Sometime after the 19th of September, the crippling pain came back. It didn't just come back, it came back with vengeance. It was as though the talons from hell were strangling my bowels, bladder and womb.
I thought that it could be my voiding dysfunction had returned or I simply had caught a bad urine infection. Or something was wrong with my womb.
It was so bad that I went to the ER to find out what the cause of the pain was.
The doctor was worried about kidney stones. (Why do doctors keep on concluding that I have stones in my kidneys??? Are kidney stones really so rampant?)
And then she wanted to IV painkillers into me! NO WAY!
She insisted on giving me an IV for fluids.
They then did all the usual tests; blood, urine and ultrasound.
Everything came back normal but there were some cysts that were in my ovaries and cervix (which I had already known from the MRI two months ago). And they are harmless.
So the ER doctor called one of their gynecologists. She wanted to put me on a ten-days antibiotics course to cover base (just in case I had some pelvic inflammatory disease or STD)!
She did not even see me. My results were perfect. And she wanted to give me antibiotics. No wonder the bacteria are mutants!
And I was supposed to see her on Friday (the next day, Thursday was a public holiday). I had to sign a consent form stating I rejected all medications.
Friday came and I made an appointment to see ANOTHER gynae.
Everything was fine. Cervix, ovaries, uterus. All were fine.
This gynae too was perplexed about the pain. He sent me for some blood tests to test my hormone levels. (I got the results yesterday and they are all fine too.)
I went to see another gynae the following week as the pain became worse. He was a very nice doctor but was as perplexed like the rest. He concluded that my pain could be psychosomatic and that I could be lacking of attention (hubby was there and said he overdoses me with attention! HAHA!). He also said that all the tests do not lie (MRI, blood tests, scope, ultrasounds). He suggested that I was so highly strung that all this stress caused this phantom pain to come about. He then suggested I seek help from psychiatrists with hypnotherapy expertise.
I did not know whether to laugh or to cry.
I haven't been highly strung ever since Joel moved to the new school. I no longer need to rush like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. I would have agreed with the gynae on his stress-theory if we were still at the old school. But my stress level has dropped so much that even my reflux and esophagitis are healed!
I know that I am not imagining this pain. Why anyone would imagine to be sick perplexes me. I have been fighting for six-an-a-half-years to be healthy. To be healthy and wanting to be so desperately sick is something I am not. I am the other way around.
He then suggested that I might consider returning to work part-time seeing Joel is such a big boy now. Maybe at the back of my mind, I am resentful at not being able to work......
He also said that if the pain was so crippling and debilitating, I would not have been able to go painkiller-free. (He definitely does not know what iron will I have. If you were me (being allergic to painkillers/NSAIDs), would you take the risk in ingesting something you're allergic to? And if an anaphylactic attack were to happen................
So the session ended with him not wanting to give my pain new names or be a groundbreaking doctor to discover an-undistinguishable-new-disease. He also told me to go to gym since the haze is so bad that I can't have my usual walks. Also told me to go for yoga!
But he was really sincere in his belief. He wasn't sarcastic or awful like the other doctors who belittle their patients. He spoke from his heart. He did not belittle me. He took my allergies and sensitivities seriously. A very meticulous doctor. He just couldn't give me an answer to the pain that I have.
Thursday was my appointment with my urologist whom I've not seen in 1 1/2 years.
Since it wasn't urine infection, kidney stones, STDs, prolapsed womb, twisted ovaries, IBS (colon spasms), there was only one answer.
The voiding dysfunction was back and it was back with vengeance.
So Mr. Urologist saw me and sent me for the uroflow test.
My flow was so very bad. In fact I had no flow.
He wanted to do a scope. And he wanted to do a surgery for my sphincter which has actually tightened. (This condition was actually triggered by giving birth to Joel.) Thus, the pain and the god-awful spasms. The sphincter and the bladder muscles have not being in sync with each other. But I would need to go under GA (general anesthetic) for this surgery. He would 'manually dilate' my sphincter.
(Fear actually shot up my spine when he said that!) At that point, I was really STRESSED! I had cold sweat.
I told Mr. Urologist that I wanted to back on Xatral (the prostate medication which he gave me the last time). He too said he wasn't keen on operating on me and agreed with me on this course of action.
So I am to be on Xatral for six weeks. It's not a nice medication to be on as it causes dizziness and postural hypotension. Mr. Urologist warned me that I can blackout if I get up too fast from a sitting or lying down position. I have taken this before. It will take me a week or so to adjust to the medication. Then I'll be fine.
The scary thing is that I'm his only female patient on prostate medication. And I'm also his youngest patient. Hmmmm.... Maybe the nice gynecologist was right in some of his deductions? Maybe I do NEED yoda yoga.
