Posts Tagged ‘crazy things that doctors have said to me’

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Hot Water Bottle Syndrome

February 26, 2010

About a year into experiencing mysterious digestive symptoms I also noticed that my belly was always kind of red and blotchy. The blotchiness doesn’t exactly come and go, but it does fluctuate in intensity, and it has a very specific shape – a lacy red ventricular pattern under the skin, like latticework. It is not raised, it doesn’t itch, it doesn’t hurt, etc. I never used to think of it as particularly noticeable to anyone but myself and my husband; I wore a 50’s style bikini to the pool a summer ago and I even took a burlesque class last fall and was completely more embarrassed about my flabby triceps than my blotchy belly. I have noticed however that it has gotten worse and worse in the past few months. I have wondered in the past if it had to do with using a heating pad so often; when I am not feeling well I even sleep with one, but it never seemed to go away, even in the months where I felt good gave the heating pad some much needed rest.

I asked my endo what she thought of it and she said she thought the surgeon who removed my gall bladder may have snipped something he wasn’t supposed to and screwed up the vascular system just a little bit. That sort of made sense but I wasn’t sure. I made a mental note to ask my new holistic, whom I love, but I forgot! I did some research on my own and thought that it looked a bit like livedo reticularis, but this condition usually occurred on the legs.

Last night was the first night in a while that I slept with the heating pad through the entire night – easy enough to do with the window cracked and the chill of the Blizzard of 2010 streaming in! I dreamed that I burnt my stomach and when I woke up, I actually had. Ouch! Then I noticed in the shower that the lacy pattern was bright, bright red, more pronounced than it had ever been! My husband immediately found a picture of something called Erythema ab igne online.

Erythema ab igne, or “Hot Water Bottle Syndrome” happens often after repeated exposure to heat or infrared radiation. Digging around through google image search and the online catalogue of many skin condition image collections, Erythema ab igne is the only one I’ve ever seen as frequently on the backs and bellies of patients as on the arms and legs. I am beyond sure that this is what is going on. I suppose I have been using the heating pad way too much, on too high heat. I think I have even desensitized myself to the heat because I recently bought a 2nd heating pad as the first one just wasn’t getting hot enough for me anymore. Really I think its probably common sense not to sleep with a heating pad but then again chronic pain is chronic pain and you do what you can to deal with it.

Needless to say I’m a little distraught. As if I haven’t been feeling ugly enough with the butterfly rash redness and the weight gain.  Worst case scenario, I must get it looked at and possibly biopsied to ensure that I don’t end up with skin cancer.* I often spend my entire day at work just dreaming about getting home and lying down with the heating pad. A far cry from dreaming about getting dressed in my cutest outfit and going out dancing with my friends, but c’est la vie. There is nothing else that makes the pain go away and it even helps with the bloating. Now I don’t know what I will be able to use for comfort except for castor oil packs, which will hopefully help.

Click here to read about a boy Chron’s Disease who has given himself erythema ab igne with a heating pad.

*I realize this sounds a little like the words of an alarmist who does nothing but spend way too much time diagnosing herself online but seriously. Wake up and look like this one day and WTF would you do?

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Pre-diabetes

January 8, 2010

Pretty much everything I knew about diet and nutrition before the SIBO came from vegan propaganda that I read and conversations with other people who worked at the health food store.* Once I got sick, I was on my own to figure out macronutrition and digestive science 101. Although it has all happened while I have kept this blog, the learning has been for the most part behind the scenes, mostly because I just want to help other people with SIBO; I don’t really want to play “teacher” or tell anyone what to eat, and there is a whole basic canon of human chemistry stuff that I just don’t know. I am just a normal person who got sick and had to figure out what to not put in my mouth so as to minimize my symptoms, because doctors and nutritionists were giving me crazy advice that wasn’t working, like don’t drink through a straw, and no more avocados. That is why, even with a meticulous tagging system, your average Year Without Cake reader doesn’t get rewarded with wikipedia-style information on fructose, and sugar and fat, even though from time to time, I have been known to know a few things about those things. I should work on that…

Right after I got sick it became plain that getting doctors to take me seriously and treat me with respect was hard enough as a woman with a digestive disorder, but that being a size 12 probably wasn’t helping either. That whole “You’re not bloated, you’re just fat” thing got old real fast. So I decided to lose weight, and I dug into the research on that topic too. And I’m still working  on figuring out how the metabolic stuff goes along with the digestive stuff. In fact, I’m only just now finishing up Good Calories, Bad Calories…I know I should have done so years ago….I don’t think the two are always related, but for me, what tends to cause digestive problems seems to also cause metabolism problems.

