On Monday, June 2nd, 2014, I went to Consultants in Gastroenterology Inc. to have a colonoscopy. I had been having looser stools on and off for a few months. In January I remember thinking, "Hmmmm, is this something I need to worry about?" I was feeling a little nauseous, as well. "Could this be a virus?" I wondered. I was still hungry though, and my energy level was fine.
I decided to see if things would pass. I work with children, and someone always has something, especially in the winter.
I think my stools were inconsistent, but better after that. I really don’t remember. I usually get up in the middle of the night to pee, before I have my period, a few times. Things seemed pretty normal until I started to have to get up every two hours. I would have this pressure, and needed to pass gas. I found I need to be on the toilet to do it, because it was never just gas. It was annoying and didn’t feel right, so I made a sick appointment with my PA.
I spoke with my PA, Karen Schaffran, about what was going on. It sounded like it could be a combination of things, so she wanted me to make an appointment with a gastroenterolgist for a colonoscopy. I had turned 50 last year and was due for one. The only reason I hadn’t gotten one was that for the last few years, I hadn’t had any health insurance. Thank goodness for Obamacare.
She also asked me if I had tried changing my diet, to see if my stomach would feel better. It was like the most amazing question I had ever heard. Change my diet? What an idea. Then, by accident, I did.
On Easter, rather than the ritual stuffing, I ate a reasonable amount of food. The next morning I felt great. Thinking over what I had eaten, I realized I had skipped the gluten foods. Maybe there was something to this diet thing. I stopped gluten, milk and dairy for the week and felt much better. No more stomach ache! I only manged to stay off dairy one week, fortunately ice cream didn’t seem to bother me. I started having cereal again in the morning. Some days it agreed with me, some not, depending on the cereal. I was hoping this was the answer.
When I met the gastroenterologist, Dr. Philip McAndrew, he told me that everyone who goes off gluten feels better. It is hard to digest and gassy. "It's a tough way of life though," he told me. How long can you really not eat pizza? He was encouraging though, and suggested that many of my symptoms were also consistent with perimenopause. There was a chance that things would return to normal after "the cleanse." This sounds crazy, but I left looking forward to the cleanse and my colonoscopy one week later.