Recently, a week ago, I started to have soft, mushy stools, sometimes brown, sometimes orange or dark yellow (I also have Gilberts, which might or might not account for occasional yellow), following a day where I had a burger, and the next day I had some calamari in olive oil. Since then, I have almost constant urge to go to toilet, and the stools are quite different from my usual constipation like pattern consisting of small peblled stool or well formed, cracked bananalike stool.

    The reason I write all this is, after reading extensively on the subject, there seems to be a number of people who develop chronic pancreatitis and gradually lose the ability to process food, without telltale symptoms such as great deal of pain (so far only slight aching), vomiting (have never vomitted!), fever (never had fever!).

    Regarding potential pancreatitis, over the last 5 years I had 4 regular ultrasounds done by pretty experienced doctors from the university hospital in the city where I live, they have found nothing, no scarring, no cystes or calcifications or irregularities of any kind. They think my pancreas is in perfect working order and looks healthy, and that I don’t need additional testing. My gallbladder was also found to be normal and working properly.

    Also, I had my complete blood count and enzyme analysis done when I had nausea and afterwards. My enzimes (especially amilase, lipase etc) were never elevated and hover in the middle of the range or even to the low end of the normal range.

    I also had colonoscopy due to familiar history of bowel cancer (my dad is a 20 year survivor, so is my uncle, however I lost an aunt and a grandmother to it), it was all clear and I’m not due another next five years. I had celiac tests done, and all were negative too.

    I don’t drink (used to drink very moderately and only on weekends when I was younger. In the last six years, maybe 10 beers or shots in total and never had any visible reaction to them, immediately or later). I have never smoked.

    What do you think? I know you’re not a doctor and I’m not asking for a medical opinion, I’m just wondering does this sound like potential pancreatitis? If it does, I plan to continue vitamin C, add grape extract and curcumin (already got it) and stick to low fat diet. I’m sorry if I posted this on the wrong part of the blog.

    Thanks for everything you’ve done and continue to do.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Arcturus, sorry to hear you have had some difficulty over the last 5 years. I don’t think it is pancreatitis (I could be wrong) but I do think (because you have 5 or 6 telltale flags) you should be retested for celiac disease and be sure to quit taking the vitamin C (and other supplements) about a week or two prior and eat heavy gluten meals before you test. The tests are only accurate when a person is eating gluten filled foods. Vitamin C may have created a false negative because it has been shown to help protect and heal the villi in the small intestine. Vitamin C along witht he other supplements (grape seed and curcumin) eliminate inflammation and that may also have something to do with whether test results are positive or negative.

  3. arcturus

    Forgot to add, seems like gastritis and pancreatitis sometimes go hand in hand, which only goes to show how the digestive tract is not merely a bunch of independent organs but very much interconnected and interdependable.

    Also, regarding celiac testing, I’m not sure how precise and reliable it is. I had long ago established that going gluten free relieves me of much of that stomach ache, so perhaps this has caused a false negative, I might get checked again.

    Also, forgot to use current mail address, this is the actual one.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Arcturus … Ok, now, since you just said you have been gluten free or eliminating gluten and feel better and that you tested AFTER doing so, NOW I really think it sounds like celiac disease and your tests showed a false negative. I’d suggest you get retested after dumping the supplements and gluten free diet. You may have to bear the symptoms for awhile but you need to be tested while you are actually symptomatic and eating a gluten rich diet.

  4. rqmedes

    Something you can do that will reduce the load on your pancreas is to chew your food for as long as you can. If you have ever tried the Ayurvedic method of oil pulling which is basically swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes and then spitting it out, you will find out just how much saliva we can produce. Every time I have done this my mouth has been completely full of saliva. Chewing your food for as long as you can will produce lots of saliva. Saliva contains several of the same digestive enzymes that the pancreas creates, Lipase and Amylase being the ones of note. Salivary Lipase which digests fats is even more potent than the Lipase created by the pancreas. IF we chew our food for longer then this will reduce the load on our pancreas


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