My stomach doesn’t work anymore.

One day everything was great. I was eating real food and drinking some real drinks like a champ and just having a grand ole time, totally taking my stomach for granted, and the next day it packed its bags and headed out of town. All of a sudden everything I ate made me sick for hours on end. Sometimes even having a few sips of water was like buying a ticket on the Barf Express (which is like the Hogwarts Express but the only snack you can buy are the barf-flavoured jelly beans).

My doctor said it was H. Pylori and Peptic Ulcer disease. So she piled a bunch of antibiotics into my lap and told me they would make it go away. Only they made everything worse. To the point where I have had nights of barfing more than 40-50 times in a few hours. Too much info, right? Who cares, I’m the editor here! *maniacal laugh*

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I didn’t need any of these.

One night after reaching barf number 26 or 27 I decided I was dying and had Boyfriend drop me off at the hospital. I walked in, bawling my eyes out, and told the triage nurse this is what death feels like and to please stop the death feelings from happening. They immediately brought me back into the emergency department and I thought “yes, finally! They will realize my organs are shutting down or that I have some sort of mutant virus and they will keep me in the hospital until I am all better!” So they hooked me up to an IV bag full of gravol. And then I kept making them unhook me so I could go barf. And they realized the gravol wasn’t working so they hooked me up to morphine. And halfway through the morphine I finally stopped barfing because I was mostly unconscious. And as soon as the morphine drip was over they woke me up and kicked me out of the hospital. Said my tests came back fine so I should be okay. I really wanted to respond with “IS THIS WHAT OKAY LOOKS LIKE TO YOU?!” but I was on a lot of morphine so I said something like “otay thanks saaaah much fer fixing meeeee” and stumbled back into my bed at home.

Sometimes I’m so sick that my brain kind of stops working and I think it’s a good idea to turn to my phone for answers. One night on the bathroom floor I asked Siri “can my stomach explode?” But all she did was direct me to a Yahoo Answers forum about drinking diet coke and eating mentos, so she clearly needs to work on her medical degree. I’ve also been laying in bed googling things like “please god make me stop barfing.” And that sent me to really helpful tips like “If drinking water makes you puke, stop drinking water.”

An accurate labelling of my digestive system.

Because I’m mostly a rational human being, after googling things like “How to not die from barfing” I usually make a doctors appointment or go to the hospital. So I’ve been to the hospital several times and my family doctor a bunch more, but I mostly get shrugged at. I’m really used to the autoimmune disease shrug – that look a doctor gives to you when you present with 6 million different symptoms and you have this sad, pitiful look on your face like this doctor sitting in front of you is the only person standing between you and rock bottom. Naturally a doctor’s response to that is to close one eye like they are thinking really hard and then to throw their arms up in a shrug. “You’re a tricky one!” they say. “No shit,” I think. So that’s the look I’m getting all over again when I tell doctors that food and water are now my mortal enemies. At least Siri provides a couple helpful websites.

I’m very used to getting that shrug when it comes to my legs not working properly. And honestly, compared to the stomach problems I’ve been having, I have decided I would much rather have a stomach than legs. One night when I was really sick I remember rolling around on my bed and Boyfriend was trying to comfort me. I looked up at him and said something like “THEY CAN TAKE MY LEGS! JUST LET ME STOP BARFING!” I’m pretty sure it isn’t an either/or situation so I probably don’t have to lose my legs to get a functioning digestive system back, but I seemed very adamant about that.

Last Wednesday was one of those “JUST TAKE MY LEGS!” nights where having 3 sips of tea made me the sickest person ever. I was all packed and ready to go to Fan Expo in Toronto. Our flight was very early Thursday morning so I had my alarm set to wake up at 3:30 am. Around 6:30 pm Barf Express made its way into the station and I proceeded to throw up until 2 am. I thought I was dying and several times I did contemplate going to the hospital but I kept telling myself that I would hate myself forever if my barfing stood in the way of Boyfriend meeting Stan Lee. I kept reminding myself “If Stan Lee, who is like 95 years old, can fly to Toronto for Fan Expo, so can you, Lisa!” That did very little to help because for all I know Stan Lee has a very healthy gastrointestinal tract.

