I got a celiac plexus block! This was done endoscopically while under anesthesia. The goal of this procedure was to serve as a diagnostic tool for my care team to determine if I would benefit from surgery for neurogenic MALS.
The celiac plexus block worked! Right when I woke up from the anesthesia, I felt a drastic difference. It no longer hurt to talk or breathe. The radiating pain in my chest was completely gone and my stomach pain decrease abundantly. Also, my diaphragm area was significantly less tender. Before the procedure, I was pretty much bawling nonstop but when I woke up, I had the biggest smile on my face.
My visceral hyperalgesia and burning, fiery, piercingly sharp pain disappeared for a few hours which allowed me to eat and drink. Yup, you heard me right, I ate and drank!!
Of course, there was still a good bit of discomfort and some stomach pain likely due to SMAS, gastroparesis, or the fact that I have not eaten in a year. If it didn’t drain quickly enough, the food came back up, but it was 100% worth it to sit and enjoy some food and water. Honestly, it was a bit surreal, and I’m still in shock that it worked so well.
The first food I ate was chocolate ice cream (dairy-free) which is very on-brand for me. Ice cream was one of my absolute favorite foods growing up, and if you look in my family’s freezer on any given day you will find multiple cartons of ice cream.
Perhaps my favorite part though was drinking water. Having the ability to quench my thirst and take a sip of water without the visceral hyperalgesia pain in my esophagus and stomach was magical. Prior to the block, even sucking on ice chips has been an impossibility due to the visceral hyperalgesia pain.
Unfortunately, the relief was short-lived. After just a few hours, the pain started creeping back in and by the next day, it was full-force agony once again. Also, the eating caused an MCAS reaction which resulted in lots of rashes, itchiness, swelling, and flushing. I guess my body didn’t really know what to do when something other than Kate Farm’s formula was introduced.
Although finding the source of most of my GI pain is very happy news, it’s also scary and sad news because it means that I will be needing MALS surgery which is a tough surgery and recovery. Currently, I am both sad and hopeful. I got a fleeting taste of what life could be like if I get this surgery, how can I give up hope now?