On Wednesday I got all my test results back from the health center, who promised to test my thyroid, my glucose, and many vitamins and minerals. Of course, everything was overwhelmingly normal….except one test. In addition to my frustration over the anything but comprehensive thyroid panel, I was shocked and dismayed to receive the news that with a fasting glucose score of 105, I am, by my lab’s reference ranges, just ever so slightly pre-diabetic.**

I know it is not a big deal, and having suspected that I’m PCOS for years and years I probably shouldn’t be surprised. But all the same, I feel a bit slapped in the face. Considering the lifestyle changes that I have made in these last two years or so with dropping the carbs and the sugar and eating so much more healthily and working out…Even if I find out the low cholesterol is really due to something else…my HDL just keeps going up and up and up. Even with the sudden weight gain, it went up another 10 points.

Maybe I should be glad that I made the changes that I did. Perhaps my state now, after suddenly gaining back 25 of the 35 pounds that I lost (due most likely to underactive thyroid and exhausted adrenals) and becoming sedentary again due to immense fatigue, is only reflecting a mere glance of what things might be like had I kept up my high-carb, size-12 vegan ways and not quit smoking and not started exercising to boot. Because that’s where I might be if I had never woken up with SIBO.

I got a referral to an endocrinologist and a gynecologist, based on this, my totally normal thyroid, and the transvaginal ultrasound, which showed some slight abnormalities, nothing I’m too worried about.

*This might be why I was never able to get down below a size 12 in my 20’s and I probably ruined my thyroid with metric tons of soy.

**My 2 hour glucose test results were normal.

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My Thyroid Tests (Take I)

January 8, 2010

Wednesday I got back the results of all the tests that the regular doc put in for me based on my holistic doc’s request. I am still waiting on my saliva test results for adrenal function, done at a different lab (and on my dime) and I will have to take the hormonal tests on the 21st. There are a few tests I may have to purchase from a lab on my own, depending on the events of the next few weeks. First of all a “comprehensive thyroid panel,”  at least at my health center, is far from comprehensive, and I think this is very important to know, in addition to knowing how dangerous it can be to depend soley on the TSH for diagnosis. My holistic doctor clearly asked for a free T3 and Reverse T3 test; my regular doctor took a look at his request and said ok.  What I got was:

TSH
Thyroxine (T4)
T3 Uptake
Thyroxine, Free (FT4)
Free T4 Index
T3 (Thyronine) Total

And everything was in range by the way; the Total T3 was at the bottom of the range, just as it was a year or so ago for my last thyroid panel. I asked where the Free T3 was and the doctor pointed to the T3 Uptake. I told her that wasn’t it and she pointed to the T3 Total. So I gave up and figured I would have to find and pay for the test on my own. It is confusing but here is what Dr. Kenneth Woliner says about the difference between Total T3 and Free T3:

Triiodothyronine (T3) is a thyroid hormone that circulates in blood almost completely bound (]99.5%) to carrier proteins. The main transport protein is thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG). However, only the free (unbound) portion of triiodothyronine (free T3) is believed to be responsible for the biological action. Furthermore, the concentrations of the carrier proteins are altered in many clinical conditions, such as pregnancy.

In normal thyroid function, as the concentrations of the carrier proteins changes, the total triiodothyronine level also changes, so that the free triiodothyronine concentration remains constant. (In an abnormally functioning thyroid, this is not necessarily so). Measurements of free triiodothyronine (Free T3) concentrations, therefore, correlate more reliably with your clinical status than total triiodothyronine (T3) levels.

Alien Robot Girl of Plant Poisons and Rotten Stuff sums it up beautifully in her latest post; I would refer you there if you are by any chance going through the same thing and in need of information about which tests are relevant.

I’m being referred to an endocrynologist, although I’m a bit surprised considering my normal test results. Its possibly due to the fasting glucose test, the results of which I will discuss in a separate post. This will be my first foray into endocrynology, considering I’ve always been denied my requests to see one in the past. There is a chance that she will take the Free and Reverse T3 for me but I am going to have to purchase them from an outside lab if she will not. And I am not expecting that she will. I would be experiencing high stress and anxiety now over the thought of the experience ahead of me, but I do not need to do so, considering that I have my holistic doctor working in earnest to actually figure out what is wrong with me, rather than trying to get me out of the office quickly and with the full weight of blame on my shoulders for all my physical ailments.

