Stomach problems - part 2

Sunday, 17 November 2019

It's November now - I've seen my nutritionist and had the bio-resonance test again. Most things seem to be ok apart from dairy. Last weekend, we were in Valencia and it was so good to get away from London. London life can be very fast paced but in Valencia, we didn't know anyone there so we were able to chill out, relax, see the sights and enjoy the food. There was no rush to be anywhere at a certain time and that was a good feeling. 

Speaking of I almost felt normal again, I decided to go for a waffle with dark chocolate and lots of sprinkles and marshmallows. Now usually in London, especially after all the trouble I went through, I would think twice about eating something I used to enjoy without thinking about it. On the weekends, I will try to have a donut or apple crumble with custard just to slowly ease myself back into eating this kind of stuff and I've been ok so far so I thought this time I'd also be ok.

So here it is...what I chose and what hurt me for a couple of days:

Sugar overload but I did try my best to knock off some of the sprinkles. If you know me, you would know why this would appeal to me. I just wanted to be normal - like I was before this happened. 

Couple of hours later back in the apartment, I felt heavy, cramped and gassy. Wasn't a good combo. After lying down for a couple of hours, the heaviness passed and I was able to head out for dinner. I was very lucky that there was no vomiting (just a bit of nausea). In fact, through all of this, not once have I vomited - it's just been bouts of nausea which has, with time, decreased. 

But imagine this. You wake up, have breakfast (nakd bar and water) then feel nauseous, as if you're going to throw up, but you never do. It's just the feeling that you MIGHT. You walk to the station to go to work and the nausea hits you again. You reach work and you're able to survive until lunch where you have a jacket potato and baked beans (boring but safe) and then nausea hits again. It eventually passes so you take a walk around the block (sometimes, if I'm lucky, nausea doesn't happen after lunch) but as soon as I finish eating, there is that 1 hour window where I'm panicking about whether I'll be ok after! This is not the way I want to live my life! If you've ever seen Stranger Things on Netflix, that monster inside Will is what I can describe it to you as. It triggers whenever it wants and I can't stop it.

It is a pain to live with - I hate it. It is a distraction and in public, I'm on "high alert mode" when it hits, just hoping it will stop ASAP. I would feel so much better if I didn't have this. People tell me, don't think about it - I'm not, it just happens. Usually within 5 - 10 minutes or so, I feel ok again, ready to operate for the day. That's what got me so upset a couple of months ago, I felt like I would never fully heal. The nausea slowly decreased but now it's back again.

All of last week I've had nausea every single day and this time it has happened after lunch (twice) and also after dinner (once). I haven't had it happen after lunch or dinner before so naturally, I was more worried. 

But what can I do? Just hope for the best and go back to a calmer diet. It's frustrating. There isn't a cure and I wish there was an immediate one - I know I'm not the only one suffering with these symptoms so I feel what you're going through. 

I'm very lucky to have my support network and people I can trust who won't judge me. Having them reassure me and tell me it's going to be ok is enough. The rest, I have to get through myself. 

Things I do which I think help with nausea:

  1. Lie down 
  2. Eat an ice-lolly
  3. Breathe
  4. Distract myself (reading/music/online shopping)
  5. Fresh air
  6. Taking a walk around the block

What happened to me after I drank a bubble tea...

Monday, 23 September 2019

Many of you have been asking me what's going on, why I've not been as social lately and whether I've fully recovered. So instead of repeating myself over and over again, here is what happened:

28/05/19 = Drank a bubble tea (standard milk tea with pearls) and had dim sum. Dad also had dim sum but no bubble tea. He was fine. We went home after and left again to celebrate my birthday with family. At this point, I still felt relatively normal. It wasn't until I got on the tube a couple of hours later that my stomach was churning and I urgently needed to go. On the tube, I kept on having to get off every couple of stops as I felt incredibly nervous about my stomach. Eventually made it to restaurant but went couple more times. :( Didn't vomit like usual food poisoning. 

29/05/19 = Better but not great. Knew I wasn't fully 100% but felt better than the day before. I managed to get on bus and run some errands. 

30/05/19 = My birthday. Felt ok, was alive but knew I still wasn't feeling great. Was very careful about what I ate. 

31/05/19 = We went out to see a musical and I remember eating a plain tofu udon. I do remember being very nervous on the bus as it was shaking and my stomach was feeling gassy and just not 100%. Was ok during the musical so thought I had recovered. 

03/06/19 = Went back to work. Work was busy that week so didn't have time to think about how I felt. I thought I had surely recovered by then.

12/06/19 = Went home from work. Stomach ache in afternoon

17/06/19 = Went to GP in the morning. First strong signs of nausea. Was told to keep a food diary and come back in 4 - 6 weeks if symptoms were still there. Felt better after the morning

Managed to go into work the next day but that week my bowel movements had already increased from my usual and I knew something wasn't right. Lost my appetite for 2/3 weeks or so and as a result, started losing weight because of it (3kg roughly. If you see me, please don't tell me because a) I'm well aware b) I'm trying to put it back on c) makes me feel more paranoid about myself).

