Digestion, Gut Health, and Me: Adulthood (Part III)

It was 2015, and my friend and I had just finished dinner at Chili’s, complete with one of those big, iridescent blue fishbowl-looking drinks. My belly was tight. My pants were tight. I looked like I would deliver a baby at any moment. It wasn’t the first time I had this feeling. It had been surfacing more and more, but only when I ate at restaurants like Chili’s.

Unlike previous years, I didn’t ignore this sign. I scheduled an appointment with Borland Groover to see what was going on. The gastroenterologist talked to me for a few minutes.

“Those chain restaurants use a lot of sugar and salt,” she said. “What you’re experiencing is common. I want to draw some blood just to be sure.”

The bloodwork came back normal. I stopped eating (and drinking) at chain restaurants. Crisis diverted.

Fast forward to 2021. Panamá City wasn’t as exciting as Costa Rica, and there was nothing left for Dwight and me to do, but eat, which was fine because I love food. I. ate. everything: pour-over coffee, ice cream, pizza, ropa vieja, fresh bass, ceviche and more ceviche. Y’all. The store up the street gave me their WhatsApp so I would know when the empanadas would be ready. I was out of control. But I didn’t know it until I was damn-near immobile on the couch with a seven-month-pregnant-looking belly.

A friend of mine had to tell me what I had was called “indigestion.” I’m not joking. I had no idea this was a symptom. I thought I’d never had it before, because even though I’d gone to the gastroenterologist in 2015, she never said that word.

(Again) I stopped eating out and drinking as much and I spent the last two weeks in Panamá walking three miles a day and biking. Crisis diverted, again.

Well, almost.

Ever since 2017, I had a cough that would come and go. My primary doc did a chest scan. Even though it came back clear, she couldn’t tell me what was wrong, and kind of like the poop thing, it was intermittent, so I ignored it. I figured it was no big deal. But in 2021, after indulging in Panamá’s cuisine and having indigestion, my cough returned. This time, with mucus.

By August, I saw an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor, who diagnosed me with having laryngopharyngeal reflux. I wrote about it here.

I guess the point of this elaborate series is to encourage those of you who are like me, those of you who see and feel what’s going on with your body but ignore it because it’s not that bad or because it doesn’t happen that often. Kind of like intuition, you always know what’s going on, especially if it’s physical because there’s literally a sign. You probably don’t need a doctor to tell you something’s wrong, but you do need a professional to provide a diagnosis and possible treatment.

Also, I know each of these events may seem unrelated, but in my gut (pun intended), I know they are interconnected. For example, after spending months listening to my body, I’ve learned that stress explicitly affects me. It begins in my belly like a message, and when I ignore it, it worsens.

Tomorrow, I’ll share what’s worked to mitigate these reactions.


Digestion: First Day of Senior Year (Part I)

Digestion: Undergrad (Part II)

Digestion: Healing (Part IV)

53 thoughts on “Digestion, Gut Health, and Me: Adulthood (Part III)

  1. I agree with you KE. Our gut health effects our whole system. I do sometimes forget this and, as you are saying, my body is always sure to let me know. I appreciate your sharing this. It is truly important. And, I hope all is well for you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad and sorry that you can relate to this. I don’t think doctors or society talks about gut health enough. I mean, it’s kind of surfacing now, but not as much as I think would make a shift. It should be one of the first things the doc asks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “The store up the street gave me their WhatsApp so I would know when the empanadas would be ready.” – 😂😂😂 I love this!

    Also, I never wrote out my IBS story. Hmm. This is making me consider it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Out. of. Con-trol!

      You should! I’m sure a lot of people can relate and it may help alleviate some stress, but take what I say with a grain of salt lol I write about almost everything!

      Like

  3. We have a bit in common.

    “For example, after spending months listening to my body, I’ve learned that stress explicitly affects me. It begins in my belly like a message, and when I ignore it, it worsens.”

    This happens to me as well as physical pain in one of my legs (from past trauma to it). Whenever there’s too much stress or too much of anything out of the ordinary, my body starts reacting negatively to it.

    I am enjoying this series, Kathy. And I’m glad you are vulnerable enough to share it with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, trE! Your comment helps me to know I’m not imagining things. I’m wholeheartedly thinking the key to wellness is for us to slow it all the way down and return to being the intuitive beings we were born as.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Everything connects, and I think that’s why a holistic approach to healing usually makes more sense.

    And I am really really enjoying reading about poo and gut health- much different topics than what’s usually on my reader.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You know, I somehow (usually) offer the different topics. I mean, we don’t need to keep beating politics and covid into the ground.