P.S: I'll be writing on my improvements where the salicylate/chemical sensitivity and food adventures in another post soon! Stay tuned.
I was fed-up with constantly having to replace the inner rice pot which peeled after cooking in it for a few months. It wasn't cheap to having constantly buy a new pot. Besides, I had wanted to get a few other cooking gadgets but where would I store them?
So this was the answer.
I am still in the experimenting mode and will soon post up recipes using this. I think with this, my carpal tunnel will be able to heal after all.
1. 1 medium sized Garoupa fish (washed and cleaned)
Garoupa (the two fish on the right and middle)
2. 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
3. 1 stalk of chives (chopped into fine pieces)
5. Tamari sauce
6. Sunflower oil
7. Pepper* (optional) HIGH IN SALICYLATES
8. Sesame oil* (optional) HIGH IN SALICYLATES
As you can see, I was to drink 1L of the horrible-diesel-tasting-diarrhoea-inducing-drink at 7 pm (and must be finished doing so by 8pm) and ANOTHER 1L at 8pm (and must be finished doing so by 9pm). You will gag drinking this. And this is not an exaggeration. The taste will be in your mouth, nostrils and brain. You will smell and taste it in everything and everywhere. By 9 something, I was already running to the toilet. If you're ever going to go through this procedure, don't even attempt to wear back your undies or walk out of the toilet. You will never make it before the next wave hits. Put a stool or a chair next to the 'throne' and wait for the next wave. You won't have to wait for long, I assure you. There will be times when you will think that you're done. You will be wrong.
The very helpful nurse at the endoscopy department said that we must excrete to the point where the last stage of excrement looks like liquid that resembles a-somewhat-clear-water (pictures 7 and 8 of the diagram below).
I was up until 2am and had arrived at stage 7 by then. Thoroughly exhausted, I scrubbed the throne clean, showered and went to bed.
By 4 something I was up to make the last 1L to drink (which I had to begin drinking at 5am and was to be finished by 6am). I was sorely tempted to not drink that as my excrement was clear at 2am. But I remembered what the nurse told me the day before. I was to finish all three sachets. Obediently, I chugged down the last one liter. Boy, was I glad I did that as the next toilet visits became stage 5 again which finally cleared up by the time I arrived at the hospital at 8.30am. (Another important point: Wear diapers! The morning rush hour is mad and you might not be able to hold it. I managed to hold but ran and dashed to the endoscopy department's toilet. And the nurse who checked my stools said I was good to go!!!! Yippeee! No need another 1L of that drink called death.) We met a woman who did not drink her 5am drink as she thought her bowels were cleaned enough. She had to drink another 1L of that drink while I could go ahead with my scope. The relief that I felt was euphoric. But I felt terrible for her. She looked disgusted at the drink and totally demoralized sitting there.
So I changed into the hospital gown and got ready to be wheeled into the scoping room.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous or anxious. The colonoscopy is one awfully painful procedure when one is not sedated. My dad said when my mum had hers, she was screaming even though she was sedated. They had to give her another shot of sedation.
As I was wheeled in, I saw Dr. Rockstar preparing a syringe to sedate me!
Me: NO WAY DOCTOR! I am not to be sedated. I don't want another problem added to my stomach problems. I have enough problems as it is. So no, I do not want to take the risk of having an allergy attack which can spiral into an anaphylactic attack.
Dr. Rockstar: Yes lah. Take it lah. It's going to be very painful.
Me: I know. But you'll be gentle. (That was me hinting very directly at him to be gentle. But of course I know that there's no way of him turning the scope at the corners of my intestines without causing pain.)
Dr. Rockstar: I can be gentle but you'll still be in pain.... Well ok. If you're up to it. (Of course, he wasn't too pleased. But I was stubborn and adamant and he could not change my mind.)
And so it began.........
Nurse: (Turns me on my left side and sprays Xylocaine (to numb my throat so that the scope can enter without me vomiting and gagging non-stop. Once my throat was numb, she placed a plastic mouthpiece to keep it open.)
Dr. Rockstar: (As he is about to start the scope, he discovers some buttons/knobs are missing! Turns to one of the nurses and barks.) Where are the buttons/knobs? I WANT ALL OF THEM!
One of them disappears like Speedy Gonzales or the Road Runner and returns with the parts that the doctor had demanded. (Later when I told hubby what had happened, he said that now he knew why the nurse ran out and returned with such speed.)
Dr. Rockstar then proceeds and inserts the scope into my esophagus.
Dr. Rockstar: Ok, let's start. (Realises that he couldn't proceed as the monitor would not light up and he is about to blow again.) Why isn't this working??!
Nurse: (Answers real quick) The station outside has not registered the patient.