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A new doctor

December 29, 2009

I mentioned a few posts back that I was going to see a new doctor, but I didn’t elaborate on the events that led up to that decision. If you’ve been reading since the summer you’ll know that I’ve not just been dealing with what are typical SIBO symtpoms for me lately, bloating, diarrhea and body aches; in fact, although I have been dealing with these symptoms, I would say that they have not been at their worst lately. Rather what I have been experiencing is crushing fatigue, crazy nightmare monthly periods, a heightened frequency of syncope, muscle weakness, and between August and October I packed on 20 lbs (14 of those by the end of September) and this weight isn’t going anywhere.

In October I had gone to see my regular doc at the health center, to see if she had any suggestions on the fatigue. It is important to note that I recently requested my entire medical record from the center and one of the many things I was surprised to see is that there is no mention of SIBO in there at all, outside of doctors writing things like “Patient says she has “S.I.B.O”” or “She says she has bacterial infections in her digestive tract…” This is because the health center never has offered the breath test for SIBO, so I had to go outside the facilities to find a doctor in NYC who did. Even my gastro who offers me Xifaxan mentions the SIBO by proxy in his files on me, since he isn’t the one who diagnosed me with it. So really I was starting kind of fresh with this doctor’s visit, and that was fine by me. Turns out I had an even fresher start than I imagined, as my own doc was out sick that day and I saw someone entirely new. I told her I was fatigued and that I had gained weight. She put in a few tests for me – a Comprehensive Blood Panel (CBC) and a TSH test (one of the thyroid? hormones.) I also had a standing order for a B12 test from my gastroenterologist.

Of course everything came back within range. Some noteworthy figures – my cholesterol has gone down again and now sits at 169. My HDL has increased from 75 to 85. My blood pressure that day was 98/64. And I had a TSH of 1.9.

I am no thyroid expert, so I’ve been doing quite a lot of research lately and from what I can tell this is a great number. In fact, even in the world of lower ranges, healthy people, and thyroid patients doing well on the right medication, 1.9 seems to be a number where many people feel great, although some need to be as low as 1 to feel good. Historically, however, it is somewhat high for me. Back in July of 2007, at a weight of 177, before I started eating meat and exercising and dieting, my TSH was 2.06. A year later I was 20 lbs lighter and it was down to 1.72. This June, at my lightest (and most energetic) it was down to 1.32. Now 6 months later its at 1.9. Its funny having to get into a brand new field of research; I really don’t know if this type of fluctuation is considered negligible or if it is actually important. All I do know is that I felt very differently at each of these times.

And of course I am completely aware of the TSH is worthless theory, and I don’t say I knock it, but I always try and give conventional medicine the benefit of the doubt to start with anyway. More on this later.

So all the test results were good, everything was within range and only one indicator – the G-GTP, or Gamma-Glutamyltranserase, was at the bottom of the normal range (normal being 7 – 51, my result was 8.) I believe that G-GTP is a bilary enzyme. My B12 blood levels were actually high: 996, where my lab’s top number is 948. So the doctor gave me a clean bill of health and then stared at me blankly. Of course I was upset. Why in the world am I feeling so fatigued? She told me I was probably getting too much sleep and to get out of bed earlier. I asked her about the weight gain and she said nothing at all and kept writing in her book. I asked what I should do about the painful periods and she scheduled me for a transvaginal ultrasound and a chest x-ray.  

So much for a fresh start. We called the new doc, scheduled an appointment and started saving up for his consultation fee. And I’ll discuss his initial findings and the tests he ordered for me in the next post.

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The adventure of the very strange solution

February 17, 2008

This is what happens when one does not keep up with one’s blog. When one’s notes are strewn all over the place, in journals and notepads and one’s daily plate. I will attempt to recreate the best I can the events of the past few weeks.