24/06/19 = A repeat of last Monday - like deja vu! Went to GP in the morning. Felt nauseous again but didn't actually vomit. Took calpol and slept. Felt very weak. Diagnosed with IBS. Didn't think much of it as I thought it would go away after a while.

25/06/19 = Did a stools test

By this point, my brain didn't know what my body wanted. It was almost as if it had disconnected and I couldn't tell if I was unwell or hungry or whether I needed to go for number 1/2. Overall it was like my body had shut down on me and I had 0 energy left. I was no longer in control of my body. 

04/07/19 = Stools results received. Stomach inflammation - which explains everything above.

The months of June and July were definitely not the best of 2019 or of my entire life so far. In fact, it's been the worst! The nausea, the increased bowel movements, extra gas, churning/bloated/cramped stomach, my mental health and my mind telling me that I'll never recover was really not helpful. I don't think I've cried so much or been so emotional in my life. Looking back at it now in September, I feel like I was a drama queen about the whole situation but thinking back (I'd rather not tbh), it really was a horrific time in my life as my health is generally in a good state and it really set me back from doing every day normal things such as going to work. I stopped dining out and seeing my friends. I stopped my dance classes and climbing. A good day for me was surviving and making it to the end of the day. 

I didn't want IBS. Before this, I've heard of it but never really knew what it was about. Now I am fully aware of the symptoms and just what a pain it is to live with! 

My blood test came back normal but I still didn't feel like myself. I am pretty sure the bubble tea was what caused this because that was the only thing that I had which nobody else did. I also didn't eat anything too out of the ordinary. 

I started taking buscopan with recommendation from my GP. Started on 1 pill before lunch and 1 pill before dinner then increased to 3 pills the next week once I tested to see if there were any side effects.  It has helped - I noticed that I was less gassy. I also saw a nutritionist who did a bio-resonance test on me and told me from this, I am most likely lactose intolerant for 6 months or so. She gave me some good tips on what to eat and what not to eat. I cut out dairy (haven't had alcohol since end of May) and also cut down heavily on yeast products - which meant bye to my chocolate bars and pain au chocolats which I'd have for breakfast in the morning. I switched it up with Nakd bars and smoked salmon instead. 

August 2019 = I felt super anxious about travelling on a plane as a) you're in the air and I have no idea how my stomach will be that day b) didn't want to use aeroplane toilets c) have to sit for 2 hours or so (but I fell asleep really quickly and had Ariana Grande's song Boyfriend on repeat) 

I saw the nutritionist the day before I flew to Rome so I felt slightly better about what I could/couldn't eat. Before we walked into restaurants, we would look at the menu and decide what I could have. If the menu had potatoes, we would go in! I've been having potatoes a lot lately. 

August in general was an ok month health wise. Some days I'd have little flare ups which included crampy and gassy stomach and some nausea but less than before. 

There have been some weeks where I felt almost normal (I say almost because my bowel movements have still been more than usual but less than what it was initially in June/July) and back to myself and other days where I feel rubbish and still get a bit afraid after I eat how my stomach is going to react. 

September 2019 = Still keeping a food diary, re-did stools test which came back normal (good news!) but some days still have nausea. It's something I've got used to now and I try to live as normally as possible. At the moment, I've started on the buscopan again as I had a little flare up last week but there is progress and although slow, I'm glad I've made it this far!

My friends have reached out and also shared their experiences with IBS with me so it's a generic thing as our symptoms have been varied and it's made me feel less scared about it. Let's hope by the end of this year I'll be fully recovered! 

Products that have made a difference

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Lately I've been shopping at SpaceNK. Here are a couple of products that I've enjoyed using over the last couple months...

Consistency is thicker than Dior's Forever Concealer but lighter than Estee Lauder's DoubleWear Concealer. Recommended if you need to cover dark circles and spot marks. Blends in nicely and doesn't look heavy. Price is £24 - quite a lot for concealer but if you have a NDulge card and collect points, you can use the points to pay (I got £5 off my NARS concealer!). If you are unsure, purchase the smaller travel size (£12) first!

My scalp was quite dry during these autumn winter months so I changed shampoo which made no difference. So I tried Bumble and Bumble Bb. Scalp Detox spray.  This is £25 and I use it once or twice during the week before I wash my hair. You shake the bottle, squeeze a bit of product into your hands and rub into your scalp. Wait for a couple of minutes before rinsing off and applying your shampoo and conditioner. I've found it useful. It has cleaned my scalp and I no longer get dry flakes.

In addition to using Bumble and Bumble Bb Scalp Detox spray, I also bought Ouai Scalp and Body Scrub. I use this after my BB Scalp Detox spray. It smells amazing, a soft coconut smell. After applying this to my scalp, I wait a couple of minutes before rinsing it off and applying my shampoo and conditioner. This also works as a body scrub and it's gentle enough to use on skin. I've found these 2 products work well together. Would recommend even though price is again quite high...£32. However, I've had this product for 2 months or so now and still have a lot of product left.

This has been so useful to take abroad with me to cleanse my face! I just use the travel sized Simple face wash with it. This is £29 but worth it! You can't replace batteries/charge like you can with the bigger products but I've used it a couple of times abroad now and the size and weight makes it super easy to take with you. The power button is a bit hard to press - it's on the back but once you press it, the product stays on until you switch it off!