When I Realized I had a Serious Issue
My college years will forever be the most memorable, but also to some extent, the most traumatic years of my life. Like an average freshman in college, I was busy trying to get to know myself. I lacked vision. As in, I had no idea of where I wanted to go in life. But one thing’s for sure, I knew I wanted to be involved with music, whether it’d be performing on stage or somehow behind the scenes. I started to take music courses in my sophomore year, and I even became a part of a small singing group for a little while. I then started to learn how to rap because I was fascinated by hip hop-lyricism. At the time, life in college was great because I involved myself in a music-atmosphere that felt fulfilling. However, not long after, my life started to take a turn for the worst.
[And this is where it gets dirty…]
One day I went to a party in the summer after my sophomore year and I naively mixed two substances that didn’t sit well in my stomach; Tums and beer. The reaction it gave me was diarrhea and really bad stomach pain. The worst part about the situation was that I forced myself to hold in the diarrhea for HOURS because I was too afraid to go in the small public restroom that was at the venue. There was only one stall and I knew that had I used it, I would have taken a long time and I didn’t want to be THAT guy holding up the restroom. When I finally got home, I barely made it to the toilet and faced one of the most excruciating pains I ever had to deal with. Needless to say, my health has never been the same.
As I entered into my junior year, the matter got worse. Ever since the traumatic situation I put myself through at the party, I started to feel unusual stomach pain and nausea that was becoming hard to deal with. Sometimes I would throw up and feel really sick to the point where all I wanted to do was be in bed. I didn’t understand what was going on with me, and the pain was becoming more consistent than I could handle. I ended up missing classes more often than not and my grades were starting to decline. I even stopped joining the singing group I was a part of and I found it difficult to focus on my academics or anything else because of the pain. Soon enough, I was beginning to realize I was dealing with a serious issue.
As the first semester of my junior year was coming to an end, I had an appointment for colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures on the same day. I didn’t know what the outcome would be, but all I knew was that I wanted answers. As a result of the procedures, I learned I was suffering from internal hemorrhoids and a bacterial infection in my stomach called Helicobacter Pylori (or H. Pylori). At the time, I had no idea what this diagnosis meant, but at least there was a name to what was making me feel horrible. In addition, they also said I had gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. The doctor prescribed me an antibiotic, along with other medication, and assured me I should be fine in a few weeks. I took Omeprazole for GERD and I took Ondansetron for nausea and vomiting, just to name a few. Of course, I took the medication and fortunately it got rid of the infection. Conversely, not too long after, the symptoms came back. And this time, the symptoms were getting worse and worse.
Time went on, and I continued seeking medical help but wasn’t getting any answers to what I was dealing with. After running more tests, my doctor at the time said that the bacterial infection was no longer in my system. However, the pain was still prevalent, so my doctor prescribed me medication to manage the symptoms I was dealing with. And again, nothing seemed to help. If anything, some of the medication caused my symptoms to get worse. I even got a second and third opinion and still no definite answers. Eventually, I dropped out of school because I was failing and I didn’t want to get into more debt.
One day, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I’m going to do things my way…
[READ PART 2 TO FIND OUT HOW I WAS EVENTUALLY DIAGNOSED WITH IBS]