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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Avatar universal

chronic Pancreatitis, or worse?

Hi,
About two months ago I began experiencing lower back pain with fatigue, along with abdominal discomfort below my left rib cage.
The pain has gradually worsened, with a lot of stomach cramping and pain in my sides and my back. It's not constant, but sporadic and annoying. Also, my stools began to float as well, though with no apparently discoloration. No jaundice.
Weeks ago, I had a spiral CT Scan which showed nothing abnormal, and my amylase/lipase blood tests have come back as normal, stool samples ruled out parasitic infection, and my doctor has flat out told me he doesn't believe it's pancreatic cancer, as that's my primary concern considering the symptoms.
That said, from the information I've read, Pancreatic cancer is often hard to diagnosis and small tumors can be missed on CT scans.
I'm just looking for advice from anyone familiar with the symptoms of chronic pancreatitis, or PC, who might be able to offer any advice. I've got an appt w/a gastro. in December but that's pretty far away, and in the meantime, I feel kind of helpless as the abdominal/back pain, floating stools, and fatigue aren't going anywhere.
BTW, I'm a 30 year old male, non-drinker, vegetarian, and quit smoking cold turkey three months ago.
Any advice would be so helpful.
Thanks for your time and help,
Nick
5 Responses
Avatar universal
I forgot to mention, one of the oddest symptoms have been these painless muscle spasms - in my arm, leg, wherever - they started around the same time as the other symptoms. Anyone with CP have any knowledge of this?
Thanks! M
Avatar universal
If it were chronic pancreatitis, usually these symptoms would be noticed in conjunction with eating rich,  high fat, greasy foods.  Things like a good steak, a fried chicken dinner, etc.  You would notice that there was pain and discomfort after shortly after eating, or within a few hours.  The floating stools indicate some malabsorption, which is a problem with chronic pancreatitis, but other digestive diseases as well.

I'm sure you have already read here that many people with chronic pancreatitis don't always show elevated amylase and lipase levels, nor does anything always show in a CT-scan.  If pancreatic cancer is your concern, a Ca19-9 test can be done to check for this, but you don't appear to have all the symptoms, which I've pasted below.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PANCREATIC CANCER

INCIDENCE

Pancreatic cancer is now the fifth leading cause of cancer in the United States for both sexes and appears to be increasing in number, as the population grows older.

RISK FACTORS
Cigarette smoking
Alcohol consumption( particularly beer)
Gallstones
High animal fat diets
Diabetes mellitus

SYMPTOMS
Abdominal pain, vague, dull, middle of abdomen, occasionally going through to the back.
Weight loss with loss of appetite, occasionally with an aversion to meats, and a metallic taste in the mouth.
Diarrhea
Weakness
Vomiting
Jaundice
Abdominal mass
Migratory thrombophlebitis( reoccurring leg and pelvic vein blood clots
GI bleeding
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How does high fat food affect you?  Have you experienced any nausea or weight loss?
Avatar universal
Hi,
Thanks so much for your reply.
Since the symptoms began, I've really cut out most of the high-fat food I was eating. A few times I've eaten high-fat things, I have had diarrhea/bloating. But the abdominal/back pain has been fairly consistent, regardless of what I eat. I've familiarized myself pretty well with the symptoms of PC, and have learned that some people show no or few symptoms prior to diagnosis, and that my symptoms are similar to those of pancreatic cancer. My doctor believes that, due to the clean CT scan, bloodtests, and my age, that the risk of pancreatic cancer is nearly non-existent, despite my symptoms. Honestly, that kind of dismissiveness just worries me more.
One thing to add, is that about five years ago, I was also experiencing some upper left abdominal aching, similiar to that which started this current bout of symptoms. That was a dull, consistent ache, had an upper GI done which was negative and the symptoms eventually went away. As I'm into the third month of dealing with this, haven't had any such luck!
Anyway, I'm just pretty freaked out at the moment, and looking for advice. Thanks very much for taking the time to write back!

Avatar universal
sorry, I neglected to answer your last question - I haven't experienced any weight loss or nausea so far.
Avatar universal
Hi there.  I was just discharged from the hospital today.  I went to urgent care with major pain in my stomach.  The pain was below my breast bone and below my right rib cage.  The pain would also radiate to my back.  I had these symptoms off and on for about 6 months.  My doctor ran test after test and finally gave me some Aciphex to take daily for acid reflux disease.  The pills did help some but not enough.  When I had these attacks my symptoms would be excruitating pain in my stomach, profuse sweating, heart beating extremely fast, vomiting, diarhea and I would feel almost as if I was gonna faint.  Well urgent care sent me by ambulance to the ER.  I had pancreatitis and gallstones.  My gall bladder had to come out.  I stayed another couple days in the hospital before the surgery.  I was given IV and ice chips only.  The surgery was done Monday night.  I have 4 small holes from the surgery.  One in my belly button, one below breast bone and two others on the right side of my stomach.  I am still a litte sore, but if I never have that pain again it was definately worth it!!!!  I spent only 5 days in the hospital.
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