I passed on the nutritionist’s request for hydrogen breath tests to my gastro. The tests we requested were for a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO,) fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, and sucrose intolerance, in that order, to be administered until a diagnosis is available. My doctor said he approved the tests, but I’d have to pass the request on to the union to find someone who would administer them because he just didn’t do it in his office.  This meant I had to put the ball in the court of my GP, the doctor who told me in December that I needed a really good shrink, because the problem was in my head. This led to a lot of trepidation and anxiety on my part, as I often relived the conversation that we had while holding for him on the phone. My mood had really lifted since the elimination diet – I’m convinced due to the sharp decrease in sugar intake, and it was difficult dealing with the anger of talking to this man again. In the meantime I did a lot of reading, on SIBO and on fructose intolerance. I got more and more interested in the carbohydrate connection involved in an overgrowth. Interestingly, I once had a gastro who tried Xifaxin on me. She gave me 200mg x 3 daily – I still haven’t bothered to pick up the Pimentel book (I really need to) but I don’t think this is even close to the dosage originally suggested. Besides, these days, doctors are experimenting with various courses of the drug – low doseage for a month, higher dosage for a few weeks. She also didn’t ask me to change my diet. When one has a SIBO, carbohydrates basically fuel the fire and encourage continued overgrowth, causing symptoms of abdominal distention and bloating, pain, diarrhea or constipation, as well as sugar cravings. The antibiotics did nothing except produce stool with lots of gas inside, and cause a little pain.

The doctor baited me several times – began to tell me how the test was academic, compared it once to a magic herbal drink that could possibly cure me. I kept my cool with multiple “thank you”s and abrupt “goodbye”s each time. At the end of it all, he claims he spoke with both the head doctor and the Brooklyn gastro in the attempt to identify a testing location and failed to find one, leaving me on my own. He would however, be happy to biopsy my small intestine. I know of course that while a biopsy will find all sorts of malabsorption issues, it will not find a SIBO. I told him I’d leave it up to my gastro and get back to him.

In the meantime, I’ve found Breaking the Vicious Cycle, and have finally begun to read it. I’ve been given “Let’s Get Well,” which I put down almost immediately after I read “Reducing is not for everyone.” Most importantly, I have found Emma Davies, and this post about her experience with the ketogenic, or Atkins diet.

I also picked up “5 Days To a Flatter Stomach,” and read through it. Things began to make sense. Carbohydrates seemed to be the key that ran through all of it.

5 Days
You eat oatmeal in the mornings and yogurt all day. You are grain, fructose and dairy-free until the evening, when you eat large meals of carbohydrates, pasta, potatoes, and fruits for desert. These things are consumed in the evening for their laxative effect – essentially you’re cleaned out by morning, ready to begin your next grain, fructose, and dairy-free day, that is until six o’clock, when you gorge on D-causing foods again. All the while you are exercising, both cardio and toning your belly with resistance bands and sit ups. The author of this book kind of denies that there is such a thing as celiac disease; otherwise it all makes great sense.

Atkins
You eat under 20 grams of carbohydrates each day for two weeks, kicking yourself into a ketogenic state, burning fat instead of your stored glycogen. You drop weight fast, rid yourself of carb cravings, and switch over your metabolism from one that runs on carbs to one that runs on fat. This diet depends on tons of meat and leafy green veggies, with moderate amounts of dairy. This diet includes very few problem foods for me (tomato, garlic)

Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
I will admit I didn’t read this one all the way through. I know the premise is Atkins-esque, but it is dairy and soy-free, and you are allowed certain carbs, I belive the more complex ones, all the ones I cannot eat.  This book provides a great explanation about why an overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria can cause an individual to lose the ability to process carbs, from simple to complex. This diet depends heavily on meat as you cannot even eat tofu like you can on the Atkins diet.

One thing was clear from the start. My ten years of vegetarianism were over. I didn’t know how I would do this considering that turkey breasts and pictures of happy seafood made me cry in public a few weeks ago, but there didn’t seem to be any way around it. It was a Friday night and I met my husband at our favorite vegan restaurant; we discussed a grocery list. I had a three-part plan. First I was going to do “5 days;” I didn’t think all the fruits and oats would sit well with me, but it would be a good way to bring out a true food intolerance. I realize now this was a funny way of thinking about a program that is so not vetted and based on any actual science, but I have to admit the plan seemed like a good one all around; folks on the internet gave it rave reviews. On Day 6 I would go into Atkins, and if that didn’t work I’d have little recourse except the SCD.

