Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gut Feelings

So apparently one of life's greatest ironies is the dichotomy of my stomach.  I can liquefy bird brains and squirt them out, watch a lobotomy and still be hungry, and watch all fourteen episodes of Trial of a Time Lord without throwing up from the sheer horribleness of it.  Yet when it comes to the actual function of the stomach, mine is definitely on the weak side, and the issue is that there appears to be a plethora of problems.  Starting around junior year of college, I was having a hard time eating a lot of foods, often feeling rather ill afterward.  I also had the effect of certain seemingly unrelated foods shot through my system faster than Jayne running towards free money.  The former would cause some discomfort, sometimes intense, for an hour or two and would include a fair amount of belching, the latter would be done in about 15 minutes and I'd be fine.  I talked to the doctor about it, as Tums wasn't cutting it, and he had me use Pepsid AC and that seemed to work a little better.

Then I got mono in the spring of my junior year.  An odd thing occured.  The feeling of being ill afterward seemed to vanish (although certain foods still tended to trigger the flushing of my guts).  I mentioned this to my doctor, and he hypothesized that my acid reflux was being triggered by a bacteria, and the mono had actually attacked the bacteria as well as my own cells.  It is unusual but not unheard of to have a virus attack two completely different cells.  What was also interesting was that the mono virus went for my liver; it usually aims for the spleen.  More on that later.

Well, over the past year to year and a half, it's been coming back.  At first I was just having difficulty eating yogurt in the morning, which I just figured was because it was too thick.  But it got worse, especially around February where it got to the point where I could hardly eat breakfast and actually culminated with me throwing up after eating.  (Not eating breakfast was particularly a problem, as I t get another chance to eat until lunch and I get HUNGRY).  So I scheduled an appointment with the doctor in Tecumseh.  He couldn't figure it out, but thought it might be a proton pump problem with acids (yay for being a science guy and actually understanding that!).  So he put me on some meds that were suppsed to help.  Other than some really uncomfortable muscle soreness for a few days (a common side effect), they did nothing.  I had to go back anyway for a BSA physical to work NOAC this summer, so I told him what was going on again and he prescribed Nexium and scheduled an upper endoscopy for June 1st.  After having to deal with the fact that insurance would not pay for it and the medicine cost $200 (and I didn't even know if it would work!), I got a generic for a tenth of the price and started that Sunday.  At first, I didn't notice much change...and then guano hit the fan.

Yesterday resulted in greater discomfort than normal, and it continued all night and got even worse as today went on, along with lightheadedness.  Needless to say, this worried me a little so I called the doctor and he told me to stop taking the medicine (I figured that was a given) and I got my upper endoscopy scheduled for May 4th.  Hopefully that will get me some answers as to what the heck is going on.  It's really stressing me out (and I don't get stressed too easily).  I considered taking a personal day this morning because of the stress, but I realized that work has nothing to do with my stress and doing so would a) allow me to dwell on it more, which would not end well, and b) stress me out more with sub plans.  Also, I tend to ramble when I'm stressed, if you can't tell...

One thing that many people have mentioned to me is a gall bladder problem.  Now, I'm not saying that's what it is, but I do have similar symptoms.  What interests me is the possible connection with mono.  (Disclaimer: The following is merely a hypothesis and has not been confirmed by any sort of medical personnel; it is solely based off my own somewhat-more-than-average informed conjecture.)  The fact that the liver and the gall bladder are so closeley linked (the liver makes bile, the gall bladder does what a bladder does best, stores it) is interesting.  Suppose I was developing gall bladder problems due to storing too much bile/letting it sit for too long.  Liver problems arise due to mono and suddenly there's less bile produced.  The gall bladder gets cleaned out as the bile is now needed, and takes a while to reaccumulate to the level it was at before.  Again, that's just a working hypothesis, but I find it interesting.

So anyway, on May 4th I will be put under for the first time in my life (not thrilled) and hopefully I will get some answers from this upper endoscopy.  And I am VERY grateful it is an upper endoscopy and not a lower one.

Also, do not expect many blog posts to be personal, as I prefer writing reviews and stuff, but this one has been nagging me a lot.

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