Archive | My Experience

Part 9. Things just aren’t right.

The pain in my ribcage and lower back did go away – but always returned, although never as bad as that one time.

Another item I didn’t mention is that I drink a LOT of water each day. So much water in fact, that every physical I have had in the past 20 years included tests for diabetes as “excessive thirst” is one of the indicators. But the tests were always negative and my thirst was blamed on a huge “water appetite”. My wife says I didn’t go anywhere without a water bottle – even sitting in front of the television, I would have a water bottle at my side.

What goes in, must come out. So I urinated (“pee” – I prefer smaller words!) a lot! I’ve accepted that over the years because this water intake has been with me forever. I love drinking water and I know that I have to let it out. However, I notice that I am peeing more often, but draining less liquid than before.

Strange? Of course. But do you think I am going to go to the doctor again and tell him “ … and now I’m peeing more often but less is coming out?”

I don’t think so. Would you??

 

 

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Part 8. Unexplained Pain

I began having regular bouts with pain under my ribcage, on the left side, and migrated into my back. Supposedly pain in this area indicated liver or kidney disorders so I broke down and went to the doctor, hoping that I would not be taking more pills!

After asking a few questions, listening to my chest and such with his stethoscope, the doctor told me that blood tests were needed, including some highly sensitive “infection” markers testing. He said he was confident that it would all be normal because he thought I had the symptoms of a pulled muscle in my back rather than any internal issues.

I didn’t say anything about his diagnosis, but I thought to myself “I know what a pulled muscle feels like, and this isn’t it”.

90 minutes later, blood results were available. Liver, Kidney and Special Infection Tests were all normal. So he sent me home with the old cliché’ “Take too Tylenol and call me in a few days if you are still hurting”. So now I have no answers and less money!

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Part 7. The “Excessive Wind” of a fart.

Gas. “Excessive Wind”. “Air in the stomach”. Flatulence – who created such a “nice” word. No matter what, it is a FART. You might like “breaking wind” or “tooting”, but even the youngest of readers have probably seen the video clip from America’s Funniest Home Videos, in which the 8 year old ballerina “expels gas” … then says “Excuse me!” and then follows up with “Hey, even Ballerinas have to fart!”.

And she is right but my farts transformed me into the fart monster. Morning were worst. I would sit on the toilet and continuously release farts for five minutes or more. And they were loud. And boy did it feel good when they were gone.

Mornings were the worst but I had to release gas after every meal, usually within 15-30 minutes. After eating, I would disappear for a while and release my pent-up “excess wind”. But it was terrible when I was away from home and I had to hold the farting in. I think of it as “farting in my stomach” because I could feel the gas explode and “pop” inside of me. That popping added to my stomach noise that people around me could hear.

 

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Part 6. Upset Stomach and Heartburn

There were nights when I would have heartburn, indigestion, and a burning in my stomach so bad that I would get out of bed and sit in a chair. Just like the stomach noises, laying flat made it worse.

It wasn’t tied to spice – or a particular type of food. Burger King could cause as much irritation as the spiciest of the dishes my wife would cook.

Some of the nights I had fruit or Orange Juice. The acid nature of the fruit must have been fighting with something in my stomach because the pain was unusually bad on “fruit” nights.

When your stomach is bothering you, whether through indigestion or something else, you can guess what is coming next … GAS! Yes folks, the fart bomb has hit!

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Part 5. The Symptoms Begin

The Symptoms Begin, but I didn’t realize it was all part of a big puzzle. It was a puzzle that would turn out to be so unique, it could have been a scripted episode of TV’s “Dr House”.

Just like most people, I have stomach “gurgling” and regular stomach grumbles. In my case, it was always after eating. I would get asked often, “are you still hungry” because people around me could hear my stomach.

It was so loud that others could hear, even if there was light noise in the room. However, I don’t remember a time that my stomach didn’t make noise, so I added that to my list of “nothing usual” activities of my body.

Thinking back to when I was diagnosed with Acid Reflux, one of my symptoms at the time was the gurgling/grumbling stomach when I would lie down in the bed.
For some reason, lying flat in bed always made more noises come from my stomach.

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Part 4. What I didn’t tell the doctors.

Along with my new coffee machine, and local coffee, I purchased whole milk, vanilla syrup and Splenda. Every morning for the next 6 months, I fixed myself a HUGE vanilla latte. My mug was actually a “soup mug” so you can guess how large it was.

My huge coffee mug

A slight exaggeration, but I think you get the point.

