Being a Squeakier Wheel

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I’ve felt pretty lost the last few days due to the off-and-on GI issues I’m continuing to have. Turns out that bacteria they found in my tests rarely causes symptoms and often comes up in those kinds of small trace amounts – so it likely isn’t the cause of my symptoms. I went to a GI doctor Wednesday, and it happened to be one of those days during which I felt OK. This really bad nausea comes and goes and it was my luck that I visited the specialist on a day when I was experiencing no symptoms. He took a look at me, felt my stomach, the usual initial stuff…and declared I should come back in a few weeks because he was hesitant to do further tests at this point.

Of course later that night I was hit with another awful wave of nausea that essentially crippled me. It came on about 10 minutes after I finished dinner and I felt so pathetic. I didn’t even have the strength to floss/brush my teeth, or take a shower. I could barely take out my contacts. Changing into clean clothes took so much effort. I felt like I was going to vomit and I almost wanted to if that would make the feeling go away but instead I fell asleep (with a trash can by my bed)…when I woke up this morning, I still felt nauseous and it continued all day. I pushed it and went to work and class because I just can’t stand missing work (I get paranoid which  stresses me out) and it concerns me to miss a once-a-week class. One class is like three!

But I also know rest is important and while during my search for an answer to these symptoms, I have realized that stress does exacerbate the problem, though I don’t think it’s the sole cause. It just so happens the last two times during these three weeks that my nausea was crippling, I had just had an extremely stressful “breakdown” about an hour or two before. It’s probably not a coincidence.

I cannot find any correlation with food or drink that makes my symptoms come and go. Whenever I’m nauseous my stomach also makes quite angry noises and cramps, but the nausea is number one. I feel like since I’m not having more “blatant” symptoms (you know what I mean), the GI doc kinda brushed me off. But no matter what my symptoms, the bottom line is I’m uncomfortable. On certain days I’ve been feeling quite miserable and lost. I feel as if the things that I enjoy doing, I can no longer enjoy. I can’t make plans with friends because there’s no way of knowing whether or not I’ll feel sick for those plans. And on days I feel fine, I can’t even enjoy it because I wonder when the next bad day is going to be. Yesterday as I lay in bed unable to move, I became so afraid that I’d never find the answer. I know it’s an extreme way of thinking, but I have always had trouble thinking in extremes my entire life. I used to be quite the WebMD-obsessed hypochondriac as a young’n…for example, swollen lymph node? Must be lymphoma! At this point I cannot see an end to this though I know there must be one, there has to be. I sound SO dramatic right now but it’s honestly how I feel, how I am thinking, and at first it was hard to focus on the positive but it’s gotten more and more difficult the last few days.

I also have been feeling quite regretful about not speaking my mind while in the GI doc’s office. My primary doc tried to call him yesterday but he never called her back. She suggested I call him today and was really understanding when I hesitantly asked her, “What should I say?”, and gave me advice on how to speak with him and the receptionists  I’m such a people pleaser and it makes me so bad at being a squeaky wheel. But all I’ve been hearing from others is that you HAVE to speak up and be an advocate for your own health to get doctors to pay attention to you much of the time. So while that’s a shame, if I want to take charge and get this fixed, I have to be a squeakier wheel. I have to put my people-pleasing thoughts aside because the hopeless thoughts I’ve been having the last few days are far worse than those. I have to call back over and over, and be a pain in the ass. A polite pain, but a pain nonetheless. I believe in killing with kindness but I also know that sometimes, nice guys finish last. This might be a case where I need to find balance and speak (squeak?) up – just not yell or be rude!

Of course the blog world is an excellent place to get advice, so now that I’ve poured out way more than I’d planned to, I have to ask…

How do you stay positive when you feel really down?

Does anyone have any advice on dealing with doctors/medical stuff and being a squeaky wheel?

Have you ever had to advocate for your own health, in any situation?

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