Archive | My Experience

Part 19. What is happening today.

In Part 9, I mentioned the incredible amount of water I drank. That didn’t change. I was feeling better, health was returning, appetite back to normal, shoulder didn’t hurt – but I was still drinking water like I was dying of thirst. But I ignore the water intake after all I had been through because if my worst problem was that I drink a lot of water and pee a lot, so be it!

After many months, I began to drink my lattes again. However, I had new rules to follow. First, I only drink 3-4 cups per month, and I stay away from the largest size. And second, I always-always-always take my lactase pill before consuming the coffee.

Today, I drink 4-6 per month, and only at Starbuck’s. Starbuck’s is the only chain that will fix a DECAF latte made with SUGAR FREE vanilla – part of my latest change was to eliminate 90% of the caffeine and sugar in my life.

And six months after I moved away from caffeine and sugar intake, can you guess what happened? The amount of water I drink in day decreased by two-thirds! Even though my increased water wasn’t a warning of diabetes, it was tied to my increased sugar intake! Now I drink less, and I pee less.

It has been close to two years now since I was suffering with all these symptoms. I feel wonderful and am so thankful that I could spend the time to research on the internet and find out what the Doctors couldn’t tell me.

Lactose Intolerance – take it seriously.

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Part 18. I see a light.

Within 2-3 weeks, my diarrhea had lessened; my cramps were going away; I was feeling more like eating; and I was feeling more energy. The only part of the story my wife didn’t like is that I was still farting like a monster.

Within a few more weeks, my shoulder pain was gone. Not reduced – GONE. I am writing this final section in later 2014, and I have never had shoulder surgery, nor have I had any additional pain. I never went back to the Doctor who was going to provide surgery, or the doctor who gave me the Cortisone Shot.

Within a few months, my weight had stabilized and I began gaining a small amount. It came back slowly, but from the chart, I had lost about 12-14 pounds. That doesn’t sound like much – but is almost 10% of my body weight. People were telling me that the weight loss didn’t look good on me; that I was looking sickly, and “long in the face”. As I began gaining a little back, people commented that I was “looking better”. I was surprised that acquaintances not familiar with my circumstances would notice.

By the six month mark, I was back to some form of “normal”. My farts decreased by about 50%. In other words I still fart a lot, but it is much more manageable.
SO WHAT HAPPENED?

I assume that a few things combined together to cause trouble. I haven’t had a glass of milk to drink in more than 15 or 20 years; milk wasn’t something I enjoyed. So the ice cream and other miscellaneous dairy that I would consume, wasn’t at a high enough level to cause any major issues.

Then I found my love of Latte’s. And bought the machine to make them every morning. Along with the soup mug to drink it out of. I bombed my system with so much milk that my lactose intolerance kicked into severe overload. Once my body was over-saturated, body functions began to fail.

I was no longer processing the food I consumed. The explosive diarrhea was pushing everything out as fast as possible. The lactose in my system was creating a “super highway” in my body – making every bite of food pass through me so fast my body was not getting any nutrients. That explained the weight loss, the lack of energy, the lack of desire to eat, and the explosive elimination of anything I consumed within minutes.

To this day, I’m still scared and shocked to think what could have happened if I had not figured this out. What surgeries and medicine would I be taking, and what might have happened to my quality of life.

All because of the milk in my Vanilla Latte’s.

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Part 17. More Gurgling. I mean Googling. Well, both actually.

I didn’t know which symptoms were tied together and which weren’t. It was difficult to imagine that my diarrhea could have anything to do with my shoulder rotator cuff. So I paired symptoms together and kept searching until I found something that seemed reasonable.

And then I found it. AND ON THAT DAY, I STOPPED DRINKING MILK.

Of course YOU knew that already right? I already said I was told a dozen years ago I was lactose intolerant. And I ignored it – why shouldn’t I? I consumed my weight in Ice Cream at every opportunity and never had problems. At least, not until I was OLDER.

I discovered a personal story that had SOME similarities to mine. I refined my search and found a few more (limited) posts about SOME of the same issues I was having. So I put it all together and was shocked at what I found.