Luckily I got an hour sleep before heading to the airport and my stomach felt more or less normal on the plane. I started feeling optimistic that I would be able to have a normal weekend vacation with Boyfriend. And then as soon as the optimism hit me I started getting sick again. So I ended up spending most of the weekend in the hotel bathroom laying on the floor, staring up and asking the ceiling “WHY ME?!” The ceiling didn’t give me a proper response.

I managed to see some celebrities on my list. But the only reason I was able to stand up long enough to get pics with them was because I was overdosing hardcore on Rolaids (and also because I had a cane to lean on when the crippling stomach pain would creep in). I was terrified to eat real food the entire weekend so I came up with this clever diet of Rolaids and Life Savers. Boyfriend was walking around eating all the hot dogs and I would unwrap a little yellow Life Saver and pretend it was a hot dog and that I didn’t hate yellow Life Savers. The Life Saver candies definitely lived up to their name this weekend. I figured that eating them would give me just enough sugar so that I probably wouldn’t pass out on the convention centre floor and be walked over by 6 thousand Star Wars fans dressed as Storm Troopers. So I ate those when I was hungry and in between the Life Savers I snacked on fruit flavoured Rolaids, because it’s important to have fruit in your diet. Any time my stomach would start burning so much that it felt like it would actually burn a hole straight through my back I just popped the Rolaids and tried my best to not run away to the hotel bathroom. But of course that didn’t always work because my god what a stupid plan it was. So I missed some really cool panels and chances to get selfies with the likes of King Joffrey and Will from Will & Grace. But I survived the weekend! And was only in miserable horrible agony 80-85% of the time. Successful vacation!

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Boyfriend managed to meet Stan Lee. Mission complete. Take that, stomach!

 

I went back to the doctor yesterday and my opening line was “I know that it doesn’t sound that bad by talking to me because I downplay everything, but this is very bad and I am not sure how much longer I will survive, because I don’t have any of this so called ‘nutrients’ anymore.” So now I get to see a specialist who will stick a giant tube down my throat and have a looksie through my digestive system.

Yesterday was a half decent day though. So part of me is really hoping the antibiotics I was on for absolutely no reason decided to unleash an army inside my stomach and pillage everything good from inside me. At least then there is some chance of my stomach opening its little stomach arms and welcoming food back into its little stomach family. I would like that. Food is good. Now go eat something and think of me.

4 Comments on I Can’t Stomach This: The Real Life Story of a Girl and Her Digestive System

  1. Jilian
    September 7, 2016 at 1:09 pm (2 years ago)

    I do not have an autoimmune system like you but I do have some major intestinal issues that I’ve dealt/am dealing with so I totally feel you (in a non-prison-cellmate kind of way). Hope the tube-y thing works. If mine hadn’t worked itself out miraculously (and I do mean miraculously – started with no warning and ended for no reason), I’d be awaiting my own tube date (if only it was the fun inner tube kind of date…). Sending the good vibes and thinking of you while I eat my lunch

    Reply
  2. Team Starla
    September 7, 2016 at 4:56 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh wow, I am so sorry you went through that. I don’t have lupus but am a post liver transplant recipient of 25 years. I can relate to the weird doctor looks of “I don’t know?”

    Hang in there! Feel free to check out my blog if you wish.

    Reply
  3. Donna
    September 8, 2016 at 4:16 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m so sorry your stomach has decided to be a total dick to you. That really, really sucks. It sounds horrific and I hope either it or a doctor gets their act together soon and you get some relief. It always baffles me that someone can look like death and be experiencing such awfulness and doctors are like “okay well your test results are fine buh-bye now”. Do symptoms not count for anything?! It’s crazy.

    Reply
  4. Rachael
    October 7, 2016 at 7:34 pm (2 years ago)

    Hey girlie, I feel your pain. I went through very similar issues a few years back, turns out I had gastroperisis. My stomach was pretty much paralyzed from nerve damage (thank you fibromyalgia!). Basically my stomach decided not to empty anymore so my food would just sit there until it overflowed…hello barf express!
    Don’t loose hope, it may take some time (which sucks because you really do feel like you are dying) , but never give up, and don’t take “I don’t know” for an answer.
    I will be praying for you! Good luck with the tube.

    Reply

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