In a comment, Kelly asked: “Am interested in what your current regimen is and how you keep up with personal & professional life while dealing with this condition?”
The regimen part was pretty easy to address in the previous post, at least for now. But I still can’t come up with a satisfactory response on the dealing part. I think it’s about luck and denial.
The luck is that I don’t believe my case has been that severe. Uncomfortable, even painful, yes, along with inconvenient, troublesome, frustrating, and, by moments, embarrassing. Still, the more I learn, the more I’m convinced that I’ve gotten off fairly easy, even during those tough teenage years, when stuff hurt a lot and got thrown up a lot. No feeding tubes. Good responses to steroids. Could be a whole lot worse.
Also in the luck column: Being near a major medical center with an EGID specialist, plus a job and family situation with enough flexibility and health insurance to accommodate appointments, tests, scopes, and meds. Most of my friends and colleagues know about some of my food allergies, but not about my diagnosis. Do I feel terrific? Not usually, but well enough on most days.
So, did I mention denial? Because I honestly was about to write that I’ve never even missed a day of work due to symptoms. Oh, except for the month I spent in the hospital in 2003 with an esophageal abscess. Right.
By 2003, I hadn’t seen a gastroenterologist for nearly fifteen years. The nausea and vomiting that began in my early teens had largely evaporated by my late 20s. And those occasional swallowing glitches that had since cropped up? Well, I knew from GI issues, and I certainly wasn’t about to let it be another GI issue.
So, when I awoke one night with fever, chills, and the inability to swallow anything at all, I didn’t connect it with my eos history. Neither—after a month of tests, antibiotics, and bad reactions to antibiotics—did my docs. That was just fine with me. I was DONE with all that.
Except that, by 2009, the sticking food, the grinding stomach pains (an ulcer, as it turns out), the lost weight, and the nausea won out and I returned to the gastroenterologists at last. It was back. It was undeniable. It was totally eosinophilic. It was most likely what had put me in the hospital six years earlier.
I wish I could say that I’ve learned my lesson, that I’m in now in tune with my body, that I always tend to the things that need tending to. Ha! Denial is apparently a significant part of my strategy—from ignoring symptoms that land me in the hospital, to forgetting entirely in telling my story that I ever even landed there. Only now, as my body ages, as allergies and symptoms seem to creep, I find myself worrying more and more about what I may have done to myself and whether my luck will also hold. No denying that.