ONE OF THE SYMPTOMS OF SEVERE LACTOSE INTOLERANCE IS MUSCLE AND JOINT PAIN, USUALLY (BUT NOT ALWAYS) IN THE SHOULDERS.  And because of the cramping and gas, people have been known to feel what they believed was liver or kidney pain!

All of the other symptoms were dead-on ringers for lactose intolerance. And it wasn’t until that day when I realized that my shoulder pain was related to my lactose concerns, and all the other problems I was having was also tied to Lactose Intolerance.

So I stopped the latte’s cold turkey. No milk, no ice cream, nothing that I though had any dairy product in it. And then I waited.

 

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Part 16. I’m falling apart.

I have been healthy all my life. Sure, I got colds, sniffles, and the flu once. But I was generally a health person, not overweight, a social drinker and non-smoker. I had regular physicals, frequent blood work, and slept each night (although I have severe bouts with insomnia, I at least do get sleep).

So why was I falling apart?

For days, I sat in my office and searched the internet, using different keywords and combinations of keywords and symptoms of all that was happening to me.   According to “Doctor Internet” – I had HIV; syphilis, flu; parvo; hepatitis; irritable bowel; rotator cuff injury; blood disease; bacteria; worms; intestinal worms; lactose intolerance; and more … depending on which keywords I typed in.

So I went for more blood work. I had a full STD panel plus Hepatitis tests along with a full blood panel. I had a test for Helicobacter pylori (nicknames “H-pylori”), another stomach bacteria that mimics many of the same symptoms I was having. H-pylori was negative; all STD’s were negative. Blood Panel showed every test in “normal” range. No bacteria in Urine. Remember, I had already eliminated Aids …

I was getting no-where and Doctors weren’t helping. Possibly because they didn’t have the whole story and possibly because my situation was unusual.

My insurance company contacted me to let me know that my pre-surgical claim had been evaluated – and they agreed with the Doctor’s diagnosis – surgery was required and they would cover the operation.

 

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Part 15. The Cortisone Shot.

The needle is FREAKIN’ BIG! Enough to make you want to think twice about taking it. But I did, and even with the skin numbing, it hurt like hell. I was glad when it was over. The doctor told me that I would be “sore” for two days but after that, to let him know how I was doing and if any of my shoulder pain had decreased.

Sore? OHG! What an understatement. I was in so much pain for two days that I considered an ambulance ride to the hospital. I reached the doctor on the phone and explained what I was feeling. He told me that a very small percentage of patients have a serious adverse response to the Cortisone, and that if it continued beyond two days, to return to the office.

The pain from this shot of Cortisone was 50 times worse than the pain from the shoulder. The first morning after the shot, I stayed in bed and cried from the pain. It was something that was so unexpected and so painful that I didn’t know what else to do.

On the internet, I read “Cortisone flare, which is a brief increase of pain for 1 to 3 days. It occurs when the cortisone crystallizes after injection. Rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medicines, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can provide relief.”

“Brief increase of pain”? My ass. Another site said “Around 1:20 patients may have pain that is worse after the injection. This generally occurs for no more than 2-3 days and is related to irritation of the tissue injected from the cortisone itself.” Yeah, it was worse.

I was seriously doubting my decision to get this shot. The doctor wouldn’t prescribe pain killers and the Tylenol wasn’t doing anything – so I suffered through the two days.

And yes, after the two days, the Cortisone pain went away, and my shoulder felt a little better. But not enough to justify what I went though.

I had been using the “rubber stretchy thing” that the doctor gave me every morning to exercise my shoulder. And I was still hurting.

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Part 14. What the hell happened?

I had been taking notes of all that went on … as you can probably guess from the previous pages. When it came time to summarize and publish my story, all the notes from after the aids test were misplaced. I was disgusted and disappointed to learn that my notes were gone.

 

So we have eliminated HIV. But now I have new symptoms. My shoulder is hurting. When I lift my arm or turn my elbow out, I am now experiencing pain. And it is getting worse as the days go by. What next? Back to the doctor.

