Somehow I made it through the holidays; every day cramping terribly after any meal other than breakfast. I barely ate anything, preferring to go hungry than to suffer with the pain. Homemade oatmeal seemed to be one of the best things that I could handle without hurting too much. As long as I ate very small amounts I did better than if I tried to eat full meals. It was like my stomach was just plain tired of working on digesting food.
The day after New Year’s I called the doctor’s office and went in to see him. After describing all my symptoms and experiences he told me that I probably had a slight case of “gastritis”. Gastritis simply means an inflammation of the stomach lining. He didn’t offer any clues or suggestions WHY I may have it. But he was quick to give me ten days of samples of Protonix. Protonix is a proton pump inhibitor which works in your stomach to shut down acid production. The makers of this drug also boast about its abilities to heal the stomach. Before sending me on my way, the doctor gave me a few suggestions on dietary changes until my stomach was better, although these things I had already been implementing on my own. He sent me off for some general blood work and an ultrasound on my gallbladder. I got the tests all done, and the doctor’s office did not call me to tell me that anything was out of order in any of the testing.
I began taking the Protonix and immediately felt an improvement. I certainly wasn’t having the stomach pains as severely. However, I did notice that some times after eating, it felt like the food was in my throat. But I was not having any acid reflux; just that funny feeling in my throat. I was elated to be eating again since I had quickly (as I usually do) lost quite a few pounds in just that one week.
My ten days of samples ran out, and I still wasn’t feeling all that great. My stomach was still giving me some trouble and things just did not feel like they were taken care of. So I went back to the doctor again. He suggested that he could send me to a gastroenterologist, and we agreed that we would allow my stomach one more week and see if it improved any. He sent me home with more days of Protonix samples. I took them all but still everything remained the same. I did not get acid reflux, occasionally felt the food in my throat, and my stomach still seemed to be struggling and giving me some pains.
To my great fortune, at the end of January, I had an appointment to go see my favorite nurse practitioner whom I visit for my womanly issues and exams. Immediately, she was very concerned about my weight loss since the last time I had seen her. I proceeded to explain to her what had been happening with my stomach. She began to offer various possibilities on WHY this could be happening; whether it could be food allergies, etc. She also discussed various tests we could have run to try to discover the reason for my problem. In the discussion she asked me if my doctor had run a Helicobacter Pylori test. I told her I was pretty certain he had not because I had looked at the blood work order and everything was just normal stuff. She also recommended to me the name of a gastroenterologist she liked and gave me a full prescription for more Protonix to carry me through until I could see the gastroenterologist. They drew my blood right there in the office and sent it off to the lab to be tested for H. Pylori. H. Pylori is a terrible bacteria which makes its home in your stomach and then proceeds to take over. It is the cause of a lot of people suffering from gastritis and ulcers.
A couple of days later the nurse practitioner called and told me that I most definitely was suffering from H. Pylori. A positive count was anything above 1.0. My count was over 8.0! No wonder my stomach was shutting down and I was suffering from gastritis. I called immediately to make an appointment with the referred gastroenterologist and was given an appointment six weeks away.
Anxiously waiting to be able to kill this stuff…