I’m going to write a blog later all about the fun experience of preparing and getting these tests, but for now I just wanted to let everyone know the results. The best news is this: my colon was clear of any signs of colon cancer. It runs in both side of my family so I was worried about this! Is it vein that one of the first things I thought was “I just got my hair long again and now it is all going to fall out from cancer treatment!” Personally, I think it was a coping mechanism. It is way easier to think about losing your hair than it is to think about having cancer. I told my friend Molly this thought and she said if that happened, she would give me her hair. Isn’t she sweet?
The doctor saw a lot of swelling/inflammation in my stomach and lower esophagus. This is known as gastritis and esophagitis. They can cause a lot of pain, so that explains my abdominal pain. She suspects I had a bleeding ulcer and that is what caused the initial bleeding I had about 6 weeks ago. I have been taking Prilosec since then, so it would have healed. She thinks the bleeding lately came from internal hemorrhoids. All a hemorrhoid is, is a swollen vein. When it becomes irritated, it can bleed. Since it isn’t causing me pain or anything, it isn’t a big deal. Almost half of all people will experience a hemorrhoid in their life.
So the main current GI issues are gastritis and esophagitis. There’s so many things that can cause these problems. The gastritis could be from stress. At the end of January, I definitely was under a HUGE amount of stress. I think it is pretty impressive my life was so stressful it potentially caused internal bleeding! Something that isn’t helping the inflammation is the pint of tomato juice I drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, before taking all my medications. She said while this wouldn’t have caused gastritis, it could be irritating the condition.The esophagitis could be acid reflux, or could just be the fact I lay down so much because of POTS. When I lay down, it allows the stomach acids to sneak back up into my lower esophagus. She said I should be upright for 2 hours after eating. I am pretty sure the issue is lying down and not acid reflux because I never get heartburn or feel any acid coming up my throat.
Her suggestion (if I couldn’t just not drink tomato juice) for treating the gastritis is to take Prilosec on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning. I didn’t know to take Prilosec on an empty stomach. Apparently it makes it work significantly better than when taken with or after food. Half an hour after taking Prilosec, I can drink my tomato juice but it must be with food. This all should help my stomach offset the acidity of the tomato juice and not make the gastritis worse. I refuse to just not drink tomato juice because it makes me feel so much better. Days when I don’t have it, I can tell a huge difference. I don’t want to drink Gatorade because the Mayo Clinic doctors said the simple carbohydrates worsen inflammation in the body. I don’t need that. I don’t want to drink “diet” Gatorade (G2) because I think all of the chemical in diet drinks are dangerous. I could very easily go on a rant about all the reasons diet drinks are terrible, but I’ll save that for another day. Broth isn’t really cost effective and salt pills (according to May Clinic doctor) don’t work as effectively as getting the salt from food does. I’m pretty sure that once the gastritis is cleared up, I can quit taking Prilosec and just make sure I eat food with the tomato juice. Another rant I’d like to go on is the dangers of low stomach acid and how the fact I am LOWERING the amount of acid in my stomach really bothers me. Again, I’ll save it for another day.
Like I said, for the esophagitis she suggested ensuring I’m upright for 2 hours after eating. I explained how it is pretty difficult for me to remain upright for this long after eating. Being upright is always difficult for someone with POTS, but especially so after eating. Eating sends a bunch of blood to the stomach for digestion, causing an increase in POTS symptoms. The only way to really relieve the symptoms (other than of course small meals), is to lay flat to help the blood circulate. She suggested a recliner. I could do that, or at the very least, prop up my upper body with pillows. I definitely will need to plan my day around when I eat so I can be sure I’ll be able to be upright for that long after eating.
All in all, good news! There’s nothing majorly wrong with me. She took a couple of biopsies. I’ll get those results in a few weeks. Oh, and the best news? She said I could take Propanolol as she doubt it had anything to do with my developing all these problems. Yay!
Update: Jake’s Mom just said we can have a recliner she’s had in her basement. Thanks Lori!