The doctor runs some motion tests and determines that I will need surgery to fix my shoulder (rotator cuff damage). He gave me a rubber-stretchy thing to use to exercise my shoulder and see if it helps before he cuts on me. Told me to stay away from my desk because having my arms up to type might be causing part of the problem (well, that wasn’t going to happen!) So I prepared the information necessary for my insurance and submitted the claim for surgery pre-approval, as required by my insurance company.

While that was in process, I had a business trip to the US to attend to. While there, I decided to visit on of the well-known doctors in my area who specialize in surgical problems. I knew that because of the way I was doing this (no referrals), I would be paying the full amount of this visit – but I thought I owed it to myself to hear from someone else.

After an examination and x-ray, the doctor agreed that I had shoulder damage and that surgery was definitely an option. However, he asked me if I had ever had a cortisone shot in the shoulder. My Asian doctor had already offered to give me the shot, but had cautioned me that he thought it was a waste of time and money.

Hearing the US doctor’s explanation, I decided that I would try the shot in the off-chance that it would solve my problems without surgery.

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Part 13. An Aids Test?

I went in immediately and had the aids test. It was negative. So I decided to take the more advanced aids test, the PCRDNA test that determines the percent of viral antibodies in your blood. It is WAY more sensitive than the usual aids test – and way more expensive.

It was negative. Whew. I was glad to have that behind me.

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Part 12. What else is happening?

As I write this blog, I realize there are things I have left out because it still not clear how they fit in to my problems.

I had a least two instances after starting my big latte intake with flu-like symptoms including temperature to 100.0. That was a little scary.

I blamed it on my traveling. I’m on an airplane one round-trip each month and I always sit next to the coughing, sneezing, sniffling person. It never fails.

But I was getting more fatigued and lethargic, not wanting to do anything, which was quite unusual for me. Strangely, I began to feel that I wasn’t “happy”.

Now, I already write that I was eliminating food within 15 minutes of consumption, taking more water, having “unexplained weight loss” and now I’m moody. And losing appetite. And barely eating one serving of anything (including my favorite foods!).

Put that together and now the doctor wants to talk about HIV/Aids. “Have you had your aids test lately?”

 

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Part 11. It was strange – eat, then run to the toilet.

The term is “explosive diarrhea” and those who use it aren’t kidding. It left my body with force! I would eat, sit on the toilet, and then be hungry – because I was empty!

I noticed that my weight was dropping. At first, I didn’t care that I lose a pound here and there – I’ve always wanted to a little smaller in the stomach. I had dreams of abs which never materialized! Other than that, I have weighed within 10-15 pounds of the same weight all my life.

But I knew something was strange, when my wife told me to “stop losing weight” because “what little butt you did have” is now gone! And unkindly pointed out “your butt is not as flat as the ironing board”. Ah the compliments of marriage!

I wasn’t feeling like my “usual self”, and many people commenting on my thinning … asking me if I was intentionally trying to lose weight.

But I was eating – and wanted to eat more. It wasn’t helping because more eating meant more pooping and more explosive diarrhea.

 

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Part 10. Peeing out of two locations.

As a child, when we said we had to “go potty”, urgency was controlled by the question, “Do you need to go #1 or #2? #2 was the key that caused the vehicle to be stopped at the nearest bathroom because Mom did not want to be faced with “poopy underwear”. I’ll never forget hearing Leah on “Kate plus 8” television show, say “Hannah pooped, In Hannah’s unnerwears“. My mom didn’t want that issue.

As I wrote previously, I didn’t feel I was peeing as much liquid. So I began to make it up by releasing more liquid through door number 2. That was a shock.

Ever since I changed my diet, I’ve had “soft” stool and regular bowl movements. I liked it, as it felt as though my system was working and I wasn’t having any more issues with constipation. Trust me, when you have hemorrhoids, the last thing you want is constipation.

But … when “soft” became wetter, and looser, and then was propelled by a release of liquid like the flush of a toilet! It was no longer once in the morning, and a small one in the evening!

It was having within 15 minutes of eating. This folks, is “explosive diarrhea”!

 

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