I was a little afraid of five whole days of bloating and discomfort from fruit bowls and oatmeal. Sometime before the whole grain bread and sweet potato spread even came out (we were not about to order from the gluten-free menu on this my last night of blithesome vegetarianism) something like “Fuck it, let’s just do Atkins” came out of my mouth and we built a grocery list of sausage, eggs and cheese for two. I ate an ice cream bar at home after my awesome but bloating vegetarian dinner of mushroom wraps and pinenuts and veggies in soy sauce with lettuce wraps. The total package for the evening blew me up to the tune of the normal extra five inches and I went to bed unhappy about eating animals but hopeful that I would never have to feel this way again. I weighed in Saturday morning at 169.4 pounds. It is not very scientific of me that I did not journal my foods and reactions over the weekend, but I mostly spent the time adjusting to the texture of meat and the absence of a bloated stomach. By Monday morning I had lost three pounds.

Mon. 2/11
166.6 lbs

Breakfast: one thin slice of cheddar, 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 oz crema, decaff coffee with half & half, bite of proscuitto
Lunch: chicken breast, creme fraiche, aioli, duck rillettes, tea with heavy cream
Snack: creme fraiche
Dinner: turkey patty, romaine lettuce, asparagus in olive oil
Late Snack: Devon cream

Tues, 2/12
166.4 lbs

Breakfast: 1 hardboiled egg, italian sausage, one thin slice of cheddar, 1/2 decaff coffee with heavy cream
Tea: stash decaf pumpkin, red vanilla tea with heavy cream
No lunch
Afternoon snack: 2 slices thin cheddar, 1 hard boiled egg, creme fraiche
Dinner: cod filet, broccoli with aioli, maple cheddar

Very itchy nose after dinner! Could this be from the broccoli? All that I can find that diferentiates broccoli from other veggies I’ve eaten lately are glutamates.

Late night snack: mineral water and devon cream

Wed, 2/13
166.8 lbs

1732 calories

Breakfast: 1/2 caf with heavy cream, 2 scrambled eggs with cheddar and proscuitto
Lunch: 5 oz herbed chicken breast, pumpkin tea with heavy cream

At 3:15 my supervisor came by to remind me that I had asked him if I could come by later in the afternoon to go over something. All of a sudden it totally seemed like I had been at the office for a million years. Spaciness? I thought I had been pretty on target today, getting work done pretty quickly.

Dinner: baked chicken thigh, pepperoni, cheddar cheese, spinach, celery stalk with cream cheese

Snack: Devon cream, mineral water

Thurs, 2/14
166.8 lbs
1375 calories

Breakfast: ham omlette with no cheese but I tracked a ham and cheese omlette on the Daily Plate, coffee with heavy cream
Lunch: asparagus, baked salmon, curry chicken salad (a bite) hard boiled egg, crema, 4 olives
Snack: asparagus

My husband and I celebrated Valentine’s Day at the gym! I spent 25 in the weight room and only 20 on the elliptical machine. I thought this would be all that I could do, but I really could have gone my normal 30

Dinner: filet mignon, spinach with salt and pepper, salad with viniagrette (diner in Greenpoint)
Snack: 2 celery stalks with duck rillettes, cheddar cheese

Unfortunately, this evening took an unfortunate turn. I wasn’t bloated after the gym, like usual, but after we ate at the restaurant there was some bloating. We decided eating out wasn’t really in the cards for us at the moment, and I spend the next few days wondering if I’m bloated because of unknown ingredients in my meals or because of my period which starts on Saturday and period-related problems

Fri, Feb 15
166lbs
1566 calories

Breakfast: Spinach and cheese omlette (tracked as ham and cheese,) coffee with heavy cream
Lunch: 3.5 oz chicken breast, crema, vanilla nut spice tea
Dinner: rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods, called “Simple Chicken,” spinach, aioli, celery stalk with cream cheese and cheddar

I tried out a Pilates tape I’d recently purchased and unlike my triumph at the gym, my two months of non-exercise caught up with me here. Also I laid my yoga mat out on the floor and it was way too thin given the painful knot that had popped up in my lower back to herald the coming of my period.

