Thursday, November 22, 2012

They took away my true love!

I have crossed out everything I can't eat. 
Remember how, a few posts ago, I wrote about how delicious Beaver Nuggets were? Well, now I can't eat them. I had to drive back to Houston to visit Dr. Mathias, a neuro-gastroenterologist who specializes in Endometriosis. Dr. Mangal referred me to him because he believed there were serious spasms occurring in my gut. This sounded weird to me, and I'm sure it sounds weird to you, too... but I'll explain it in a minute.

Dr. Mathias is the fourth best specialist in the entire country and he is also the only doctor in the world who conducts electrograstrograms. In case you're not up-to-date with your unusual medical practices, an electrogastrogram measures the electrical activity going on inside your abdomen. First, he listened to my tummy with a stethoscope. His eyes opened wide, as if in shock, then handed me the ear-piece for the stethoscope. I listened to my own belly. He said, "Do you hear that sound? It almost sounds like Rice Krispies". I nodded and asked him what that was. He replied, "That's the cause of your pain."

He then led me to a small room. In the middle of the room was a comfy-looking recliner. Towards the back of the room was a series of scary, sci-fi-inspired machines- each making their own beeping noise with corresponding LED lights, blinking in special patterns to show that they were all on and working correctly. The nurse sat me down in the chair, stuck four sticky pads to my abdomen, then covered me in a blanket so I wouldn't be cold. She told me not to move at all for fifteen minutes, as any slight flinch would effect the test and we'd have to start all over again. I took this as a cue to take a nap.

Oh hell no.
After the fifteen minutes were up, the nurse came in, let me stretch a bit, then gave me a glass of water to drink. She then covered me up again, and ran the test again, but this time it was for fifty minutes. No moving. No nothing. (So of course, I took another nap!)

Soon after the test was over, they led me back to the exam room. Dr. Mathias returned with a small stack of papers. The first two papers were my test results. The compared my electrogastrogram with that of a healthy person. Mine were more sporadic and random than the control. He told me that this meant I was having seizures in my bowel. Yes. Seizures. In my tummy.

Only me, I swear.

He told me the tremors were causing my intestines to bump into each other, bruise each other, and thus cause a great portion of my pain. He said it was treatable with certain medications and a well-controlled diet. Of course, he said this wasn't the only problem my test results showed.

He said I'm also diabetic. Not type 1 (the kind you're born with)... type 2 (the kind that fat people get for eating too many powdered donuts). I am 5'1", and 98 pounds, eat very healthy, and I am a type 2 diabetic. What. The. Hell.

So now, I have to be on the most obnoxious diet ever.
No red meat. No soda. No aged cheese. No chocolate. No bacon. No candy. No corn. No soy (which we knew already). No pizza. No ham. No potatoes (except for the red variety). No white bread. No muffins. No bagels. No carrots. No NOTHING.

The list goes on. I also have very special rules for the things I can eat. I can't eat fruit without a protein. I have to have 1 tablespoon of olive oil with EACH MEAL (even breakfast). Each meal must follow a pattern the nurse gave me (30% carbs, 30% Omega 3 fatty acids, 40% protein).

This sucks. As I was examining the list, I realized that everything I love to eat is on my restricted list. Only boring things are on my "okay to eat" list. :(

I  am not looking forward to this. FML.

So let's explain what's going on inside of me. First, there is a primitive "brain" lining your intestines. It works independently of the brain in your head. This "brain" helps control the sphincters in your bowel, helps absorb nutrients, and dispose of waste. The say this "brain" made way for the evolution of the brain we have in our heads now. In fact, if you dissect a worm, you will see this exact same "tummy brain" lining their entire body. This is because worms don't have a "real" brain. They just have this primitive brain that allows them to absorb nutrients and keep the body alive. My tummy brain is a little silly. It has seizures. It's called Intestinal Epilepsy. This is incredibly rare. In 2005, only 36 cases were confirmed. Yay?

