The Lost Month of April

What is it they say about best laid plans?  Well, I had every intention of getting this blog going, but I got sick and the last thing I wanted to do is sit in front of a computer at night and write.  I just wanted to be a slug on the sofa…well, when I wasn’t running to the bathroom, that is.

About two months ago I figured out I am lactose intolerant.  Not a big deal, really, and actually quite a relief – I had been getting really ill after dinner nearly every night for the last  several years and couldn’t figure out why.  It would start about an hour or so after dinner and last for a few hours, but sometimes it would continue all night, even after I went to bed.  I thought I had IBS and it was just something I was going to have to live with.  One evening, during one of my “episodes”, as I came to call them, I was googling my symptoms hoping to find…well, I don’t really know what I expected to find, since I had googled my symptoms many times before, which is what led to my self-diagnosis of IBS.  One of the web page summaries caught my eye because the symptoms were exactly what I was experiencing – especially the rolling and gurgling feeling in my abdomen.  It was the summary for a site about lactose intolerance.  I had never thought about it before, but then it was like a lightbulb went off in my head –  the one thing I have nearly every day at dinner is a big glass of milk! 

The next day I bought lactose-free milk and lactase tablets to take when I eat anything with dairy, and it was like a miracle.  For the first time in years I wasn’t sick all evening long!   It’s amazing that with all the time I spent trying to figure out what food I might be eating that would be causing such gastric distress, it ends up being something I have been drinking just about 95% of the days I’ve been on this planet.

Everything was going along swimmingly until a month later, when I got sick again.  This time I knew it wasn’t because of milk because I was faithfully taking the lactase tablets and drinking the lactose-free milk.  It actually felt like a stomach flu coming on. so I took the day off work and waited to get knocked off my feet, but it never happened.  But the stomach issues continuted and eventually got so bad I was spending most of my time in the bathroom.  It was really disruptive at work and I became nervous when I had to be in a car for any length of time, like, say, my daily 30-mile (one way) commute to and from work!  So off to the doctor I go – she said it might be a virus or food poisoning (!) and ran a bunch of tests, which ended up showing…nothing.  Zip.  Zero.  Nada.  Everything came back negative!  According to the tests, there was essentially nothing wrong with me.   My doctor couldn’t explain why nothing showed up on the tests, but didn’t think there was any reason for more invasive tests at that point.  She said if it doesn’t go away in a few weeks to come back for more testing.

Last week I finally began seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m still not 100%, but I am much, much better than I was.

I still have the topics in mind that I did before I got sick, and I’ll be writing on them over the next few weeks.  I promise.  Really.

Photo by Jeroen van Oostrom

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