Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Stress + Stress

About 18 months ago, July of 2009, I posted about the family stomach bug.  The one that the kids seemed to eventually recover from, but I just never really did.  Well, eventually I figured I was probably close to normal.  What is normal, anyways?  Other than an absence of being 'worse than usual'.
It turns out that somewhere between then and now, I developed a bacteria known as H Pylori.  Ironically, this bacteria was originally called "stress" and is the number one cause of ulcers.
Diagnosis was really easy.  Luckily, my dr did think to run the blood test and it was positive.
The next step should be relatively straightforward.  A triple whammy attack of 2 antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor.
Of course...I had 2 questions.  What's the PPI for?  And "Is there corn in that?"
The answers were not so straight forward.  I'm uncomfortable that the answer to "What's the PPI for?" was 'That's the standard treatment, we find it works.'
I know it's just me.  But I like to know WHY.  And the answer of "You just don't understand" gets under my skin.  Of course I don't understand!  Why else would I ask?
And then it comes to corn.  The list is quite long.
It encompasses a large number of potential names.  I don't react to the protein.  I don't know why.  I'm not willing to study it too much further...not on myself.  Not after dealing with it and learning more, and accepting what I've learned over a full 7 years.
7 years.
It's a long time.  It's been a long process.  You'd think after so many years I'd understand what was going on.  I'd be able to navigate any system.
But I didn't count on a system that doesn't recognize or respect the acknowledgment of prior doctors, of unusual situations.  I spent 4 days visiting with the pharmacy.
I was reassured.  Placated.  Confidently soothed.  But I didn't feel validated or respected.
That's scary, and it makes me feel rebellious. 
But the bottom line was that the ER was accessible.  If I end up there they can do something.
There's nothing else they could offer.  The dr says to talk to the pharmacist, the pharmacist says the doctor makes the call.  They called the manufacturers and asked if corn was used in the process.  They couldn't tell me if they ascertained "any corn derivatives" or if they specified starch as well as protein.  The stress of going to the pharmacy on a daily basis for less than 10 minutes with the pharmacist before they walked away was getting to me.
The end result is that the decision was up to me.  I could trust them, and take medication that may or may not help.  And was likely to make me nauseous and crampy by it's very nature.  Or, I could not take it.
H Pylori is common.  It doesn't always cause symptoms.
But I'm symptomatic and I'm getting depressed.  (from the symptoms...seriously?  If you lived on rice because your stomach was volatile, you'd probably get depressed, too.)   So, I took the meds.   At least, I took them until I gagged on them, and couldn't keep them down.
Then I stopped taking the one I was most suspicious of (omeprazol, the PPI) and continued...much more successfully...with the antibiotics.  I figured that vomiting undigested meds wasn't helping me any.  So taking the antibiotics alone was better than nothing.
My colon still feels like it's been beaten to a pulp.  Mostly because of the charlie-horses that set in not long after the meds took effect.  Typical corn response, for me.  I'm still having occasional tightness of breath, but that was one my complaints who knows if it's corn related?  I have chills, but it's pretty cold.  Still struggling with nausea and lack of appetite.  The itchiness has finally subsided.  (Mostly.)  I don't seem to have actually hived out.  I've slept 16 hours a day (at least) for the past 2 weeks and I'm still tired. 
But I'm thankful that the antibiotics are over, and I'm crossing my fingers that once the corny reaction finishes working it's way through, maybe I'll be able to enjoy the holidays.
It seems like I've missed spending time with family and friends a lot the past few years.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In case you wanted to know...PPI stands for "proton pump inhibitor". It shuts off the acid producing cells in your stomach, therefore decreasing irritation from acid buildup! You've got ulcers, so this makes sense. Also, stress can make you produce even more acid in your tummy (ever feel nauseous when you're really stressed out?) The PPIs get rid of it. Almost everyone staying in the hospital gets a PPI (hospital stays are stressful).

Hope this helps...even though you're not taking it anymore. Your pharmacist probably gave you good insight, but maybe you understand more why you needed it in the first place =)

~ a nursing student who stumbled on your blog when looking something up for school