This is not the only cause of my pain, but it's definitely a factor. I'm glad they could find what was wrong with me so now we can treat it. Once they treat the seizures, I can go into surgery and Dr. Mangal can remove all the Endometriosis. If he were to open me up now, the tremors would get in the way and he couldn't be as through.

Still, though, I'm going to miss eating food that actually tastes good.

<3 Mouse

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I did this weekend: The six-hour doctor appointment

Remember when I mentioned how it must be hard to be my friend because I'm constantly flaking on people? Yeah. I flaked on you guys, too. :'(
My mom didn't know I was taking this picture.

It's not because I hate you, or I'm lazy... it's because I'm sleepy. Yesterday, I promised to finish telling the story of what happened last weekend at my appointment with the Endometriosis specialist. I didn't because I fell asleep- and stayed asleep all day long. I eventually woke up at 10 pm and found 3 missed calls and 13 text messages. Oops.

I'd like to apologize for forgetting to write yesterday. I suck. We can blame that on the Vicodin. ;)

Back to my doctor appointment:

After the four hour drive to Houston, my mom and I spent the night with some wonderful family members who live there. We woke up at 5:30 in the morning for an 8:00 appointment. Why? Because my uncle told us the doctor was on the other side of the city and Houston traffic is notorious for making people late for important things like this. My mom and I didn't even eat much of a breakfast; she had a cup of coffee and I had a small cup of yogurt. We felt the need to rush over to the medical center so we wouldn't be late. We eventually made it to the hospital with half an hour to spare.

Now let's note here that I've have very little to eat. If I were to take my pain medicine at this point, I would barf. So, I decided to wait to take my pills so I could accurately describe the pain to the doctor. It can't be that bad since the appointment is at 8am... so it can't last that long... right?


We sat in the waiting room for about an hour. It was about 9:15 when we were called back. Now, this doctor does things very different than many other doctors. He called me and about 8 other patients and their families back. They crammed about 20 people into this one office. Dr. Mangal sat at his desk. Behind him was a large aquarium and to his left was a white board with some diagrams sitting against it. The room feels cramped. Some people are sitting on the few chairs that were available, and others were standing in the remaining space. Others were listening from just outside the door. Dr. Mangal began to speak about Endometriosis- what it is, what it does, what it looks like, and how it's treated. His speech was about an hour and a half long. While it was long, it was also very informative. Everything he said described me and my symptoms and what I was going through. He understood that I and everyone else in that room were in pain due to Endometriosis. Every few seconds, my mother would look at me, as if saying "Oh my gosh! He's describing YOU!"

After his lecture, the nurse took our group outside into a smaller waiting area. She gave me a piece of paper and told me to go downstairs to get my blood drawn. I noticed a few other women following me to the lab, while others were ushered into the rooms to be examined by the doctor or to have an ultrasound.

Once I had come back form the labs (which were very quick and painless, might I add!) I thought things would speed up. Instead, they slowed down. Way down.

My mother and I read Tucker Max books for almost three hours. Don't get me wrong, Tucker Max is a very "entertaining" person, but after three hours of reading about his shenanigans, I began to feel disgusted with myself. I couldn't read any more of "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell". (If you haven't read anything by him, I suggest you don't, unless you wanna feel disgusted with yourself later on. Not sure why I waste so much time laughing at how much of a douche he is.)

At this point, I was hurting pretty bad. I couldn't eat anything since I was stuck in a doctor's office, and if I were to take anything to ease the pain, I would puke everywhere in front of everyone. Needless to say, I thought I was dying. Not literally, of course, but it was pretty awful. I didn't wanna do or say anything about it because I didn't wanna cause a scene, but eventually, I didn't care about what anyone thought. I was in pain and I wanted to hit the road so I could take the magic pills that were calling me from my purse.

At about 1 pm, the nurse called me to get my ultrasound. This was the first thing anybody has said to me since they asked me to get my blood drawn. I thought they forgot about me. When we reached the door, she quickly turned me around and told me to wait- AGAIN - until the room was ready for me. GRRR!

