Liver? Pancreas? Gall bladder? Any Guesses?
Maybe someone in this forum can shed some light on my situation. The doctors I've seen don't seem to have any solid ideas.
The problem: Just under a year ago, I began experiencing mild epigastric pain, just behind the nape where the two halves of my rib cage come together above my abdomen. It's been absolutely constant, barely ebbing or flowing at all, night or day, everyday. Very occasionally, I also experience mild pain to the immediate left or right of the epigastric region, and for the last month, I've been having an even milder discomfort in the mid right back.
About me: I'm in my late 30s, male, a non-smoker, and physically fit. I participate in a variety of cardiovascular-intensive activities on a regular basis and eat pretty well. Not all my habits have been healthful though, I was a heavy drinker for just over ten years.
The tests: I'll start with the two abnormal ones: amylase, and total protein. I've had 4 amylase tests with results of 204, 149, 104, and 112 in chronological order (30-110 being normal). Lipase was normal at 59, 77, 72 over the same period (23-300 being normal). My total protein in two blood draws was also slightly elevated at 8.9 (with 8.2 upper normal) and 8.2 (with 8.1 upper normal). Electrophoresis suggested this was a chronic inflammatory response. All other blood tests including a basic metabolic panel, a hepatic panel, ALT/AST, and complete blood count were middle-normal. Negative twice for H Pylori, negative for Giardia, normal urine tests. A gastro endoscopy found everything was normal except mild non-specific gastritis. A CT scan and abdominal ultra-sound found the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and right kidney all appeared normal. Interestingly, the CT & US discovered my left kidney was shriveled up and useless -- later confirmed by a nuclear kidney scan.
What's been tried: I've tried three different acid reducers at several different dosages, and altering my eating habits to avoid caffeine, spicy food, dairy, and none of it has made any difference.
None of the doctors think the bad kidney is the cause of this pain, and that seems unlikely to me as well. They have all either indicated that they're stumped, or that it's probably just gastritis and the drugs aren't working. I haven't really experienced any other symptoms, except for the month just before the pain began, my stools were really irregular. One day, they'd be really hard, the next loose, the next normal, the next diarrhea. I did have one sole instance during that irregular period where I had what I would describe as the dreaded "pale, clay-colored" stool. But after that first month, I've been very regular with normal looking stools.
Given that the pain is always there, it's very disconcerting! Any ideas?