Friday, January 28, 2011

Bellyaches: I'm Not Out of the Woods Just Yet

Just when I thought my gastritis was healing nicely and behaving well, the bellyaches started up again, even though I'm still faithfully taking my Dexilant every morning.  The ironic thing is that just last Monday, I called into the wonderful gastroenterologist who prescribed the Dexilant for me and reported how great I've been feeling.  He told me to keep taking the proton pump inhibitor for another month, and if I still feel well, to start tapering off by taking it every other day, then every three days, etc. and see if I can get off the drug.  He warned me that, unfortunately, most patients do start to see a return of symptoms as the dose decreases, so I should make sure I note any changes in how I'm feeling. 

But I haven't even started decreasing and I'm starting to feel kind of icky again.  Luckily, I haven't had the dramatic bloating and cramping episodes in the past few days (thus far), but I've awakened with moderate abdominal discomfort, sometimes with headache, sometimes with nausea. 

It started with a restless night on Wednesday morning.  I have been able to sleep relatively well (for me) about a month before this all started up again.  But Wednesday morning, I felt miserable and had to call in sick.  I had a busy day planned for Thursday and went ahead with it all, despite feeling worse than my usual level.  And today I managed to drag myself to work despite feeling a bit distracted with pain and discomfort of various kinds.  I have plans to see my parents tonight, too.  Even though I am not really up to a social visit tonight, I'm going to force myself through it because they haven't seen me since Thanksgiving and are begging to see me. 

The worst part about the bellyaches being back is the worry that the gastritis isn't healed, or that the reason I developed gastritis has not been addressed and perhaps it's getting more agressive to compensate for the lower acid levels from the Dexilant. I still worry about that faulty gallbladder of mine and whether it's the cause or just another effect of something else going on. Will I need to change meds?  Will I have to start thinking about the possibility of removing my gallbladder again?  The mysteries of my own body continue to confound me.

In the meantime, I need to cope.  I feel like I've dropped the ball on my coping mechanisms.  Am I forgetting some lesson that I'd learned earlier?  I am still keeping up the baby steps workout (I'm on week 10 now!) despite my symptoms.  Perhaps I need to remember how to pace myself again.  I have been busy for the past couple of weeks with extra commitments and things.  Maybe I need to take the weekend off and try to relax a bit so I can recover for Monday. 

What a life!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week 8 of Baby Steps

I'm on week 8 of the Baby Steps workout routine and still making it, despite crazy fatigue and feeling blah.

Here is a photo of my little notes (along with some of my friends: Wellington the bear, Chiki the monkey, and "the Lion" who gets hidden by Don or me for the other one to find) that I posted on my bedroom mirror to remind me to do my exercises each day.  I add an increment each week, draw a large number, write the date range for the week on top, and just stick it on top of the others.  (Yes, it's getting thick.) 

I'm also noticing a few quirky things that may or may not have to do with my increasing my exercises.  

When I turn over in bed or try to get comfortable in a new position, once I settle, I notice I get these muscle twitches in my torso.  This is the first time I've been able to associate any of my muscle twitches to anything I've done or that happens to my body.  I still get the random twitches everywhere else - arm, eye, lip, leg, toe, butt - but when I am turning around and settling into the bed or the couch, I am now noticing that almost every time, I end up with muscle twitches that occur in the torso area, usually on the sides of my stomach.

Also, the heart palpitations are back.  I used to get very infrequent episodes of my heart pounding and beating incorrectly (tachycardia) that sometimes lasted for hours.  When I tried to capture an episode or two on a heart monitor I wore for a month last year, (after seeing a heart specialist for this,) nothing happened, so we don't know exactly what kind of issue is occurring.  However, over the years, I've had my heart checked out via ultrasound and even did a stress test and everything turned out okay, test-wise, so apparently these are benign episodes, though they can be very distracting and unsettling if they go on long.  

So what I'm noticing recently is that when I wake up or for no apparent reason sometimes, I notice my heart beating incorrectly and quickly for just a few seconds before returning to normal while I concentrate on breathing and focus on a normal heartbeat.  These are occurring daily or more frequently these days, and I'm not sure if it is coincidence, or perhaps my trying to increase my muscle mass is causing some sort of electrolyte or other chemical imbalance or something, due to the needs of my muscles.  Perhaps I'll do some research and see if a supplement can help me with this.

Another thing going on lately is lots of dizziness and feelings of presyncope, especially in the mornings and while moving my head or even just my eyes.   I get myself to work and step off the elevator to get to my desk.  All the while, each time I turn a corner, I feel like I might faint.  I've never fainted, so I don't know if there's any danger of actually fainting, but the feeling is there.  Needless to say, I'm not myself until my body settles down a bit and I can focus on other things.

At any rate, I'm still moving forward on my exercise goals.  Hopefully, once I get stronger, I'll have increased my metabolism and built up my endurance a bit.  Then I can get serious about losing some fat and maybe getting into some of my smaller pants sizes again.  Dare to dream...

Monday, January 3, 2011

No More Bellyaching!

I'm thrilled to report that I seem to be done having the regular bellyaches, cramps, and bloating that have been going on since August of last year.  DONE!  I have my new gastroenterologist to thank, my niece for recommending him to me, and the drug that the doctor prescribed for me - Dexilant.  It's a proton pump inhibitor that is reducing the acid in my stomach, which appears to be at least a contributing factor in both my gastritis and aches.  

As a bonus, my recent throat-clearing and coughing issues seem to be somewhat more manageable, though not cured completely.  They are at least more productive than before.  I'm still oddly very tired most days, even though I try not to do much if possible, but without having to deal with the belly episodes every day, I feel very grateful and much better. I'm hoping the trend continues and that talk of any gallbladder removal surgery becomes moot.