Friday, May 8, 2009

Stomach Woes

After last Thursday's booze fest I developed a raw, gnawing pain in my stomach. I thought it was just my body's normal reaction to too much alcohol. I constantly felt uncomfortable, and didn't know whether to eat or to fast. I couldn't work out, hence the "Lazy Slob" post. After 4 days went by with no improvement I decided to take it seriously. My symptoms were a lot like those of an ulcer. After work on Monday I went to the pharmacy and got licorice, Pepto Bismol and on a coworker's suggestion, Prilosec. Licorice is supposed to work wonders for an ailing stomach. (By the way there are a lot of interesting articles on the healing properties of licorice if you're interested: Life-Enhancement.com and University of Maryland Medical Center)

Monday night I decided to go to yoga, hoping I just needed some stress relief and a gentle workout to make me feel better. It worked until I laid down for bed, my stomach pain flared up and I was curled in a ball whimpering. Most of Wednesday I felt a lot better, and even had my first decent workout in awhile. I was planning on going to swimming, but when I left work my stomach had other plans. I became so nauseous and dizzy, the pain left me whimpering yet again. Thursday I took a half day at work so that I could go to the doctors. I told her about my situation and she said she thinks I have gastritis.

Gastritis: Gastritis is a term used to describe a group of conditions with one thing in common: inflammation of the lining of your stomach. The inflammation of gastritis is often the result of infection with the same bacterium that causes most stomach ulcers. However, other factors — such as traumatic injury, regular use of certain pain relievers or drinking too much alcohol — also can contribute to gastritis.

Gastritis may occur suddenly (acute gastritis) or it can occur slowly over time (chronic gastritis). In some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer. For most people, however, gastritis isn't serious and improves quickly with treatment. (MayoClinic.com)

Notice the "drinking too much alcohol" part of the definition. Yeah. So my doctor thinks I'm an alcoholic. I tried telling her I only drink too much once every couple of months but I think she didn't believe me. She even had the audacity to suggest AA. First of all, I don't drink every day, or even every week! On average I have 4 drinks over a month's time! The average person drinks more than I do. So she's either insane or thinks I'm lying, which I'm not. It hurt to have her suggest AA or therapy. Yes I have a problem sometimes stopping myself from going overboard, but honestly I don't drink when I'm depressed. Usually I'm in good spirits, in a "life's too short to worry!" kind of mood.

Yes, I used to drink a lot. And yes, I do have a problem on my hands if I don't control it. With my family history, I've been aware I'm on thin ice when it comes to alcohol. I've done an awesome job of controlling it these past two years and have come a long way. I can't believe one night has led to a flare up this bad. It has to be something else. It has to be stress or something. The other trigger is caffeine, which I pretty much abstain from. Every so often, like once a week, I'll treat myself to a chai soy latte. Yeah. I'm a rebel. When I researched what my diet should consist of to help recover, I found that my regular diet is the "poster diet" for people with gastritis. Rice, beans, vegetables, non-fat cottage cheese and yogurt, fruit, whole grains and plenty of water. That's what I eat, EVERYDAY!

Things I have to avoid for a month or so: alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, fried foods, pastries and junk food in general. So basically this gastritis is putting me on my best behavior. I'm trying to look at it as a good thing. Now instead of giving into my cravings for fries, chips and cookies, I can look at them and know it could hurt my stomach. I'm reevaluating my diet once again and trying to eliminate more junk and unnecessary fats. Once again I'm leaning towards a very lean diet with only yogurt and cottage cheese for animal products. I have a sensitive everything – mind, body and heart. The older I get the more precautions and care I take of myself to prevent illness and imbalance. I will probably be going back to yoga to help with dealing with stress and to get back in tune with my body. I plan on posting more about my diet and how I'm dealing with this minor set back in the near future.

2 comments:

maura May 11, 2009 at 12:50 PM  

often times, people will lie about their consumption of drugs and alcohol, so medical providers will automatically double that.
-- not saying you are lying-- but even when we are honest with our drs, they might be approaching us with previous experiences of folks under reporting.

do you have any helpful sites about diet and training?

hstryk May 11, 2009 at 2:27 PM  

Yeah I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm lying. I think next time I'll just halve the truth so she adjusts accordingly.

I plan on posting some diet/training info I've found extremely helpful soon!