Post-Endoscopy, Pre-Diagnosis

woman glasses hospital gownI survived my endoscopy last week (June 21) with flying colors. And when I say flying colors, that’s because that’s what I was seeing during the event.

After six weeks of a food challenge diet where I consumed everything from gluten-free oatmeal to chilies rellenos burritos with hot sauce in order to fire up my immune system and body so that the endoscopy would possibly pick up some of the things that seem to be giving me symptoms of food intolerance or possible allergy.

Since neither my allergy tests nor my previous endoscopy/colonoscopy had given me any solid results explaining why I would have such adverse effects to eating such common foods that I generally avoid, my new gastroenterologist suggested I be brave and eat as many of the things that I have previously nixed from my diet in order to trigger reactions in my body.

Emboldened by allergy results earlier this year indicating that none of the foods I avoid actually would put me at risk for anaphylactic shock, I went for it, enjoying croissants, pepperoni pizzas, and spicy burritos. I wasn’t reaction-free, but I did fare better than I thought I would; I had envisioned myself nearly bed-bound, stricken with constant migraines and gastrointestinal distress, plus emotional/neurological issues that I have previously suffered in the past. Maybe even some facial urticaria or hives.

I got lucky in that the worst of it probably amounted to nausea and nagging heartburn/GERD acid reflux-type symtoms. Sometimes I would lose my appetite while eating, before I was even full. But I generally enjoyed re-trying all the things I had stopped eating 8-13 years previously. I have an all-new appreciation for tomato sauce and can’t tell you how great croissants taste. I also can’t underline enough how weird it is to willingly eat something that I have associated as “toxic” to me for many years. It was hard sometimes just getting over that psychological barrier.

I am not sure what my new diet will be, or if I will be able to reincorporate some of these formerly forbidden foods into my diet. But I hope to find out soon. My recent endoscopy proved that I have a bleeding ulcer in my stomach and visible red inflammation in my esophagus. Several biopsies were taken in both places and my small intestine to see if I have a build-up of eosinophils or blunted villi, as well as blood tests for celiac disease and stool tests for parasites and white blood cells.

I’ll find out in a week what my doctor has in store for me, but for now, I am sticking to a less-ambitious version of my diet and starting every day with Prilosec and Pepsid, as my upper GI tract is taking its time recovering from the invasion of my swallowing the endoscopy scope.

Lesson learned: even if you don’t get results after changing your diet, it’s still worth looking into what may be the cause, even as the years pass, because you may find a way to better adapt to a more “typical” diet.

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