Dr. Rockstar: (He sounds like he is about to eat everyone in the room.) HOW NOW? THE SCOPE IS IN THE PATIENT ALREADY! HOW LONG YOU WANT PATIENT TO WAIT? WHY WAS THE PATIENT PUSHED INTO THE ROOM WHEN SHE WASN'T REGISTERED?! HOW NOW?!!!!
Nurse: (In a very timid voice) We have to wait for them to register before we can proceed.
Dr. Rockstar: HOW LONG MUST THE PATIENT WAIT? HOW LONG DO YOU EXPECT THEY PATIENT TO LIE DOWN HERE? CALL THEM!!!!!!
The nurse makes the call and squeaks faster than a speeding bullet train telling the outside counter to speed it up.
Bear in mind that I was awake, hearing all this and I had this tube down my esophagus into my stomach and I had to wait until I was 'registered'. I could hear my heart rate accelerating and felt a panic attack creeping in. I started breathing in and out to calm myself down (sounding somewhat like a Darth Vader squeaking) and grabbed the pillow with my left hand. I also started chanting in my head, 'I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS.......' My heart rate actually started to slow down.
Dr. Rockstar: (Bangs on the keyboard urgently and impatiently.) WHAT'S TAKING THEM SO LONG???!!!!
SUDDENLY, the screen lights up and everything started to work. I shouted Hallelujah in my mind and praised every god that exists. HAHA! (Yes, I can laugh now. But I assure you, I wasn't laughing then.)
Dr. Rockstar proceeds with the endoscopy and completes it in a few minutes.
They then turned me around and prepped me up for the colonoscopy.
I continued to grab the pillow with my left hand and I then grabbed the bed railing with my right hand. And I started chanting 'I CAN DO THIS' in my mind again. The first turn came and I turned my face into the pillow and groaned. I gripped the bed railing so hard that my hand still hurts today. This round I didn't scream the hospital down. Hubby was worried as it was so quiet that he thought I might have passed out! When he found out I didn't pass out and did not scream, he promoted me from 'Woman of Steel' to 'Woman of Titanium'. HAHA!
Finally they arrived at the end of the large colon.
WHEW! The nurse pried my right hand from the railing. I immediately went and grabbed it again. She then told me that the excruciating-intestine-twisting procedure was over. Only then did I slowly let go of the railing.
Now here's the good news. My esophagitis has healed. I have no lesions, no ulcers, no polyps, no tear, no nothing in both upper and lower gastrointestinal section. There's no sign of acid reflux burning my esophagus. The Hpylori test came back negative.
Dr. Rockstar concluded that it was a severe IBS attack which he firmly believes was triggered by stress. (Yes, everything is triggered by stress.) I wasn't stressed. But I remember the gassiness started after eating french beans. And then during the weekend, I had garlic! I love garlic. But garlic is a major trigger for episodes-from-hell for me. DAMN IT! It's healthy food. It's not even cake or ice-cream. It's goddamn GARLIC! G.A.R.L.I.C.
All this stomach-throwing-hissy-fits started after I fell sick two months back. I guess it'll take time and I have to build it back up again.
The pain is still on and off. At least there are bouts of relief now. Last week it was 24-hours of pain.
The horrible-diesel-tasting-diarrhoea-inducing drink triggered some allergy reaction. I was itching and had some red patches here and there. I had to take a Puriton antihistamine on Friday night itself. Everything cleared up the next day.
It's adapting period again. I hope things will get better soon.
The pain started last Sunday. I had thought that it was my usual (GERD) reflux problem which was acting up again. So I took my usual GERD meds - Nexium, Motilium and some milk of magnesia. There was no relief at all. This time, it became a full-blown attack which had me doubling over in pain. I increased the meds and took a double dose. The pain did not abate. And I was extremely-super-gassy.
By Tuesday I was a slow-moving-hunched-over-shuffling Evelyn. I added Ganaton to the list of meds.
I went to the ER at the hospital which is a stone's throw away from my place on Wednesday. Hubby had to take an emergency leave. When I told the doctor the list of meds I've been ingesting, he said that I was already on the highest range of medication for reflux. The only option left was to IV the medicine into my system. Since I am allergic to painkillers, this was what they could do for me. He asked me whether I would want to be admitted! They could IV the meds round the clock.
I went home after they IV-ed the meds. It gave some slight relief.
By nightfall, I could feel the medicines wearing out.
By Thursday, I could not eat more than 2 spoonful of anything. The pain came back with vengeance. And I developed a mild fever. And my stools became loose stools.
What could it be? I don't have an appendix anymore as I had an appendicitis 8 years ago. I just had an MRI done last month which covered my stomach, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, spleen, ovaries, and bladder. All my blood tests were normal.
What was this pain?
Hubby rushed back and brought me to the ER again. This time we went to the hospital where my gastroenterologist works. I actually had an appointment later with my gastroenterologist but the pain was awful and I couldn't wait for the appointment time.
