Dealing With Undiagnosed Tummy Troubles
So you might be wondering where the heck I have been. At first, I considered not addressing what has been going on because I’m not looking for sympathy but then I realized that part of this blog is about allergy friendly recipes BECAUSE of my tummy troubles.
So, I decided that putting it out there was not only necessary because it’s part of why this blog exists but also because some of you might be dealing with the same issues.
With that being said, where do I start? If you have been reading along for the last year or so, you’ll know that I’ve been having a lot of issues despite being gluten free, dairy free and on a mostly low histamine diet.
I was diagnosed with SIBO by my GI earlier this year but still had persistent bloating and pain despite altering my diet. For the most part, I had just been living with it and dealing with it the best I could until this past Monday when I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. At around 2 AM I woke up in horrific pain to the point where I decided it was necessary that I drive myself to the ER.
Upon arriving at the ER they drew some blood, did a CT scan with contrast only to reveal that my entire upper abdominal area was nearly bursting with fluid. In fact, it had been sitting there so long that some of it had turned into fecal matter (yes, super gross). I was told I had two options: 1. vomit it up (um, ew) or 2. put an NG tube up my nose, down my throat and into my belly to decompress my stomach.
Despite being deathly afraid of foreign objects being shoved up my nose, I was more interested in getting rid of the rotting contents in my stomach and opted to go for it. Um, let me tell you that in no way, shape or form was it pleasant but after having nearly 800 mL of fluid pumped out (that’s a lot, by the way), I felt MUCH better.
Actually, I only felt much better once they finally took out the NG tube about 12 hours later only to be told that I was going to be put on an NPO- nothing to eat or drink diet until further notice.
Honestly, I wasn’t really hungry but that NPO diet was ordered for the following day as well and I was worried that I might shrivel away.
Finally, on Wednesday, I was put on a clear liquids diet which literally consisted of broth and popsicles…hooray.
Meanwhile, I slowly was having test after test performed to get to the bottom of WHY I wasn’t digesting food. The endoscopy showed inflammation but NO ulcers. The x-ray showed LOTS of backed up poo in the colon but NO reason why. So the doctors decided a Small Bowel Follow Through was the next logical test and I was put back on an NPO diet until the test which was scheduled for Thursday morning.
I was hopeful that this test would actually give me some answers. Thursday morning I was escorted down to the X-Ray room, drank a crap ton of barium and did my best not to throw it up while they took a series of x-rays of my small intestine over the course of two hours.
Later that day I was disappointed to find that the test came back negative. It showed nothing. Still, the doctors had two working theories.
- There were some sort of adhesions somewhere caused by my c-sections that were the source of the pain.
- It may or may not be my gallbladder despite my blood work and ultrasound coming back negative.
While I was curious to find out why, I was also getting tired of sitting in a hospital bed and couldn’t bear the idea of sleeping there for a fourth night. My back ached, my head hurt and despite the fact that I couldn’t tolerate food yet, I felt like I was starving to death due to eating practically NOTHING since Sunday.
SO, against the doctor’s medical advice, I checked myself out of the hospital and headed home – jail break style!
As of right now, I still have very few answers and will be seeking a second opinion. In the meantime, I am going to go slow with my food intake and do my best to stay hydrated.
Anyway, I will be sure to update once I follow up with another doctor. If you find yourself in the same position that I happen to be in, here are a few pieces of advice:
- Don’t give up. Not knowing the source of your pain is BEYOND frustrating and having doctors dismiss your pain is even more frustrating. That being said, you shouldn’t have to live in pain – it is not normal despite how many times you’re told there is “nothing wrong”.
- Advocate for yourself. I’m by no means telling you to consult Dr. Google but do your own research and find out what tests are available. Don’t just hope your doctor will offer them as an option to you, request them!
- Don’t be afraid to get a second and even third opinion. As time consuming and as frustrating as it is, it’s important to have more than one pair of eyes looking at your symptoms and hopefully one of them will be able to piece together the bigger picture. My nurse even suggested going to a teaching hospital since there is always more than one doctor looking at your case, that way you might end up with an actual diagnosis instead of being dismissed.
- Start a journal of your diet and track which foods make your symptoms worse. Any and all information that you can give to your doctor will help them to rule out what might be wrong. You should also find foods that you can tolerate and that soothe your symptoms – ginger being one that is great for alleviating nausea.
These Honey Crystal Candied Ginger pieces help me tremendously. I made them a while ago and have found that they’re great for not only making me feel less nauseous but also double as a sweet post-dinner treat!
- 5 oz piece of fresh ginger root (or 1/3 lb)
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup Nektar Naturals Honey Crystals
- Peel ginger root and slice into 1/8 inch pieces using mandoline slicer and place into a saucepan along with water.
- Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to simmer and cover and cook for approximately 35 minutes.
- Drain all but 1/3 cup from the pot and add in honey crystals. Set over medium to high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly until most of the liquid has evaporated and it looks dry- approximately 20 mins.
- Transfer ginger to a cooling rack. Once cool, store in air tight container for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe adapted from Food Network.
Welcome back to our weekly Foodie Friday link up! I’m linking up with Farrah from Fairyburger and Esther from Chocolate Runner Girl . Also, make sure you hop around to check out all the amazing recipes in this link up and feel free to add your recipes as well!