Friday, July 31, 2015

So hungry

I did it again. Got sick once more. This must get boring for you guys? What illness will Jane come down with next?

The last real meal I had this month was on 13th July which is 18 days ago. I had 4 Fingers fried chicken with carrots, egg and white rice for dinner that day. Hmmm, memories... For dessert, greedy me had a bunch of lychees. After dinner, I noticed my stomach was quite bloated. Around 10pm that night I had the biggest migraine of my life. And that was the last good day I remember. Since then, anything I ate made my stomach bloated and gave me an incredible headache.

At first I did the self-diagnosis route. I took ENO and panadol. Did not work. I took Hydrosil and panadol. Did not work. I took Alka-Seltzer. Did not work. My headaches never went away. I had them all the time. So I went to see my long-time private GP, Dr TingTing. After my last few experiences with public doctors, I thought it was best not to go back to the polyclinic. 

Dr TingTing's diagnosis? I have GERD or acid reflux. She put me on a strict diet and gave me a list of food to avoid:
Citrus fruits - goodbye my lovely oranges
Chocolate - no big deal
Coffee - I don't drink coffee
Tea - Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo <echo>
Fatty and fried foods - Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo<echo>
Garlic and onions - no problem, i'll just eat everything bland
Mint flavouring - I don't really care for mint
Highly spiced foods - sigh
Tomato-based foods - I can live with it

I followed this diet very stictly. I only ate multi-grain or whole grain bread. I ate fish. I ate vegetables. I ate oatmeal. I ate tuna (in water) sandwiches. Basically, all the bland non-tasty food. I didn't eat any fried food. Ok, just one time I had one nugget. But my new diet didn't help. Made zero difference.

Dr TT had prescribed a PPI - proton pump inhibitor which slows down the production of acid in the stomach. She also gave me another medication which allows me to eat as it breaks up stomach bubbles.

I took Dr TT's medication for two weeks and nothing changed. The bloating and the headaches - they kept coming every time I ate. It got to a point where I hated to eat. And you know how much I love to eat. What did change was I stopped taking panadols for my headaches since they did not work. I started to do Pilates and go for walks thinking that exercising might help. It did. I discovered that some of the time I could make my headaches go away by doing stretching exercises. These exercises kinda forced the wind in my stomach to get expelled. Unfortunately, it's usually through my mouth. So I've had to burp, belch like a freaking machine. I wish the wind would come out of my ASS instead. Since I eat 3 times a day, it means 3 times a day I have to do the stretching and walking. When exercising couldn't completely get rid of my headaches, I just kept busy around the flat and tried to do stuff that required me to move around. That usually helps. The important thing was not to lie down and sleep! Anyway, it was a relief to stop taking panadols. They were probably making me worse.

Dr TT had also talked me into doing a blood test. My last blood test was done in 2008! The results came back and it was quite shocking to me. Despite years of not really taking care of my health, I have come away unscathed. I don't have any illness (that you can tell via the blood test) save for my bad cholestral being a tiny bit above the range. Dr TT says if I were to cut down the number of egg yolks I eat per week, the bad cholestral should go into the safe range easily.

I couldn't possibly carry on with the headaches and belching every day. I was cooking every single meal and it was exhausting. Also, I'm a terrible cook. I tried not to eat simple carbo because the bloating and headaches were worse and harder to get rid of. Once my 2 week medication ran out, I went back to Dr TT who says she won't give me anymore medication unless I go for a OGD or gastroscopy. She said taking the same medication would not make any difference and she had medication for a bacteria that could be present in my digestive tract but she couldn't give them to me unless the OGD results says I have the bacteria.

Do you know what a OGD entails? A flexible tube around the size of your little finger is inserted into the upper digestive tract. At the end of the tube there is a tiny video camera and a light source. At first the idea of anything entering my throat gives me the creeps. (I blame Alien movies) But it turned out that the surgeon Dr TT is sending me to does OGD with the patient asleep. Some doctors do it with the patient AWAKE. After I was assured that I would not remember any details of the tube entering my throat, I agreed to go for the procedure.

The surgeon is Dr Heah and he is in private practice. This means it's expensive. The total cost was $950 before GST 7%.  The procedure itself cost $650 but there was a $300 charge for "room & board" because I had to sleep for ONE HOUR. That's like 5 bucks per minute. I could use $650 from my Medisave account but the rest was cash payment.

The procedure was pretty simple on my part. I lay down on the bed. The doctor goes through my symptoms with me to verify that I do indeed need a OGD. He tells me a little bit what he will do. Next he gave me an IV injection of a sleeping drug. A nurse asked me to bite on a plastic. The doctor said, turn to your left and I was out. When I woke up, a nurse told me it was over. Then I went back to sleep. One time, the doctor came to talk me to. For whatever reason, he spoke to me in Mandarin. I tried to tell him to speak in English. Then I must have fallen asleep again. Then I awoke to hub's voice (it was damn loud) arguing with the doctor. Then I fell asleep again. Finally I was fully awake. Later I asked hubs and he said he wasn't arguing with the doctor. He was talking. But maybe in an aggressive way.

Anyhoo, the gastroscopy confirms I do have gastritis. (which we already know) However, Clo test was negative for H. Pylori.  This means I do not have the bacteria. In a way, it is good news. On the other hand, this means we're back to square one. What the hell is wrong with me? Dr Heah suggested I take 2 alternative medication for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, if there is no progress, there is a list of alternative tests I can go for.

Oh you guys probably don't want to see this but I insist. Here's a pic of my upper digestive tract.

The OGD gave me a soreness in my throat. Other than that, I'm fine. This morning I took the first dosage of the new medication. It hasn't worked yet. I'm not going to place too much hope on the new medication or stress over it. I read that stress can worsen my condition. Instead, I will do my exercises and carry on as best as I can, headache or no headache. Okay, I will mostly be thinking of all the food I will eat once I have fully recovered. Oh, I've started working on a bag pattern - in between headaches. It will probably take months to complete.


Bethany said...

Maybe it's a food allergy? Did you switch brands of food that you eat a lot of that might have something in it that your gut doesn't like?

pennydog said...

You pretty much listed everything that I ever eat! Jane I hope they figure it out soon!!!

Sandra :) said...

Your esophagogastric junction looks like a different kind of junction *ahem* :D Sorry you haven't been able to get a (complete) definitive diagnosis - it's awful having to go through days and weeks and months of trials just to get some relief. I went through years of different medications (and even some wack-a-doodle urban legend type home remedies) trying to get my psoriasis under control - life was pretty much on hold for that entire time - awful :( Hopefully they can find something that works for you!

Linda said...

You have really had a hard year so far! I hope the rest of the year goes well for you and with no illnesses!

Wahida said...

Sounds alot like something I had after having a funky tasting banana. Could be something fungal stuck in your lower GI tract. Might want to get the poop cultured. Could be something giardisis...or similar. Lychees are notorious for going bad and causing stomach issues. Hope you heal soon.

Projects By Jane said...

Thanks Wahida. I'll ask my doctor about this poop test the next time I see her.

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