After another HALF HOUR, they called me back, told me to get naked from the waist down, and left. I looked around for a hospital gown, but only found these thin, blue sheets. I looked at my mom and she just shrugged her shoulders. I pulled the curtain around me so my mom couldn't get a look at my funny business, and did as I was instructed. I wrapped the thin sheet around me like a flimsy skirt and waddled to the bench. How awkward.

After the ultrasound, the nurse asked me to go straight to the next room for my examination from the doctor (why he couldn't just do it there, I don't know. The room she took me to was exactly the same and even had another ultrasound machine in there. WTF). She said that no one was outside the room I was currently in, so I could just wrap the thin sheet around me and go straight to the new room, instead of the laborious task of putting my pants back on, only to take them right off again.

Unfortunately, one of the other patient's husbands was sitting out there waiting for his wife. When he saw me, he immediately shifted his eyes to the ceiling as if that ceiling was the most interesting thing that as ever graced this planet. I giggled a bit as I awkwardly waddled through the waiting room. 

Most awkward moment ever. 

Anyway, we waited for a little while and eventually the doctor rushed into the room. He quickly explained that he had been called into emergency surgery. He had no time to examine me as thoroughly as he did his other patients, but he did examine me quickly and leave me a number I could call later to ask questions when he was out of surgery. He was literally there less than 2 minutes. I traveled 4 hours to get there and waited for about 6 hours just to talk to this man, and he left before the 2 minute mark was up. I was pretty pissed.

But after my mom and I returned to San Antonio and called his office at 9 pm, he did answer a lot of my questions and made everybody much more optimistic about my treatment. He told me to see another doctor on his team (a gastroenterologist) to stop the seizures in my intestines (yes, I have intestinal epilepsy, too. Isn't that fun?!) before he operates on me.

My appointment with this other doctor (also in Houston) is next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Our Thanksgiving plans had to be derailed because of this, but at least I'm getting the treatment I need. 

I'm mostly looking forward to the Buc-ee's trips to come. :)

<3 Mouse

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What I did this weekend: Beaver-tastic!

Welcome to Buc-ee's!
Did you know that Houston is a four hour drive from San Antonio? After making that trip twice in two days, my mother and I know very well how much of an annoyance that trip is. Sadly, this will not be the last time we visit Houston. This is only the first of many trips to Houston I'll have to make for a very long time. Let's hope gas prices don't jump to $15 per gallon this week. The only thing that made those four-hour car rides worthwhile were the daily stops to Buc-ee's. 
Buc-ee the Beaver says: "Exit Now!"
For those of you who don't live in Texas, Buc-ee's is a gas station/rest stop... ON CRACK. 

It is my favorite place on earth! The mascot is Buc-ee the Beaver, and almost everything in the store is beaver-themed. There are beaver apparel, toys, food, and jewelry. It's almost a billion square feet of pure beaver-themed AWESOMENESS.

Buc-ee's has a plethora of delicious food. They have a place where you can order freshly made sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, cheese fries, and just about anything else you could think of. The have fresh fudge, Dippin' Dots, home made jerky, and candy. One thing Buc-ee's makes, which I am in love with, is something called "Beaver Nuggets". When I first discovered these wondrous golden delights, I was taken aback by how delicious they were (I obviously only bought them because they had a funny name). They are small little nuggets that have the consistency of Cheetos and have a caramel coating. They are the BEST!

One of the best things about Buc-ee's is their road signs. As soon as you get on the interstate, you'll start to see these silly little billboards. They all say something different (like "Bathrooms your mother would be proud of" or "OMG! It's a beaver! LOL!"), and they tell you how many more miles until Buc-ee's. I took the liberty of taking pictures of as many Buc-ee's billboards I could see on the way to Buc-ees (I swear, I'm not crazy). 

