#GoTheDist 2016

Stephen King wrote in his book "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,"  "You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will." (emphasis added)  He called this a "permission slip." Couple this with Ranier Maria Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet" (which I talk about here) and the whole picture emerges:  when faced with the questions of who we are and what we want to be, we need to harness our passion (Rilke's "I must"), couple it with the strength of our heart (courage), and not get in the way of our own potential.

Excuses become victories to overcome.
Obstacles become challenges to meet head-on.
Failures aren't disasters, but stepping stones.

That last one is important.  I know so many people who are afraid to evolve, to try new things, to go new places, to meet new people because they fear the failures that may await outside of their comfort zone.  That's an oppressive way to live -- and it's self-inflicted!  There's such great freedom in detaching yourself from expectations (of failure or even success).  It a beautiful blank canvas where anything can happen (Bob Ross: "We don't make mistakes: we have happy accidents"). 

#GoTheDist 2016's theme hopes to inspire and encourage the greatness that is within all of us.

Are you ready?

How to Join #GoTheDist 2016


A few months ago, I wrote about my fun trip to the hospital because of abdominal pain that I was feeling.
9/1 & 9/2 - Hospital
Bloodwork, Ultrasound, CT, HIDA (nuclear test of gallbladder function). Left hospital with anti-nausea meds (Bentyl and Zofran). They recommended a follow-up with a gastroenterologist. 

9/11 - went to Dr. C.; didn't have best impression of him (he didnt even touch me/investigate during first exam). Gave me trials of Dexilant (GERD meds) but no prescription. Recommended that I take Prilosec (over the counter anti reflux meds). Scheduled me for endoscopy.

10/9 - Upper GI Endoscopy (EGD) (camera down my throat to view esophagus, stomach, and duodenum).  Revealed irritation (erythema) consistent with gastritis/reflux. Biopsies taken during EGD came back negative for ulcers, cancer (Barrett's Syndrome), Crohn's, celiac, and Heliobacter pylori.

I pretty much was throwing up every day or every other day in September and October. I am on a low acid/low-to-no fat diet (with a few other nos: caffeine, alcohol, gum, onions).

took a nap under a Geiger counter. 
11/5 - went to new doc (Dr. Z). He prescribes a stronger anti-reflux meds and a gastric emptying test. Stronger anti-reflux meds help for the most part. I only throw up about once a week now and it is largely based on me and my diet. Drinking too many liquids is usual the culprit.

11/18 - Gastric Emptying Study (see photos) (eat some radioactive eggs and see how long it takes to move through upper GI). Just got the results and they are normal. This rules out gastroparesis (slow motility of stomach)

12/14 - follow up with Dr. Z.  [Edit:  we talked about life since on omeprazole -- which has been better, but not perfect.  I'm still waking up with acid in my esophagus.  He's prescribing something for overnight.  We talked about my diet. He said that I should be able to eat some of the restricted food groups in small portions, but I told him that I've not had any luck with that.  I still have the pain on my right side.  He said at this point it might be musculoskeletal (i'm dubious about this...).  But that there are more tests we can do that could help figure out what's going on (and could also help determine if it's musculoskeletal) -- an endoscopic ultrasound and an MRI.  If those prove to be inconclusive, it may be the time to talk to a surgeon.]

During all of this, I had a ton of stuff going on at work as well as an office move.
Thanksgiving made me terribly sad cause it is my favorite holiday and I couldn't eat my favorite foods so I didn't go. Glad I didn't go. Spent most of the day in bed crying between trips to throw up.

I have been really frustrated because it is 3.5 months later and we are no closer to a diagnosis. Chronic pain (back) + chronic illness (gut) has been a really tough one-two combination. Feeling beat up is an understatement.

As drinking liquids tends to trigger my nausea (no matter how slowly I drink), I have been operating pretty dehydrated and this hasn't been good for my back. I tried holiday shopping yesterday and after 30 minutes and one bus ride I was already limping (and was without my cane).

I spend a lot of time in bed because I have no energy or desire to engage in life any more than I have to. At least Jack is a cuddle monster.

I had myself a good cathartic cry yesterday. I know many people in the world have a harder life than I do -- no doctors, no medicine, no sick leave from work, no insurance, no cuddly cat, no warm bed, no roof.... but as people keep asking me what I want for the holidays, it is abundantly clear that I don't want or need trinkets. I just want my health.