Friday, November 02, 2018


Even though my story basically started as one big question mark, I try not to be one to wallow in speculation and anticipation.  So I wasn't going to write about this until I had some answers. I also don't want to make it into a bigger deal than it is. But here I am.

Remember how I'd started living to eat and put on some weight (maybe 40 pounds) over the past eight years? And couldn't seem to find an exercise regime, diet, or age that would change that? Well, my body took matters into its own hands (as it tends to do). About three months ago, I started having trouble swallowing. It was sporadic, kind of felt like I was choking (though I never was), but made it unpleasant to eat -- for myself and others. There's nothing like having a coughing fit when you're an aneurysm/stroke/heart attack/seizure survivor. As a walking preexisting condition, I'm seen as a touch vulnerable. Even though everyone has food or drink go down the wrong pipe once in awhile; when I do it, people assume I'm having a conniption.

At first -- much as I've settled into a"new normal" that's hardly new -- I was concerned my condition was somehow stroke related.So when the little burps and periodic heartburn started, I was pleased to write the whole thing off as "reflux". My doctor concurred and tried me out on prescription Zantac.

After another couple of weeks, I didn't find the symptoms were diminishing but instead had been enhanced by gloriously melodramatic regurgitation if I ate too much. And by "too much," I'm talking about more than four or five bites of whatever solid food was in front of me.

I've switched to a low-acid reflux diet, Prilosec instead of Zantac, make sure I eat seated upright, avoid talking while eating,and restrict myself to more frequent, smaller meals in small bites, just to keep my calories up. Ensure and other so-called "nutrition shakes" have become my friends. It's vaguely reminiscent of when I was on a feeding tube with a Jevity drip, except that I never actually tasted Jevity. During those two weeks long ago, I probably lost 10-15 pounds. During my recent couple months of liquid diet coupled with involuntary Bulimia, I've lost about 25 pounds.

Yes, yes, I'm the envy of all who haven't watched me repeatedly upchuck the same three bites of food.

It is admittedly unpleasant to behold, not to mention PTS-inducing for anyone who's nursed me back to health since the stroke (i.e. my family and friends). No, it's not terribly enjoyable for me either, but I've gotten used to managing it; with the incentive that the less I eat and subsequently bring back up, the less guilty and infantilized I feel. Not that there's anything infantilizing about literally having your own sick wiped off your face by your wife or co-workers

And I'm not saying the weight loss hasn't been a fringe benefit. After having to essentially buy a new wardrobe to accommodate my weight gain, it was nice to find a more economical, one-handed-friendly belt to satisfy my fashion needs.

And now -- to finally get to the point -- I've seen a gastroenterologist who doesn't necessarily think it's reflux or stroke related but rather one of those things that can just happen to people in their, "fourth or fifth decade of life." Once again, hooray for middle age!

On Monday, I'm scheduled for an upper endoscopy, which will hopefully be able to identify and remedy the issue.

I am having a little existential angst over the prospect of a camera on a tube going down my throat but am trying to remain true to my mantra of old -- "I am open to the universe." I am Doris Day: Que será, será.

Hopefully, exciting video footage to follow.

Take luck and care with the luck you're caring for (sorry I couldn't find a better Brian Regan clip).

1 comment :

  1. Aww, Ken...I'm sorry you've been dealing with that. Sounds like no fun at all, and generally worrisome. I hope your appointment on Monday goes well and that the scope finds the problem. ♥