I spent $7,000 on 15 doctor visits, 5 imaging tests, 3 Rx's, and 5 OTC meds trying to treat mysterious abdominal pain. (577 words)
(Last updated April 2023.)
In September 2008 I started a journey that serves as a good example of the limits of the American health care system.
Over three months, I had 15 doctor visits, $7,000 worth of medical tests, three prescriptions, and five over-the-counter medications as I attempted to find a solution to my abdominal pain. After I lost ten pounds due to said pain, I was asked by the “specialists” if I had an eating disorder.
Eating becomes a chore
To make a long and unladylike story short, starting in the fall of 2008 I would inflate like a beach ball whenever I ate a full-sized meal, and my innards would feel like they’d been aged in a smokehouse and then stretched, creaking, over an anvil. One day I discovered that I could no longer feel my psoas muscles, which was alarming.
Eventually I was able to manage symptoms by eating only small meals and never after 6 p.m., although all bets were off when it came to carbonated beverages, which had taken on napalm-like qualities regarding my digestion.
Nutritional therapy experiments
I briefly worried that my year-long ascorbic acid (vitamin C) habit, which I used to reduce histamine, had burned holes in my gut, but 18 months after stopping it there was no improvement.
I tried digestive enzymes and betaine hydrochloride, but they didn’t help.
Vitamin A helps a bit
Going on the simple evidence that it felt as if something that should be gooey and stretchy had turned dry and crackly, I started researching mucous membranes and tissues and moisture and deficiency, etc. I came up with vitamin A deficiency as a possible factor, and taking that supplement did indeed help to some degree.
. . . and iodine
When I was beginning my iodine megadose experiment, I found other Yahoo Iodine group members who had suffered from similar abdominal issues. In addition to a gazillion other things, iodine is needed for mucous membrane health. After a month or so I saw some improvement, enough that I could once again binge on supermarket sushi without too much grief and abuse Pepsi with a much reduced discomfort level. However, it never solved the issue entirely and I eventually had to stop the iodine since it, too, gave me complete insomnia.
. . . and vitamin D3
I discovered that big doses of vitamin D3 helped this a lot, as it did with my fatigue issue, but only when I started following this neurologist’s recommended doses for repletion. Unfortunately it also gave me debilitating headaches after a few days on it. I had the same results when I switched to using a vitamin D lamp.
The culprits? Mold, too much sitting, and . . .
Eight years later, I became much more comfortable after moving out of my moldy apartment building. That resolved a lot of issues, but I continued for several years to have a low-grade pain that waxed and waned.
It began to disappear with twice-weekly acupuncture sessions, then some more when I began doing stretching backbends in order to counteract the years of cubicle farm work that had distorted my posture (and probably my soul). I also spent all summer getting blazing hot sun on my torso, on the theory that that part of the body is the best vitamin D3 factory.
Then it disappeared when I quit chocolate.
When this content was published
The content on this page was posted in August 2011 and updated in January 2013 and April 2023.