Saturday, February 26, 2011

When Tests Fail

I was thinking, as it seems a lot of late considering the situation and circumstances, about why the Gastroenterologist couldn't find and didn't report any "abnormal" with my recent test (colonoscopy and lab tests). In her words, "Everything is normal", and despite the obvious symptoms of something being wrong, she decided the problems were IBS, age and food sensitivities.

As the old saying goes, "Yeah, right." But in defense of her, from her perspective, and while there was reason to investigate the problems more and didn't, she went with the obvious. Except that at the same time, she dismissed the obvious of why the results failed. There are two reasons.

First, with a colonoscopy you have to do the preparation preceedure which is 2 quarts of a liquid which flushes and cleanes the intestinal tract. I mean really flush and cleanse, no pun intended. It's terrible stuff and causes terrible reactions. The problem is that, while food and all the normal stuff in the testinal tract is flushed and the tract wall cleansed, any signs of problems is also flushed away.

The colonoscopy is designed to look for obvious physical problems, such as infections, perferations, etc of the wall, protrubing polyps, and other problems. Lacking those, the diagnosis is that everything is normal. Except, what was lost in the flushing and cleansing which would have indiciated problems, no one will know because that's all down the toliet.

Second, the lab test looks for the obvious. When everything is normal, then obviously to them, everything is normal. But that only accounts for the signs of the normal biochemical processes. It misses one obvious issue and raises the question.

What if normal is abnormal? This is what Pseudomembranous colitis is, an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of the normal bacteria in the intestinal tract. In some cases the infection, of which only a few have been recognized, leave signs in the wall of the tract. But what of the other bacteria which don't leave signs but create the same symptoms?

What if the preparation proceedure removes all the obvious signs of any abnormal and uncontrolled growth of bacteria? And wouldn't the abnormal growth of any normal bacteria in the intestinal tract produce similar symptoms but won't necessarily be obvious?

This is something they can't answer, partly because they don't know and partly because they don't test for them since it's harder and not obvious. So they call it your imagination, but in medical terms like IBS, age and food sensititives. It's the line from the Dire Straits song, "You have industrial disease. Next patient please."

So that's where I'm at. The symptoms haven't changed for the last 3 years now and more so since last October. But the test show everything is normal and thus it's my imagination. Tell my intestinal tract that. It's not listening.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fear of Eating

I wrote about food and my body, and about the battle between my taste buds and my digestive system. It finally occurred to me that I have a fear of eating. Not the many definitions of fear of eating, but a simple fear of eating, despite that I really like to eat and really like food, because I don't know how my body, and more so my digestive system, will work and react.

I used to keep a list of foods I could eat without problems, foods I keep trying now and then to see, and hope, I can eat them more, foods I know I will have problems and foods I just can't eat. During the last nearly three years that list was always changing and it still continues to change. For brief periods during these years, I could throw the lists away and eat almost anything and the body was ok.

Since last fall, the list has changed weekly and sometimes in days, and for periods nothing was on the list. It's created a situation where I fear eating because I don't know what I can eat because the digestive system just won't work. Nothing changes it and nothing helps it. And as quickly as the system stopped working, it would work, I mean (hint) really work.

I don't have answers anymore. Not even the Gastroenterologist has answers beyond IBS, age and food sensitive, and of course the obvious advice you hear everywhere, eat right, watch your diet, exercise, get the proper amount of sleep, and so on down the litany of common sense. And you pay a specialist for it?

So, that's my life for now. Eat and hope it works today, tomorrow and a few days on, or not and be ready when it doesn't.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Laurel and Hardy

Somedays I feel like my body is like Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy. My appetite and taste buds are Stanley and the rest of my body Oliver, meaning what I crave, cook and eat will leave the rest of me with a fine mess as Oliver always said, "Well Stanley, here's another fine mess you got us in." I've written that at times food is my enemy, and of late more so like Laurel and Hardy.

The problem is that I love fried chicken, especially crunchy deep fried chicken. Recently a store (their on-line store) had a good one on sale. It's the same brand, Breville, as my other recent acquistion, a convection oven. The oven is way cool for cooking a lot of foods. You don't have to worry about watching it or the time to take it out when it's done.

The only real issue I have with it is broiling things, like bacon or other foods which splatter. Don't, simply don't. It's messy. Use a real oven where you can put a big pan around or under it. Otherwise I use it several tiimes a week, often for a favorite baked chicken. Yeah, after fried chicken is baked or roasted chicken.

Anyway, I got the deep fryer up and running, prepared breaded chicken parts, and cooked up a platter of chicken. The Stanley in me felt good and the food was really good. Ok, I need to find a good breading recipe. But alas it was short-lived as these days are with food and the Oliver reminded me later into the night and the next morning.

Needless to say I won't give up. I suspect, ok hope, it was the spices than the chicken or the deep frying as I've had deli fried chicken without problems. And I can work toward really good stuff, homemade potato chips and french fries and the best, doughnuts. If you have had a fresh homemade doughnut, you're missing a great food.

And on the horizon now is, according to Jimmy Buffett, the eighth deadly sin, Pizza. Stanley is alive and well despite the problems and medications. Oliver will do what it does and wants, and yes, I'll learn about it and live with it, but that's later.