Saturday I stayed at 166 even. I bloat, in fact, I’m about as bloated as normal but I googled the ingredients in my Midol and two of them are suspect. Pre-gelatinized starch is not gluten free, and well, starchy. And microcrystalline cellulose is an intestinal irritant in large quantities. Okay, so two pills didn’t contain large quantities, but I am a person who blows up like a balloon and gets super cranky after half a donut or a few pieces of crystallized ginger so maybe I am sensitive. I start to take the prescription-strength Ibuprofin we have here at the house left over from when one of us pulled a muscle for the pain instead. The bloating goes down in a few hours, which is uncharacteristic. I’ve always had heavy periods, bad cramps that keep me home for at least the first day; I even used to vomit from the pain in high school. Frankly, I’m a little bummed to have cramps this bad this time around. I’ve been off processed foods and aspartame for two months. I haven’t smoked in six months. I have been nearly sugar-free the past month and a half, save for inbetween days here and there. As far as the implications of caffeine on my cramps, I didn’t drink coffee from 1998 – 2002, and besides, I really couldn’t tire more of hearing how bad one of the main ingredients in Midol is for cramps! Friday night we should have seen some friends, but I didn’t picture the my first time out as an omnivore I would be bloated and sitting with a heating pad on my tummy, so I stayed home. And out of frustration I had the husband pick up some Equal and I had a low-carb dessert. Then I had three gin and tonics. All in all, on Saturday I had 2190 calories. And on Sunday I still weigh 166.

Saturday I also cried for the animals I had eaten.

So the final verdict on the ketogenic diet and its effects on my meteorism (abdominal bloating and distention?)

There isn’t one. Diet is an iterative process. I’m terrified that “it’s not working anymore,” now that I’m bloating again. But if I want to be scientific at all, I have to admit several things about the bloating.

1. Its probably my period
2. Its probably my period
3. The duration is much shorter than normal
4. Its probably my period

So I’m just going to have to wait and see. My body should normalize by Tuesday or so, and we’ll take it from there. Meanwhile I’m going to keep up with the diet. I got five bloat-free days from this diet, which is five more than I have achieved through any other measure. And today I’m doing okay to boot, so far.

And how about the effects of a ketogenic diet on my weight loss efforts? Well, I didn’t expect the Monday through Sunday stall that I’ve had, but I have to admit that 3.5 pounds in nine days is pretty good for me. That’s about half the amount that I lost in four months of calorie counting on TDP and regular exercise. So again, I’ll keep it up for now.

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all round and emofree

January 30, 2008

Tonight I saw my nutritionist for a review of my detection diet journal. I was anxious to hear her take on it all. I had known since our last conversation that she didn’t doubt my suspicions of fructose/sugar intolerance, so I wanted to see what she thought about whatever else might have been bothering me.

I don’t think I mentioned it here, but I have done some more research on fructose, and found out that there are plenty of things I was eating during the elimination diet that could have been causing reactions, such as brown rice and even celery. Additionally, thanks to some google sessions over the weekend and during the first part of the week, I’ve come to feel comfortable with a more general diagnosis of carbohydrate intolerance, specifically intolerance to sugar. I also have a new plan to begin at the end of this week, which I will get to in a moment.

My nutritionist had a few recommendations for me. Unfortunately, one of them was to drink more water. I thought I made the disclaimer somewhere that I drank way too much water (80 – 100 oz per day) to write it down. I had a hard enough time journaling at all; I can’t imagine logging each bottle. I guess I didn’t though, because a whole page of my 12 page brief was on the importance of drinking water. I can’t blame her; I really should have written it down. Otherwise, she noted my need for digestive support, since on the few days that I drank some sort of cleansing tea, I had an elated mood. I told her that I would drink it more often but it was often too harsh for me and she said she would get back to me on suggestions for gentler cleansing teas. She recommended a hydrogen breath test which was great because I recently asked my gastro for one; he said it was an obscure test and he’d get it for me eventually but that it might take some time and investigation. He also wanted a note from the nutritionist specifying which test, because I’m an idiot, so now things are in the works for him to get one. I really don’t quite get why anyone would consider the test obscure, especially not a hip young gastrointerologist on the Upper East Side, but I guess nothing is relative. No different than the naturopath in Harlem who thought I should eat an apple everyday even if it hurt my stomach. Now that I’m taking this into my own hands, I just can’t justify the $50 spent at Whole Foods every third day, the tears, the separate dinners, the cravings fought off, etc. etc. on top of the two years of suffering, if I can’t get an equal effort back from the medical community.

