Thursday, March 24, 2011

When Cultures Collide

Here in our household, there is only one person who follows what would normally be called "Traditional Medicine" and that is Jules. I am slowly corrupting him over to "VooDoo Medicine" as he calls anything homeopathic. I don't even take asprin. However, in the last little bit that has had to change due to this whole ulcer thing. In the middle of the night, stabbing stomach pains which inhibit walking and breathing require an emergency room visit regardless of where you stand with Traditional Medicine. In my experience, emergency room visits generally result in X rays and medications with long fancy names, and this one was no different. I've now been on meds for about a month and it is really throwing me for a loop!

Pre ulcer diagnosis, I didn't really realize there was much going wrong in my stomach. I'd have occasional heart burn (but who doesn't when they eat triple pepperoni pizza with pineapple?) and I could easily identify the food which I ate that was probably a bad choice. It didn't really happen very often. I didn't feel all that tired. I didn't really have many foods which upset my stomach or my intestines. In short, I considered myself pretty healthy.

Now, I am on anti-inflammatory meds which turn down my stomach acid level quite considerably. I am supposed to accompany these meds with an over-the-counter antacid 30 minutes before I eat something acidic or which could produce excess stomach acid due to being hard to digest. Do you know now many foods are considered "acidic?" They include, but are not limited too: oranges, any citrus fruits or juices, tomatoes, coffee, chocolate, meats other than fish or chicken, fatty sauces or gravies, items which contain calcium (because they increase stomach acid), nuts and seeds (hard to digest), many raw vegetables, items which contain honey or sugar, and fruit juices. Well, that basically includes 90 percent of what I eat.

My non-medication centered life has been quite different for the last 25 days and I'm not liking the results. I'm exhausted. All this lowering of my stomach acids has caused significantly decreased digestion and I'm really feeling it. My anti-medication stance is being further fortified as I really dislike the borderline nausea feeling of having a constantly full stomach, but my body demanding more nutrients. Man oh man, I don't know how people can take handfuls of medication, or medications to counteract symptoms of other medications. It's kicking my butt!

I honestly recognize the need for me to be on these meds for the month that I have been. I dare say the pain in my stomach was even slightly more intense than labor with The Barracuda, and believe me, it wasn't a fun birth. With 11 pills left, I'm sticking it out because I just plain don't want to feel that bad again. However, after this first dosage is over we are switching back to the natural route for illness protection and prevention. If my current feeling is how 62% of traditional medicine followers feel, it explains a lot about depression in the United States.

It is odd to say that since taking medication to make me "better," I feel far worse. Considering most people acquire the H. pylori bacteria in their system when they are children and then carry it the rest of their lives, the issue is most likely never going to go away for me. Personally I'm taking this stint of ickiness to further fortify my desire to go back to juicing, teas/tonics, yoga, and long distance trails.

6 thoughts:

Mr. H. said...

Wow, I wonder what could have caused something like this...sounds terrible. Hope your meds work and you can get off them and feel better soon. The amount of pills your average American takes on a daily bases is truly amazing, I wish that more scientific effort was put into natural cures...but of course who would make money off of that. We are voodoo medicine people too.

Granola Girl said...

Apparently there is a bacteria which was discovered in the 1980's which is thought to cause ulcers. Something like 60 percent of stomach ulcer patients (that's me) and 90 percent of intestinal ulcer patients have the bacteria known as H.pylori. They think you get it as a kid and then some people develop ulcers and some don't. You basically are supposed to just keep the bacteria in check and they don't really know how to get rid of it.

They can't really link it to stress, or a specific diet, or really much of anything. (Supposedly there was a test in the early 90's that said most H.pylori people were on well water as a child, but that seems suspect to me.) They can only provide information on what seems to effect some people and then give you anti-inflammatory meds to keep pain down. So you get this long list of stuff not to do and pills to take. It's rather frustrating. Anyway, it is almost over and I'm glad.

Ki Vick said...

I went through that whole shebang once. Took the medicine, faced the nausea, followed their diet. Still ended up having frequent heartburn and nausea in the years after. Finally tried a grain free diet, and there hasn't been any heartburn, pain, nothing since. It's been a godsend.

Granola Girl said...

You are at least the 4th person who has suggested this to me! I'm currently looking into the GAPS diet which has a focus on no grain. I'm seeing some considerable revamping of our food in the future :)

Watchman said...

I am totally new to your blog (cool BTW)and reading this article, I was thinking H.pylori and was astounded to see it WAS in your last paragraph !

It typically DOES come from natural water sources, along with diet, you should consider water FILTERING for at least your drinking water, to slow down re-introduction of the bacteria in your system. Left unchecked it can cause stomach cancers.

You should check with other doctors, I am pretty sure there are anti-biotics to rid you of this.

I have a detailed article on water at my website that may be helpful, as well as a recomended filter, you could also distill your personal drinking water supply.

a well test would be helpful in protecting your child.

my mom died of stomach cancer (she was a smoker too) and was found to have H.pylori

DO NOT drink from open natural water sources without at least a sophistacated filter first !

-W

Granola Girl said...

Hello Mr. Watchman~
Thank you for the water resources. We are not on well water and have not been for the entire length of The Barracuda's life. For quite some time we harvested rain water and filtered it with a MRS MiniWorks water filter. That is the same water filter we uses while backpacking. No natural water sources here.

The ulcer issue is fairly under control now. Raw cabbage juice did wonders, as did licorice tea. I've mainly been isntructed to "actively manage my stress." That is the kicker for me. I'm a bit prone to harboring stress at unhealthy levels.

The whole thing was just such a suprise: felt fine and then very dramatically did not!

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