      With that said, yes to holistic. We all need to get back to our roots somehow, even if it’s just drinking herbal tea and meditating 😉

      Thanks also for engaging in this series ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m glad you’re sharing this, because I think your reaction is common: when our symptoms just show up now and then, we tend to ignore them. Particularly if a doctor can’t easily identify the problem in one visit. We do need to pay attention to our bodies and figure out what they’re trying to tell us!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I find your story interesting. As acupuncture doctor, considering indigestion and coughing, it is related to Taiyin meridian which lung and spleen(pancreas) belong to. Please look at your tongue in the mirror to see for thick white or yellow coating. I suggest that you visit an acupuncturist. You look at the whole body to treat illnesses. For any questions, please visit https://moxa.blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for adding this. I thought about acupuncture, but I wasn’t sure about the side effects, if any. I’ll take a look at my tongue to see if it’s discolored.

      Like

  7. I exactly remember my episode of indigestion – my belly felt like it had become a rock and hurt the same. I went without solid food for 3 days and nobody could tell – a different light radiated as if, I was complimented for my energy, it was my body enjoying coming back to balance. Also, I realized clearly during those 3 days that I need to end my association with a project that was a major stressor on my system. It was something I was pushing myself through. I learned to trust my ‘gut’ like never before. I could make that decision clearly and bravely, and also my belly returned to normal.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I’m glad you’ve been able to connect some dots for yourself. Isn’t it an utter insanity how we don’t figure out some things like this until we’re almost fifty? it’s ridiculous, there’s no need for anyone to suffer or languish, it’s catastrophic some of the barriers that exist for health and wellness. You’re doing a lot of good with your stories about this, it’s great you chose to share.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is absolutely ridiculous that it’s not until our bodies begin to change that we’re like, hmmm what is this all about lol But at the same time, I suppose it has to be this way (for some) because at some point your body is just tired.

      I say this because I’ve recently learned that your sex hormones actually have a lot to do with helping your body function properly (i.e., digestion). Once those things start fading away, then your body is on its own. So, in a way, I see why so many of us don’t take these signs as real signs until we’re damn-near 50…in some ways, it’s because we’ve never had to.

      Like

  9. Wow, Kathy! I just caught on your previous posts. Thank you for sharing these health issues so we can learn. I had to look up laryngopharyngeal reflux, I’ve never heard of before.

    And you are so right about the gut feel, our bodies always tell us when something is not right. But only to be dismissed by doctors, because they can’t figure out what’s wrong. 😦 Can’t wait to hear what help to mitigate these reactions.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know, right? It’s a big a$$ word lol I’ve asked two doctors to pronounce it and I’ve asked Google. I still can’t figure out how to say all those syllables.

      Anywho, you’re welcome. And thank you for reading these 😉

      I just think we talk about intuition and gut like it’s two different things. I’ve learned very quickly it’s the same thing; there’s just a physical and a metaphysical part.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Reading about your reflux cough is very close to home, Katherin. My cough crops up occasionally and I consider myself to have gotten over it. But with pandemic weight gain and stress eating, it pokes through. What is really annoying is that it “grabs me” when I sing. I never know when my voice might crack, due to that tiny cough. This is actually becoming a big problem for me. But with Covid, I’m hesitant to reach out to my doctor, when it seems like a minor thing that I could address with diet.
    I am very eager to read about what has worked for you. I’ve had success when I’m on a healthy track. But unfortunately, that isn’t something I’ve been able to continuously maintain.
    I’m always learning about the commitment required to have better health. The benefits are wonderful, but it is hard to always be motivated.
    Once again, this is a great series and I’m so glad you’re writing about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Riiiight! Every time I think I’ve gotten a handle on it, then I laugh or go to present information, and I feel that little tickle in the back of my throat, and I’m like, oh no, no, not now lol

      I honestly think the only thing a traditional doctor is going to do is prescribe medicine, but of course, if you feel the need to go, I wouldn’t want to discourage that.

      For me, about half of it is diet. I’ve learned (after doing the elimination diet) that I have a slight wheat sensitivity, so I’ve started using almond flour and stuff like that where I can (i.e., waffles, tortillas, cookies).

      I’ve lost about 21 pounds, but not on purpose. Long story short, I found out I have a B12 deficiency, and a specific multivitamin has helped with that.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate knowing I’m not alone in this craziness 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, Katherin, I’ve heard about that B12 deficiency. That’s serious! I’m glad you have treated it. Many years ago, a good friend’s mother was hospitalized with concerning symptoms and I clearly remember that it was this same deficiency.
        You are definitely not alone and I realize exactly what you are saying about the Western vs. Eastern medicine. Losing weight is probably the best thing I could do. I go up and down and it’s a familiar struggle. I do have Pepsid, which I take very sparingly when I need it.
        May we both have a break from that insidious tickle!
        I’ll look forward to your next post of this series.

        Liked by 2 people

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