For the last year and half/two years I have been having digestive issues. Stomach issues that started out as a little bloating after having my daughter, (I actually thought for the longest time my uterus just wasn’t contracting back.) The temporary bloating seemed to be worse when I ate food so assumed it was food related. In a way it has turned out to be but not like you would think. October of 2013 (a year after Kait was born), my bloating was worse and I was unable to use the bathroom. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy. The doctor performing the procedure told me (and I quote) “You have a floppy colon. Find the right mix of laxatives to take from now on.” Really? A “floppy colon” was his medical diagnosis? Turns out it actually was! lol… It meant my colon was twice as long as it should be (he explained it like a spring that had been stretched out – you can’t put it back). They accounted the length of my colon to the constipation and the constipation being the cause of my bloating.
After these procedures, I started the process of trying to find a remedy to this constipation problem. It began with Miralax – which worked for a few weeks and then stopped. I tried magnesium – which worked for about a week and then stopped. I added vitamins to my daily diet and extra B vitamins. I tested myself for a lactose intolerance, did a period of extreme clean eating to test out breads, etc. Nothing. Every test never made a difference. By this point, I could wake up on an empty stomach and had bloating issues. Food was no longer the only thing causing it.
More time passes and the constipation and bloating just gets worse and worse. The amount of gas that seems to fill my abdomen was beyond bearable now. I couldn’t even pass gas at this point! My point of attempting to get answers again happen when I took a photo of my bloated stomach. I compared it to some pregnancy photos and literally looked identical to my 5 month photos. Depressing. It was already depressing to not have a flat stomach and work out all the time. It was already depressing that I seemed to be gaining unexplainable weight and it just wouldn’t go away. But looking pregnant and I wasn’t…. that was the line. I had also developed a horrible case of reflux which was causing ear and throat problems. An ENT had placed me on Prilosec and Pantoprazole trying to fix these symptoms for me. As a singer, the constant reflux was causing singing issues – which is what I do for the Lord. Trying to open your mouth and not be able to hit things you know you should be able to because you can’t get the right placement… annoying, frustrating and depressing.
I scheduled an appointment with my primary care provider (PCP). She also thought it was simply a matter of constipation causing everything. She suggested using an enema if it became bad enough. (At this point, I was taking laxatives every other day to try and go at all to the bathroom.) She scheduled me for a gallbladder/liver/pancreas ultrasound, blood work for my liver and an abdominal x-ray.
Now the timeline here is important – because I want to make sure God gets every bit of the glory!
After this appointment, I was beyond frustrated. I had decided one day after work (a week before my tests) I was going to go home, get in prayer time, and just complain to Jesus. I was going to let it all out and not think twice about it. After all, He says, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28). That’s what I was going to do. With no exaggeration, the minute my forehead touched my carpet, the Holy Ghost said to me, “you are going through this for a reason.” He showed me a vision of a two lane road with white dotted lines. The road went as long as I could see and I knew it was representing the past year and a half/two years I had been through with all of these digestive issues. Going through this for a reason, huh? I told the Holy Ghost, “ok”. If I needed to do this for someone else, then so be it. I plastered a smile on my face with some positive thinking and moved on. (P.S. the Holy Ghost never would let a single word of complaining come out. I tried!)
A week later came and all my tests were performed. All of which came out negative. Nothing was wrong and everything looked great. I was so upset. (Backwards huh?) And tired. And exhausted at trying things at this point. She gave me a 2nd referral to a GI in Carrollton, GA. I was scheduled to see Dr. Seeman. My appointment was 2 weeks out at this point. Again angry and disappointed – as I was driving home from work – the Holy Ghost said to me again (almost audibly) “I told you, you are going through this for a reason.” I got it this time. He meant there is a reason… something was actually wrong. I wasn’t imagining it and I wasn’t going to have to live with this the rest of my life. (I had started to this think this was just a side effect of my pregnancy.)
One day at work, my abdomen became so swollen – from pelvis to ribs and front to back – I thought I was going to explode. I felt so bad I called and asked my PCP at what point do I take myself to the emergency room. I had never felt that much pressure before. The chest pains were horrible that seemed to accompany whatever this was. My PCP called me back (on a Friday) and told me they moved my GI appointment to the following Monday – but I would now see Dr. Arledge of West Georgia Gastroenterology. I went into my appointment with 3 pages of notes for him. Every medication I had taken, test that had been done, everything. I walk in the door – none of my referral paperwork is there. (when the devil knows you are going to get a blessing he tries everything to stand in the way). My PCP and the GI offices worked together to get me in the same day.
Dr. Arledge comes in after reading all of my notes, pushes around and finds a spot that hurts so bad I screamed when he pushed on it. It was my small intestine. He told me he thought I had an intestinal infection and said we can test for it or just start antibiotics but both were pricey if insurance didn’t cover them. He said all of my symptoms were presenting for this. I voted for the test. It was a 3 hour breath test where you swallow a sugar serum and then you breath into a test tube every 20 minutes. He explained when your body breaks food down – if you have an intestinal infection – you will produce hydrogen and/or methane. I did the test this past Saturday and received a phone call today. — Side note, according to my husband, those are bomb materials! lol…
The test showed I do in fact have a severe intestinal infection. Thank you Jesus for positive test results. Because this means answers which means solutions. The medications are two antibiotics (I produced both gases). One is 2 pills – 3x’s a day – for 14 days. The other is 1 pill – 3x’s a day – for 14 days. And the devil keeps trying to get in the way. Insurance will cover one but as of right now, not the other. Doesn’t the devil understand that Jesus always wins?! I am also prescribed to take a probiotic for a minimum of 3 months (but they suggest much longer).
Here’s the crazy part. I found out today, Dr. Arledge is one of two doctors in North Georgia who will perform the breath test I took. (The other doctor is in Rome). God worked it out that I had an appointment made with the right doctor who would figure out what was happening – the one doctor who would give the test I needed for answers.
I serve a mighty God.