It started with a platter of aged cheeses and a bottle of wine.
In August 2008 my two gorgeous friends and I ventured to a little town called Independence, Oregon for a much needed Girls Weekend. We sat on the vast wraparound porch of the Victorian Independence B&B. The sun set behind the trees. The candles flickered. We laughed, chatted and consumed ungodly amounts of cheese paired with apples and pears perfect enough to be featured on a Harry and David billboard.
That’s when I felt it – a pinch under my right rib cage. I immediately stood up and pointed to the spot. “What organ is right here,” I demanded. Dumbfounded, they looked at me. I assumed they would know; they were after all more experienced in the medical field than I, a humble Journalism Major. The CNA and the veterinary assistant continued to stare. I explained to them my reasoning behind the random question. “Oh um, not sure,” they responded. No help.
Since the beginning, the pain has only gotten more intense. I’ve seen 5 doctors; had two ultra sounds; a CAT scan; a HIDDA scan; and my most recent adventure, an upper endoscopy. I’ve been told it could be gallbladder disease (most obvious), IBS (eh? could be), renal disease (not-at-all-likely), my liver (nope), and heartburn (really? please). I’ve also had family and friends give me their two cents, including a parasite (maybe).
Also, around the same time I developed extreme bouts of fatigue, irritability, weight gain, and inability to lose weight. There was a time in 2009 when I faced another medical issue, which may or may not be related. This particular issue (a hormonal issue) lasted about 6-7 weeks and I swear to you on my grandmother’s incredible enchiladas my pain went away during that time. I’ve told a couple doctors about my suspicions that something is up with my hormones, which is affecting my digestive system. They just looked at me like I was crazy and told me to stop researching stuff online. “Listen, when you come up with an answer, I will stop researching.” I didn’t say that, but wanted to.
A word about my research: I’ve discovered Hypothyroidism can cause gallbladder problems. A word about my family history: All the women on my mom’s side of the family have thyroid problems. A word about Occam’s Razor: It’s the theory that basically states, “all things considering, the most obvious answer is probably the right one.” I’m just saying.
Maybe it’s not gallbladder disease or hypothyroidism. Maybe it’s a pinched nerve and there is a massively painful response being sent from my periphery to my CNS (you know, the brain and all that stuff). All I know is I am tired and in pain. Honestly, if I had to describe the pain during a flare up it might be equivalent to a firey-hot blunt knife being stabbed into my side and twisted. I’ve spent many nights crying and wondering if I would wake up the next morning. I am not exaggerating about the emo thoughts, either.
On a lighter note, though I still have mild pain and some medium to really painful jolts during the day, I’ve avoided a full on kill-me-know-I-want-to-die flare-up for a month. I believe with all my heart this has been attributed to restricting certain foods, herbal supplements and yoga. Let’s not forget, God, who has definitely had a part in my healing process.
Part 2 will be all about the foods I am eating (rather the foods I am not eating, cause there are more of those), the supplements I’m taking and all the other preventative tools I have in my toolbox.
Loves and Hugs.
–Shawnee, The Ex-Perfectionist