First, in case you don’t know, a “Latte” is a drink made with a shot of espresso, and milk. Mostly milk. I’ve been drinking latte’s for years, but only in moderation, not every day, and only in small cups — not a mug so big I could crawl into. I never had any issues with coffee, and no coffee allergies of any kind that I was aware of.

Second, let me re-emphasize HUGE. I was taking in more milk per day than I had ever taken at any point of my life, including as a child when I used to drink coffee milk (which was a precursor to latte’s!) and cereal.

“Coffee milk” was a mug full of milk, a little sugar, and a few tablespoons of mom’s coffee, just enough to get the flavor, but not enough to get me on the caffeine. As I aged, I fell in love with Latte’s – which turns out to be “coffee milk” for adults!

Third, I was consuming 1-2 packs of Splenda sweetener every day. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with Splenda, but I believe it was one more item counting against me.

Fourth, besides the sweetener, I was taking in a large amount of sugar from the vanilla syrup!

Fifth, I was heating the milk to 200 degrees, which some will argue is too hot, as it breaks down the sugars, which encourages you to add more sweetener somewhere.

So these five items were an important part of my puzzle that I did NOT tell the doctors – as I didn’t think it was important.

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Part 3. My Weight and General Health – Mid 2011

At this point in my story, we are in October 2011, and my weight is averaging 65k (143-145#), just like I did since I was 15 and began tracking my weight. And so far, I am still feeling fine – every day was just like the day before – energy, appetite, etc., was ok. I’m just “pooping” a lot and it is getting more loose.

As a reader, you are getting the benefit of hindsight. I didn’t put things together for 8-10 more months – but you will be able to say “ah ha” shortly!

In part 2 of my story, I mentioned that I was living in Asia full time. I brought my (custom ordered 220v) special Espresso/Latte coffee post from the USA, as they were ridiculously expensive in Asia.

Originally I was even bringing my coffee from Southern USA as well! But that got to be tiring and I found an Asian blend that I liked. I began drinking my home made coffee every day.

 

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Part 2. Fast Forward to Middle of 2011

I’m living in Asia full time and getting my fill of spicy Thai food. I grew up in Tobasco and Red Pepper territory in the US, so I always craved foods that had a hot, spicy flavor. My wife cooks 2 meals per day and I was eating flavorful foods daily until I was satiated. Did I say I love Thai food??

Sometimes when you cook with peppers, you can’t control how spicy the food will be. Each few days, my wife purchased peppers at the market – but it was not possible to look at the peppers and know the “hotness” of the peppers. So each day brought different levels of unpredictable fire to my wife’s foods. I never complained, only blew my nose, and kept eating.

I noticed however, that I was having regular diarrhea. It started every few days, then gradually became a daily occurrence – but ALWAYS first thing in the morning. But it wasn’t painful or uncomfortable (other than the visual discomfort of diarrhea), so I attributed it to my system working and processing the peppers and everything else.

I should explain for the less queasy that in the beginning it wasn’t watery, explosive diarrhea. My stool (or “poop” to use smaller words) was very soft and flowed out of its storage container (me).

And since I suffered previously for years with constipation and hemorrhoids, I wasn’t complaining about my new “easy-going” visits to the toilet. Soft poop was certainly better than hard and stuck!

 

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Part 1. My First Experience with Lactose Intolerance, about 1997 through 2011.

Many years ago, I experienced gas and upset stomach after consuming large amounts of dairy products. After discussing it with my mother, she informed me that I must be Lactose Intolerant, as she was also. “What did that mean”, I asked. People with lactose intolerance can’t digest lactose, a sugar in milk. The lactose (that you can’t digest) sits in the gut causing bloating, cramps, diarrhea, gas, and nausea. Her answer was simple, I needed to take a small pill (called lactase) before consuming any dairy products and such as milk and ice cream.
I took the pills for a month and stopped (I dislike taking pills). For many years, I never noticed any major problems related to dairy other than the occasional upset stomach or diarrhea. I assumed that “Dr. Mom’s” diagnosis was wrong, as I was still eating ice cream (regularly) and drinking (skim) milk (occasionally), but having problems only on an occasional basis.
During this same period of years, I was diagnosed by the family physician as having “acid reflux”, and told that I would need to take medicine daily to control it. The medicine at that time was over $100/mo. And just like before, I stopped after one month because of the cost and my lack of willingness to take medicine forever. But more importantly, the problems that led me to the doctor visit in the first place had vanished and I was not having the same issues.

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