At times when you have no idea what is going on w/your body – the internet is pretty good at showing you that you are not alone.
Since June of this year I have had intense pain under my ribcage – usually at night and usually after sleeping for a few hours and waking up at 1am/2am with what I can only describe as maddening pressure. I’ve never felt anything like this.
The first time I felt this I woke up my sister and it was finally relieved by drinking some ginger ale, eventually puking, feeling exhausted relief and finally getting some sleep – I thought it had happened because I had red meat – which I love, but I don’t have often which is why I thought my stomach was having a hard time digesting.
The next time, the same thing happened but after I puked, I hardly felt any relief. I blamed what I ate again — thinking I had too much fiber. But then it happened in the span from June until the present (the week of August 28th, 2013) about 3-5 more times. I ate clean, was working out, and since the beginning of the year I have lost almost 50lbs (by controlling my portions, meal planning, lots of walking and weights) — so I couldn’t blame poor eating habits.
I went to a clinic that I saw on TV and the newspaper that was said to be an expert in gastrointestinal problems — which sounded like what was going on. Quick back-story: I’m unemployed right now which means I am uninsured too, I’m my Mom’s caregiver due to recent heart problems that she has. Long story, short — this was a money-making/for-profit clinic that charged me $120 bucks for a surface exam and I was told that I was overweight – I told them about how hard I had worked to lose weight and they said that the “damage was already done; that’s like a smoker complaining for getting cancer 2 years after they quit smoking – the damage is already done” and that I had a “spider web of fat surrounding my abdominal wall” so I asked if that could cause the pain, the answer: “no, but just thought you should know, we do spot-lipos here”.
For a full-picture, at my heaviest I was 248lbs and at the time I went to the clinic I was 180lbs. But they didn’t care, they went on and on about how I had to submit to a pregnancy test (they claimed this was protocol), and they listed “packages”: $320 for blood tests, $450 for a gastro-ultrasound, and $750 for an endoscopy — I asked for my prescriptions and told them I had no money for the rest. The appointment was over and I was told I had to give them $120 bucks.
The acid reflux/GERD medicine worked. But then the medicine ran out.
My neighbor, who is also uninsured, told me about a walk-in clinic she goes to – so I went that day after having a hellishly painful night and excruciatingly painful day. It feels like I’m being stabbed from the inside of my ribcage out through my ribs and back. The doctor said I was probably suffering from acid reflux and that I had done a great job at losing weight — that in the long run that would help me with my current gastric problems. He set me up with a 3 week “repair” plan (1 pill 1/2hr before I eat, 1 pill after I eat and 1 tablespoon of milk of magnesia after I eat — I do this twice a day). He told me that I had to find a balance with what I eat and a balance with how I workout — that if I work my abs on the outside that I’m more than likely working our/twisting something internally and that I should be careful with over-extending and twisting.
Right now, I am finishing my second full day with it — yesterday was my first full day doing it and it was brutal! I tried taking my medicine for breakfast and dinner — that did NOT work — there was too much time in between and my breakfast was the lightest of my meals so I didn’t need much help from the medicine, but by the afternoon I was once again in a fetal position crying from the pain. It was so embarrassing because I was at my brother’s house and his 3 little ones were really concerned — and as much as I tried to hold back the tears, I wasn’t able to. We made it home and I was writhing in pain — my Mom tried to help me as best she could — tried to soothe the lump in my stomach (which the doctor said is gas build-up) and eventually that helped and I exhausted myself from crying — I really felt like I was at death’s door.
Today has been much better thank God; I’ve been reading a lot about how anxiety is linked to acid reflux and vice versa (acid reflux is a symptom of anxiety, then I become anxious that I will never see a new day/feel better, then the acid reflux gets worse, it becomes an endless cycle).
But there comes a tiny glimmer of hope after your acid reflux stabs you from the inside out. So for now, I’m gonna ride that glimmer out and feel better about myself.
I could feel sorry for myself and get pissed that the year I finally get it together and lose weight this happens. I could feel sorry for myself for not having a job, for not having insurance, for not being able to afford medical care — but I still won’t have it and I’ll feel even worse.
Or I could work harder. Keep going at my own pace. Embrace the fact that just like there will be bad days, I will have good days.