When is Dumping Syndrome Not Dumping Syndrome?

Hope everyone had a nice 4th of July Weekend! It started out good. Had barbequed chicken and a few bites of steak along with a few bites of corn, and sweet potato fries. These days things change quickly. Around 8:00PM I started to get cramping on the left side of my abdomen. Pain was dull and diffuse. Lasted about 90 minutes. That duration was consistent with what I read about dumping syndrome. Thought I may have drank to much sugar to stay hydrated on the hot day. Now I understand why the recommendation is Crystal Light. Had nausea but nothing came back up, dry heaves. Woke a few times during the night with cramps and nausea. Felt light I needed a bowel movement but nothing happened.

Friday, Kiley had a college tour of Univ of Delaware. I was feeling okay so went with her and Sue. Ate most of a Nutrigran bar for breakfast and had about 8 oz of diet ice tea. The day was hot but I managed another 8 0z of water as we walked around campus. Stopped at the creamery. It was very good but I realized there was a lot of sugar in that one scoop of ice cream so I stopped after the second bite. As we drove home I started feeling the cramping and nausea again. Still no bowel movement since Thursday morning. Sue and Kiley had lunch at Honey Grow, but I couldn’t eat, any food or drink made me sick. The rest of the day/night was trips to the bath room, nothing but dry heaves and more cramps. Thought I was constipated so took a laxative.

Saturday was no different. Spent most of the day in bed. Ate 1/2 a protein bar, 1/3 a cup of yogurt, and drank a few ounces of gatorade. Lost 6 lbs since Thursday (163). Took another laxative before going to bed.

Sunday Morning, woke at 3:00 AM the pain was getting much worse. After 2 hours, I couldn’t take it any more. Woke Sue at 5:00 AM to take me to the ER at Chester County Hospital. They are part of Penn Medicine so they can access all my surgical related records. Had a brief emotional break down, because I really did not want to be back in a hospital. After about 30 minutes of waiting they took me back for an abdominal x-ray. About an hour later they got me a room in the ER. The x-ray didn’t show anything so they ordered a CT. The good news was that the pain had subsided by this time. The bad news was they brought me about 600 ml of contrast to drink. The first 300 ml in 15 minutes. I’m already nauseous and now they want me to drink more volume in 15 minutes than I normally drink in an hour. Sue coached me along. The bloating was painful. Sue tried to convince me that is was less painful than the cramping but I’m not so sure. After a 10 minute break, I managed the other 300 ml of contrast over the next 40 minutes. For those who haven’t had a CT with IV contrast, they tell you that you might feel a warming sensation throughout your body from the contrast. Lying in the cold CT room with only a hospital gown, I’m wanting that warming sensation, but it never came.

So when is dumping syndrome not dumping syndrome? When it is a kidney stone. Never had a kidney stone, nor dumping syndrome. I was so focused on my GI system and lack of bowel movement, that I didn’t think it would be something else. The pain caused the nausea and since I don’t get hungry anyway, it was easy to not eat. The doctor thinks the stress has caused my bowels to slow down and they should be fine. The stone is small (3mm) and should pass on its own. Not sure if this is because my metabolism has changed or because my diet has changed. Hopefully an isolated incident. Sue was a trooper and stayed throughout the 7 hours in the ER. I did tell her I would be fine on my own and would call when done.

With the stone near my bladder, I no longer have any pain so I’m eating again. The “damage” to weight is done. I will back off on the exercise and try to gain some of it back. Still waiting on that bowel movement, but since I didn’t eat much on Friday or Saturday, it may be a while before things start moving again.

2 thoughts on “When is Dumping Syndrome Not Dumping Syndrome?

  1. Going back to the hospital for anything after a long stay can definitely be a little traumatic. Glad you’re hanging in there. Of note, had a Q on dumping syndrome on my boards.


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