Saturday, October 18, 2014

You're a pain in the colon!

Actually, the doctor says my pain comes from my stomach. Though, that was simply based on a push-and-go method. You know, she put pressure around my abdomen and asked where it felt tender or painful. The painful area was around the stomach. So, there you go. Stomach cancer... or ulcers, I suppose. Maybe just my diet. But I'm going to assume tumours, unless otherwise informed. Makes things sound more exciting.

I was asked if I could write a description of my pain and woes as a blog. For the most part, I avoid discussing physical pain, as we all have some sort, and in the bigger picture, it's usually not a huge deal. I guess my stomach pains are the most I've ever been affected by a physical pain, though. This also forces me to talk exclusively about myself, which may have been the idea. In which case, boo on you.

Just because I am stubborn, I will aim to distance this blog about MY pain from ME as much as possible.

First of all, let's discuss the different symptoms of all those thingies I mentioned....

1 - Stomach cancer :
In the early stages of stomach cancer, you may have:
Indigestion and stomach discomfort
A bloated feeling after eating
Mild nausea
Loss of appetite

In more advanced cancer, you may have:
Discomfort in the upper or middle part of the abdomen.
Blood in the stool
Vomiting or vomiting blood.
Weight loss.
Pain or bloating in the stomach after eating.
Weakness or fatigue associated with mild anemia

Chances I have stomach cancer: Pretty much, no chance. It's typically found in Japanese coal-mining men over 70 with a family history.
Last I checked, none of those apply to me. BUT, the early symptoms sound very familiar!

2- Ulcers :
A gnawing or burning pain in the middle or upper stomach between meals or at night
Nausea or vomiting

In severe cases, symptoms can include:
Dark or black stool (due to bleeding)
Vomiting blood (that can look like "coffee-grounds")
Weight loss
Severe pain in the mid to upper abdomen

Chances I have ulcers: Fairly high, since it runs in my family. However, I tried the medication, and it did nothing. But ulcers are common in Ashkenazi Jews, as is Crohn's and, well, pretty much any stomach issue.

3- Crohn's disease :
Fever and fatigue.
Abdominal pain and cramping.
Blood in your stool.
Mouth sores.
Reduced appetite and weight loss.
Perianal disease.

People with severe Crohn's disease may also experience:
Inflammation of skin, eyes and joints
Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
Delayed growth or sexual development, in children

Chances I have Crohn's: Fairly low, since the pain would not stem from the stomach, as mine does. However, the pain test was not very scientific, so who knows what we'll find. The benefit of Crohn's is that, though there is no cure, there are treatments and, like, sympathy. If I just have IBS, no one cares and there's nothing I could do about it.

4- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) :
Abdominal pain or cramping
A bloated feeling
Diarrhea or constipation
Mucus in the stool

Chances I have IBS: Middle of the road. I have been informally diagnosed with it before without tests or anything. The doctor just said it's probably the issue. Although, mucus in the stool sounds like the most horrifying thing in the world. I never want to know what that looks like. That is probably the worst thought a human (or body) could conceive of. "Hey, let's just take the two most disgusting human things, put them together, and inflict it on someone." Now, this could very well be my issue, but, as I said, it's just as painful as the other stuff, so I may as well have something unpleasant but treatable!

There are probably other options out there, but these are the four usual suspects. It's funny, I am NOT the type to go to the doctor. I rarely went as a kid, and I just never felt things were bad enough or worth the time. However, I've had to run to the hospital for this pain, I've canceled a million plans because of this pain (though, no one ever believes that excuse), and it's become very difficult to focus in class or on work when I am going through the pains, so, I knew it was time to deal with it. Of course, it's taking forever, but it's better than not bothering at all!

I guess one thing I've gained from my stomach issues is the ability to focus on everything I do. I no longer take my healthy days for granted. They've become uncommon, so when I am not in pain, I make sure I get out of the house and go somewhere interesting and fun. I also always know what I'm eating, how fast I'm eating, and I'm very conscious of what hurts and what helps. Or, I try to be. It can be hard to tell. Not to mention, I'm really good at falling asleep on the bathroom floor. Ya know, because sometimes the time is NOW, and you do not want to be in the wrong room.

While whatever I am dealing with is not the worst affliction ever, it does affect me and it does affect my life, so, of course, my answer is, JOKES! That's what I do. It's not everyone's first choice. And, I try to be appropriate about things, particularly since I blush easily. But sometimes the only way to get through a rough night is to joke about it.

One day there will be a movie:

There are two lovers lying under the stars, looking deep into each other's eyes, the lighting is perfect, the temperature is perfect, the moment is perfect... and then she doubles-over in pain and runs to the bathroom for half an hour. She comes skipping in afterwards and giggles, "I need to borrow a pair of pants, babe."


Our heroine is exploring the forest with knife in hand. She's ready to fight anyone or anything that comes along. Suddenly, her stomach starts gurgling. "Not now!" she whispers.
On she goes. Seeking out Dr. Badguy. Killing snakes and bears and whales along the way. Then her stomach gurgles and growls again.
"Oh, no."
She runs and runs, trying to find her way to the end of the forest. She can't be caught pants down, she can't be found so vulnerable. She runs, and then walks and tries to remain calm. She's now waddling. She's now holding back a single tear that has formed from squeezing her buttocks so tight. Then she sees it; a heavenly and divine bush to crouch behind. She jumps behind it and finds sweet relief. That is, until she looks beside her and sees her foot sliding down towards 30 feet below, where there is a running stream. Pushing herself out of the slipping dirt patch, she jumps back out. Nearly having broken an arm or leg or her neck, she realizes, she hadn't made it entirely in time. She runs back home, finds her mother, and giggles, "I need to borrow a pair of pants, mom."

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