Almost made it to Buc-ee's!
I don't think there's any way to perfectly describe the wonderfulness that is Buc-ee's. Some people just don't get my undying love for this place. I think you just have to go there yourself to really experience the Beaver-ness for yourself. ;)

If you don't pan on visiting Buc-ee's soon, you can always Google "Buc-ee's" and look at the resulting images. 

You can thank me later.

<3 Mouse

(Stay tuned for part two of this blog coming later today!)

Friday, November 9, 2012


Yesterday, we received a phone call that will change our lives. 

No relevant picture for today, so here's my two dogs: Tater Tot and Hashbrown 
There is an Endometriosis specialist- one of the best in the country- in Houston. My OB/GYN referred me to him, but a referral isn't enough to see this doctor. Apparently  this guy is the top dog, the top banana, the mother f*cking badass of the medical world. We had to submit 15-20 pages of paperwork to them and they had to review it. If my case wasn't serious enough, they wouldn't give me an appointment. Even my pain doc was impressed that I was even considering seeing this guy.

When they called me to tell me that I was to come in on Monday at 8 am, you know my mother and I were in complete disbelief. I always knew my case was... special... but I honestly wasn't expecting one of the best doctors in the country to accept my case and see me this soon (we were expecting the appointment to be made for next February, or something ridiculous like that). My father is sure that this visit will be the one that takes the pain away.

Dad: "This doctor is gonna look at you, go 'OOOOOH! I see it!' and give you a magic pill and in 20-30 minutes, everything will be all fine and dandy!"

Mom: "Oh! Like in Star Trek!"

This lead to a long, boring conversation about Star Trek and how absolutely effing wonderful it is, or something like that. I wasn't really paying attention. If there's one thing you need to know about my family, it's that they are obsessed- to the point of near madness- with Star Trek. Almost every conversation we have leads to at least one Star Trek reference. I've learned to deal with it, but when my friends first meet my parents, they give me awkward stares and make numerous excuses so they never have to step foot in my house again. It's pretty funny.

Sadly, I've never actually watched a single episode of Star Trek (and I've never seen Star Wars either, but that's a whole other monkey that my best friends Jacob and Lee say they will soon fix).

Today, I am going to Austin with my mother to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I'm pretty excited for that! I will post again on Monday after my appointment to tell you guys everything!

Wish me luck!
<3 Mouse

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I have the best friends in the whole, wide world

I understand that this blog is kind of a Debbie Downer. Unfortunately, it's kinda hard to write an unrealistically happy blog when the subject is a pain management disorder, but that doesn't mean my entire life is depressing! I have fun too!

Last weekend, I took the bus to Austin to visit two of my friends (Chelsea and Amber) at the University of Texas. Another friend (Jessica) was also visiting from Texas State. On the first night, we went to three haunted houses. The first haunted house was zombie themed, and plenty of zombies would jump out and try to scare us. One of my friends was a little freaked out, so I started doing the Gangnam Style dance through the rest of the house to lighten the mood. I eventually got three zombies to do the dance with me! I did the Gangnam Style dance through all three houses and probably annoyed the people behind us to no end, but who cares about that.

The highlight of the haunted houses (and probably the entire trip), however, had to be this guy:

On the second night, we saw the new Silent Hill movie (it was okay) and then met up with another friend (Becca, also known as UBFFSG) and got Chinese food.

Last weekend was a nice vacation from all the doctors. I was having so much fun that I completely forgot I was in pain! That's always nice!

Words cannot express how much my friends mean to me. I'm not sure if they know how great they are, but I'm sure they have some idea. I have no idea where I'd be without them. Sometimes, I feel like it must be hard to be my friend because I'm constantly flaking on plans because I got sick, or something. I am so lucky to have these people in my life to love and support me through this time. I love all my friends here in Texas and waiting for me in Massachusetts. Each and every one of them have impacted my life in the greatest way possible.  

I love you guys more than words can describe and I hope I get to go to visit you again super soon!

Chelsea and I are totally normal.
Me, a totally badass zombie, and Jessica

<3 Mouse

(I also want to apologize for not posting at all this week. I've had killer writer's block. Blah. )