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Hello Ulcer, my old friend. I've come to talk with you again.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by donavanf, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    Hi friends, and happy holidays, merry christmas and happy (almost) new year.

    I've really been suffering with what I think is a TMS flare, and I could use some words of encouragement and reassurance. I'm scared.

    My TMS, which usually manifests as upper back and neck tension and occasional foot pain, has gone back into my classic symptom substitution, GI distress. But...let me back up, and say that my TMS has been MUCH better this past year. I've gone from thinking about it 24/7 to barely worrying about it, which for me is a MIRACLE. I have an OBSESSIVE and RUMINATING mind, so to barely think about my neck and shoulders and feet is a blessing.

    But I have been having what I think is symptom substitution.

    What usually happens when I get a flare-up that isn't in my neck or back, is IBS, specifically "IBS-D(diarrhea)". Hope that's not overshare.

    SO...about 2 months ago, began some of the most stressful events of the last few years. I lost a (short lived and very stressful) job, my leased car was repossessed, and my finances went into the toilet (literally). In addition to this, I was (and still am) running my full time side business which is now a full time business.


    And I have been really struggling financially, a huge trigger for me, that stems way back to childhood (my parents were entertainers, and were gig to gig, so we had ZERO money one month, and the next, we were swimming in it). I continue to follow this trend, although for me, it's mostly on the ZERO side. I've been drowning and under constant pressure to make ends meet.

    And after my car was repossessed and gone, an old and trusted friend started a "Go Fund Me" for me on Facebook, to help me get a new vehicle, which was great, because I raised nearly $6,000, which paid some long overdue bills, AND got me a very nice decent and dependable new (used) car, which I am very happy with. It also helped pay my last months rent, which was so late, I had a 3 day or quit eviction notice on my door. This was all in a months span.

    But, despite this windfall, I was (and still am) RIDDLED with guilt at having to "ask for a handout". In the midst of this, I auditioned for a TV show (I am sometimes an actor, and this potential show came along) which I didn't get. No big deal, but it was a lot of added pressure to "Perform". And as all this was happening, I was dealing with escalating neck pain, alternating with IBS-D, which I was treating with MASSIVE doses of Pepto-Bismol. The Pepto was working on the IBS, which would bounce back to neck and shoulder and back pain, so I would take Advil and Aleve. I was also taking Alka-Seltzer and eating way too late at night. Ugh.

    Fast forward (or back up) to a few weeks ago, when I awoke with a TERRIBLE burning pain in my stomach, right where my ribs meet my tummy. Better from eating, worse spicy food, worse in the morning after laying down, worse from ANY stress. Classic Ulcer symptoms. I should know, I had my first "pre-ulcer" at age 7, then a full blown ulcer again at 13. My late dad and mom BOTH had ulcers/hiatal hernias/back pain. TMS is a family issue, BIG TIME.

    So, I went to see my GP and he says, "Yep. Stress + NSAIDs + Pepto (Salicylates are an aspirin compound!) and, well, looks like you gave yourself a textbook peptic ulcer.". He ran an H. Pylori test, which was negative. Still, I insisted on an antibiotic, because after the ulcer manifested I began to have a cold (BAD sore throat, which he thinks was reflux!).

    So now I'm on RX strength antacids, Prilosec, and the last day of a short course of antibiotics, and despite feeling better, I am convinced I have stomach cancer. Yes. Convinced, despite my doc saying "THIS IS NOT stomach cancer....You don't have hunger (I am hungry like crazy), weight GAIN (gained 5 pounds in last month) and PERFECT bloodwork (got that done, too, all good) with stomach cancer. You have an ulcer. From STRESS and too much aspirin/advil/aleve and coffee. THE END." He told me to knock off all NSAIDS, cut out coffee for a while, and RELAX.

    Oh yes, I was pounding coffee (my one vice, and I was doing 6 cups a day, black) and also, dosing Alka-Seltzer (with aspirin) EVERY MORNING. On an EMPTY stomach!

    It's almost like I sabotaged myself.

    My doc says he's amazed my ulcer isn't worse! He told me to RELAX and eat small meals, and in time, it will HEAL. He's a good doc, and while doesn't have Dr. Schecter's grasp of TMS (my other doc, who told me I have TMS on steroids when I saw him a few years ago)...my GP is very open minded and understands my delicate nerves. He DEFINITELY thinks ulcers are often stress CAUSED, with or without H.Pylori. In my case, without H Pylori. Further showing this is STRE$$. Also, my pharmacist (who I love) told me this sounds like an ulcer, 110%. She agrees with my doc.

    So here I am, completely worried about my health, worried about finances, in the midst of the holidays, and my stomach feels like I swallowed a brick of rage. And I keep scaring myself, googling stomach cancer, and all sorts of other frightening things. Instead of just letting my body heal, I am up at 2am, Googling cancers and hiatal hernias, and god knows what.

    I. AM. A. MESS.

    Could ALL this be TMS?


  2. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    What a coincidence!

    I recently tested positive for H. pylori at an urgent care clinic after displaying all the classic symptoms. This was the day before Thanksgiving and I was pretty concerned given the holiday festivities. Urgent care assumed it was gastritis without any infections, but I pushed for an H. pylori test due to the pain I was in. Despite appearing structural, I absolutely knew there was a stress component involved and so did my mother who gave me a great lecture about it. I’ve absolutely been stressed out in 2019 due to family deaths and illnesses, romantic failures, new responsibilities that are exciting but cross into the unknown territory, etc.

    I was prescribed Amox, Clarith, and omeprazole, but wanted a second opinion after being on so many antibiotics this year (my immune system was totally shut down from the aforementioned sources of stress). So I sought out the experts!

    Here’s the deal: I love going to University of Chicago for medical care. In my eyes, these doctors are on par with Mayo Clinic. In fact, I’ve heard of a few people receiving job offers from U of C and the Mayos and Hopkins of the world, and not know which one to pick because they are all reputable. So I truly do work with the best of the best.

    After several blood tests and a CT scan to ensure nothing else was going on (pancreatitis, etc.), I was told by the university that we do have to treat the H. pylori. And yes, everyone confirmed that H. pylori is often harmless and only needs to be treated once it causes symptoms. Stress levels totally make us susceptible to H. pylori! The same often goes for ulcers without a positive result for H. pylori, as is your case. Again, I’ve heard it from the best of the best. Your doctor is legit.

    Steve Ozanich has also provided really helpful information on this exact topic, and he spoke with an incredibly reputable gastroenterologist: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/lost-25-of-my-blood-ulcer-looking-for-thoughts.2858/#post-19511 (Lost 25% of my blood (Ulcer)...Looking for thoughts)

    Everything is going to be okay. I’m really sorry about the stress you’ve endured, and am willing to bet you’re stronger than you probably give yourself credit for. Remember what’s causing your stress. What helps you relax? After a crazy year, that’s what I will be doing!

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