Monday, May 03, 2010

Disease o' the Week

So I'm a big baby when it comes to any kind of physical discomfort. I don't like pain and I don't like when I have as much as hangnail. There are times when I think I have a great threshold for pain, such as when I'm curled up in a whimpering ball on the sofa because of migraine pain (I didn't say I was graceful about it), but let's be honest -- no one would ever describe me as stoic and quiet when it comes to suffering, no matter how minimal.

As of late, or rather as of the last 6 months, I've been experiencing what can only be called a major stomach ache. It's been occasionally debilitating and has all the nasty symptoms one might assume one might have when one is suffering a 6-month stomach ache. The worse symptom was the fact I could not eat without instan pain. Chomp food, swallow, stomach erupts into a big ball of flaming gas; it was like there was an exploding sun in my belly. But as stoic and quiet as I wasn't being, I still refused to go to the doctor. I mean, it's a STOMACH ACHE and I so have my pride; I didn't want to be known as the wimp who shuffled off to the doctor for something so... trivial.

Finally, last week the pain got to me. I had a tough time eating, the pain had traveled to my back, I felt like I was having a heart attack, and it was just miserable. After a bunch of tests, which included testing for George the Amoeba, I was diagnosed with (ta da!) gastritis. Which, by the way, is totally not sexy, but is a lot better than all the other options my doctor casually tossed my way. "You might have an infected gall bladder," he said, "or pancreatitis, and while we're in the neighborhood, we'd better check out your liver as well." He also mentioned the dreaded "U" word -- ulcer -- and the possbility of an amoeba or similar single celled organism.

So after getting all of those possible diagnoses and being totally afraid I'd have the one I can't spell (pancreatitis) or grossed out by a worm in my stomach, it was a relief to learn I simply had gastritis, which with the help of many, many pills, will eventually go away without any need for surgery or anything too crazy. The pills have their own side effects -- I'm now a burping/hiccoughing machine -- but the stomach pain and heart burn are starting to dissipate. I should start to feel better in about 4 to 8 weeks and am currently researching changes to my diet to avoid this from happening again. I never want to be on this many prescriptions (3) again if I can help it. Because of this, I'm slowly cutting back on my caffeine intake; those who know me in Real Life(tm), be afraid, be very afraid.

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