Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Inevitable Stomach Blog

In early December, I noticed that my stomach hurt a lot after I ate. I ignored it at first, but eventually it got so bad that I had to leave work in the middle of the day. I went to the doctor, who said I had acid reflux. He gave me a list of forbidden foods and told me to take prevacid. The next morning I ate some oatmeal and herbal tea and promptly vomited it all up. This confused me. Oatmeal should be fine for acid reflux! I went home and ate some toast, and had excruciating pain for the rest of the day.

I mentioned the stomach situation to my rheumatologist, who said it was probably just the stomach flu.

It didn't go away for 2 weeks. I'm no doctor, but I know the flu doesn't last that long. I went to see a different doctor, Dr. Demoui. She ordered some tests. I waited a week and called for my test results. I couldn't reach her so I left a message with the nurse. I repeated this process every day for another week. At this point I was totally stressed because I did NOT want to travel north for Christmas with this horrifying problem. Which is exactly what I had to do, because Dr. Demoui couldn't be bothered to return my calls. I finally badgered the nurse into giving me my "results". The nurse said that Dr. Demoui wrote notes in my file saying I needed to "take vitamins". I asked if I could speak to the doctor directly, because I didn't feel this was a satisfactory diagnosis. I was told she was "on vacation".

At this point, filled with psychopathic rage, I made an appointment wiht a naturopathic doctor. He prescribed me a nasty powder to drink as well as "silica". He gave me instructions to avoid gluten, since, judging from my food journal, the culprit may be a gluten allergy. The nasty powder, though nasty, did actually calm my stomach. I felt pretty good as long as I was very careful what I ate and regularly drank my cup of nasty. However, I still had no explanation as to what is actually WRONG.

So I went to go see a gastroenterologist. He said it sounded like Celiac disease. He tested me for it, even though the he said test may not be as accurate since I had been abstaining from gluten for a couple of weeks. The test came back negative. Then he said it could be related to my autoimmune drama.

Rewind: A coup]e years ago I started having joint pain, and rashes. That's why I go to a rheumatologist. My ANA test came back positive, so now I have to go for testing every two months to "monitor" the situation to make sure I don't like, have kidney failure or whatever. It's never been a major problem. Sometimes my joints hurt and I get a rash, and then it goes away.

But the gastroenterologist pointed out that my last lab results had a MAJOR JUMP just prior to my stomach pain. The jump also coincided with the return of my joint pain and rash. So. It appears that it may be auto immune. The joint pain and rash are gone, but the stomach pain remains.

I am left with many questions.

1) Obviously, I need to know what is causing the stomach pain.
2) If it is auto-immune, why does it help when I avoid gluten.
3) If it is a gluten allergy, why does it hurt when I have an empty stomach sometimes? Can it just be leftover tenderness from prior gluten-induced damage?
4) Why does sour cream hurt my stomach, but not other kinds of dairy?
5) Why do antacids help only sometimes?
6) If it is autoimmune, will they be albe to determine that from the endoscopy?
7) What, exactly, can they determine from the endoscopy?

I am really not looking forward to having a creepy tube stuck down my throat.

Pray for me. Or if you aren't religious, send me good vibes or whatever.

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