Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gut Stunts

So I called the doctor about the GERD and diffuse abdominal pain that has been haunting me since Thanksgiving.

And their staff couldn't seem to grasp what I wanted.

1. Better medication for the short term.

2. GI referral for the long term. Time to get scoped and imaged out the wazoo.

I sense I confused them.

"What have you been doing to deal with it?" they asked me, I suspect trying to wrap their minds around how someone can walk around with a complaint for so long.

All I can say is they must have better experiences with health care than I do. Also, I know there are no gallstones and ultrasound imaging was normal as of early 2010. I'm weird like that. Paying attention and sh*t.

If they knew precisely how long I've dealt with this pain, off and on, they'd probably hang up on me. This has been going on since I was in my 20s, only just becoming daily in the past year. Ignoring it is a pretty ingrained habit at this point.

It was not until the GERD blew up in conjunction with intensifying pain that I paid attention.

GERD I can't ignore. It is pretty much the worst pain I have ever known. Worse than labor (lots of things are worse than labor FYI, like the stomach flu, seriously). Because of GERD, I understand why people kill themselves due to pain.

If every day of my life was GERD on a rampage? I don't know if I could do it.

Prior to GERD meds, my parent had many ER trips for stomach pain. They vomited daily. They couldn't sleep and now they are pre-cancerous. Prilosec etc... came to late for them.

Medication has worked for me for 16 years.

Why has it stopped?

More importantly, is there any way we can get to where eating chocolate is not an act worthy of Evil Knievel?

Right now things are slightly better, but there are a lot of rules I have to follow to hold it all together. It's time to figure out what is going on.


  1. Too bad chocolate dilates the lower esophageal sphincter (as do cucumbers). I trained at Hershey, PA where chocolate was in charge, so we had to understand it better than my friends back at Ohio State.
    Hopefully, you got an appointment with your physician to start the next round of exploration. Best wishes for resolution of your pain.
    Dr J

  2. Cucumbers? I did not realize that. I eat one small one a day right now. Although it doesn't seem to be a trigger...right now.

    I have been thinking about making cucumber salad, but am afraid to introduce that much acid into my stomach.

    In my experience, once the Gerd Dragon rises, no food is safe. Not eating isn't safe. There is just fire.

    Thankfully I have some control again.


  3. "lack of a cohesive and relatively valid narrative" is what I call this phenomenon of how to describe the symptoms and your need for help now.

    By "relatively" I don't mean "more or less", I mean specific to the particular perspective at play (e.g., the health care provider) and by "valid" I mean that in a subjective sense, e.g. what the health care provider won't immediately dismiss/invalidate.

    It is something I struggle with in many different areas. Work, family, doctors.

    With docs, I've found I sometimes fare better in a face to face appointment than over the phone. I also have found the key terms "change in character" work well. As in "yes, I was diagnosed with reflux when I was 13. I had gotten pretty good at controlling it with diet and medication. But since the Fall, it's been totally out of control and none of the strategies that used to work seem to help at all. I kept thinking I could get it under control if I tried harder but I'm at the point where I really have tried everything and nothing is working. The pain is worse than it's ever been and the symptoms are just constant now." With some docs, this works. Some are just unmitigated boobs and no amount of spoonfeeding the narrative is going to help. Those are the ones to walk away from, in my estimation.


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