The doctor at the ER was a ........... (I'll let you fill in the blanks yourself to whatever names you can think of.)
Below is the conversation between ER doctor and me.
ER Doctor: So what pain is this you're having?
Me: It's my stomach. I have reflux and this pain which started on Sunday will not let up. (I then proceeded to tell him the list of meds that I have taking and the visit to the ER on Wednesday which I had more meds IV-ed into me.) I actually have an appointment later with Dr. Rockstar but I couldn't wait for it as the pain is horrible and I'm having a mild grade fever. Maybe you could page him to come down to see me instead?
ER Doctor: (Chooses to ignore me and looks bored to death and gives me the impression that I am either on a trip to the hospital for fun or I am making all this up just to make this trip to the hospital so that I can contribute to his September salary. He then proceeds to ask me to lie down and started to press my abdomen to pinpoint to where the pain was.)
ER Doctor: (After pressing my abdomen for awhile...) I think it's your kidneys. I think you might have stones. Let's do an urine test. Also, I would like to give you Tramadol for the pain. (Tramadol is a painkiller).
Me: WHAT?! It's my stomach that's hurting. My kidneys are FINE! F.I.N.E!!!!!! I don't want that Tramadol. Anyway, I have an appointment with my gastroenterologist, Mr. Rockstar later. I'll go see him.
ER Doctor: Ok then. (He had such a look of disdain and an air of boredom about him.)
Hubby then wheeled me over to Dr. Rockstar's clinic.
When we arrived at his clinic, Dr. Rockstar's assistant asked to why did the ER not page him to go see me? I told them about ER Doctor's wonderful behaviour and superb diagnosis. They just shook their heads.
Dr. Rockstar was actually quite frustrated with me as I have been seeing him for the few months with this same pain in the same area (though the intensity of the pain wasn't this terrible). (That was why he had sent me to have the MRI done last month.) At that time he was worried that it was my pancreas. My grandfather had died of stomach cancer and my dad's cousin died of some stomach ailment screaming in pain in the hospital until he died. Maybe it is some kind of stomach ailment genes in our family. Imagine MY level of frustration when even my doctor is frustrated and perplexed.
Since everything came back fine, we just left it at that last month.
This round, since there was no answer, and the pain was so debilitating and crippling, an endoscopy and colonoscopy was recommended. And I was to have it on Friday morning, (which was yesterday).
The last meal was to be at 6pm and I was not to have any vegetables, fruits, red meat, bread, oats, cereal and etc. And I was to drink this (picture below) horrible-diesel-tasting-diarrhoea-inducing-drink to prepare for the colonoscopy.
For these past few months, Little Red's engine has either been chugging out black smoke or leaking out engine oil. Something was wrong somewhere but WHERE? It was already on a very clean, strict and regimented diet.
The mechanics told Little Red to change her lifestyle.
She had no life what more style?
Maybe she should change her rims to some F1 sports rims?
Or change her engine's horse power to maybe a 4.0?
Or maybe, just guzzle herself to death on diesel.
Little Red thinks the mechanics should just give her an engine overhaul.
Then, maybe, just maybe, she would not keep on farting black oil from below. Or keep on emitting such black smoke almost every day. And that the engine would have some intermission from the constant sputtering.
What Little Red would do to have a normal and functioning engine.
There were days where Little Red would trudge up the little hill to look at lives of others that passed by. Some whizzed by. Some strolled by. But theirs were ongoing.
... That recurring depression can shrink the size of your hippocampus?
*The hippocampus in your brain is involved in forming emotions and memory. Our memory is not only about remembering events, people, or even passwords; it developes and maintains who we are. The hippocampus is also directly affected by estrogen.
In the medical sense, a 'nocebo reaction' is where a **drug-trial subject's symptoms are made worse by the administration of a placebo. It is entirely due to the subject's pessimistic belief and expectation that the drug that was given would produce harmful, injurious, unpleasant or undesirable consequences.
It is interesting to note that despite no 'real' drugs were used, patients do manifest in unpleasant, injurious, undesirable biochemical, physiological, behavioral, emotional and cognitive consequences. The 'nocebo effect' was identified during pharmaceutical trials. ****Subjects were observed to exhibit undesirable effects even though they were not given any medication except a placebo!
*****An interesting case to note is "Mr. A" who suffered from depression. His doctor Roy Reeves reported this case in 2007. He swallowed a whole bottle of pills and then regretted his decision on suicide. He rushed to the ER, collapsed at the reception, his BP plunged, and hyperventilated. All blood tests could show no trace of drugs in his system.
Finally, four hours later, another doctor informed Roy Reeves that 'Mr. A' had been in the placebo arms of a drug trial and he had overdosed on SUGAR TABLETS! 'Mr.A' soon recovered upon hearing the 'good news'.