Other suggestions were chlorella and keeping off the coffee. She also gave me a DVD on the Emotional Freedom Technique. I haven’t gotten a chance to explore it, but her demonstration in the office was fairly interesting. She asked me to focus on something that really made my blood boil. The thing is unfortunately this is super easy for me; I just have to picture my last visit to my new general practitioner at the union health center. This guy gently kept me in his office for nearly an hour and a quarter, all the while trying to convince me that my stomach problems were psychological in nature. He said there was nothing wrong with me functionally and since I wasn’t losing weight I obviously was not sick, but rather I just needed “a really good psychiatrist to help me get at the root of whatever deep-seated problem” was causing all of my symptoms. I can’t lie. Sadly this was when I still had the energy for working out, and I was netting 1500 – 1600 calories a day with weekly cardio, strength training and yoga and not losing a pound. It really boggles my mind that I sit in my cubicle all week with my master’s degree so brain-fogged and bloated and sore that I can hardly do my work while this guy makes God knows what to not even keep up with the latest research in his field.

So anyway, I pictured this Doctor. She asked me to say “Even though I’m really angry with this doctor, I’m fully accepting of myself.” About twelve times. Each time she had me tap on a different part of my face. Then I just repeated the phrase “angry at this doctor” over and over again whist tapping myself on the arm and hand. After a few minutes she asked me to relate on a scale from one to ten, how angry the doctor made me. After tapping myself silly I had to admit I wasn’t really angry at the doctor anymore. My husband asked me later in the train if the technique had really made me less angry. I told him that it had been so tactile and silly that I just wasn’t able to concentrate on being angry anymore, so yes, it actually had.

Last night we ordered Self-Help Way to Treat Colitis and Other IBS Disorders on Amazon. I read about the book on a celiac forum, and on a few other places – all anecdotal evidence; several people mentioned it helped them. The premise is that carbohydrate intolerance, specifically intolerance of fructose and lactose, are genuinely responsible for many cases of bowel disorder, and the author promotes a diet that excludes all sugar except minuscule amounts of table sugar, all dairy except yogurt, and fiber. I didn’t know about their instant “read online” upgrade for only a dollar fifty, so after my husband paid twice the price of the book to have it shipped in two days, I upgraded and started reading. Before he left me and the laptop for bed, we laughed about how it would be nice if for once we paid good money to read something completely new and fresh. Well, besides the premise, which despite being relatively fresh, is nowhere near being completely novel, the diet is incredibly different from anything of which I’ve yet heard. I’ll be making just a few tweaks (leaving things out, not adding them in – I’ve learned the hard way) and beginning it on Friday. Strangely this diet allows white bread and potatoes. I am not sure those things will work for me but I am excited about trying a diet that allows them to see if it suits me. Maybe it will just be a sugar-free, dairy-free week between elimination diets or maybe it will be sustainable. I’m just not sure at this point. I’ll be writing lots about the diet in the days to come.

Of course currently I haven’t exactly gone to Taco Bell or anything, but I have been eating all kinds of organic foods that I shouldn’t, like cheese and chocolate and a banana. Today I even had crystallized ginger in grain-sweetened chocolate. I am so paying for it now. Once the sugar bug was triggered, I couldn’t help myself. At my husband’s office after the nutritionist I stealthily managed five pieces of chocolate into my mouth before I realized what I was even doing. Now that I have empirical proof that what I eat does affect me the next day (and sometimes the next) I really have to work on abandoning the I already feel horrible so screw it mindset I’ve grown used to over the past two years. I’ve begun the habit of measuring my waist and hips each morning upon rising and each night before bed. I used to measure a lot, and take pictures, because I actually needed proof that I was dealing with abdominal distention when I went to see doctors. Until I started doing this, I got a less than pathetic response from physicians who probably just thought I didn’t know that I was overweight. Now I could care less what doctors think about my girth; I figure this type of information will serve me well the next time I’m eliminating. This morning I woke up three inches smaller in the waist and two and a half inches smaller in the hips than when I went to bed last night. Of course, this was not due to weight loss but rather the distention subsiding overnight. Now that its bedtime, the 5.5 inches are back!

I really need wheat, gluten, sugar and dairy-free breakfast ideas. Other than hardboiled eggs. After failing so hard on this diet, I wanted so badly to keep abstaining from soy, gluten and wheat; the main foods that I really never minded giving up. However, thinking about giving dairy up again I realized I would really need a substitute for cereals in the morning and for tea. I found Edensoy unsweetened soymilk tonight – the only ingredients are organic soybeans and water, and it tastes amazing.