Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Gastritis Got Me! (Or: How I Got Over My Fear of Pharmaceutical Drugs)

Dear Friends,

So, on Friday night around 9pm, I started feeling a very strong abdominal pain much like one I'd experienced in the end of May 2015, wherein I was just a touch doubled-over in extreme pain for five days straight.
This time I thought I'd wait it out again, too, but when, in my bed at about 1:00am Saturday I was in such pain, I called out (in my mindal units), "Angels, please help me!" I sensed their immediate and characteristically both stern and gentle reply, "Go to the emergency room!" So, I was all, "Okay. It's gonna hurt all this movin' around and all, but I trust ya. Y'all ain't never steered me wrong yet!" (It didn't sound anything like that, but you know what I mean.)
 I called ye olde nine-one-one and soon the EMTs were over, wheeling me into the van to take me to the ER.
I was in such agonational qualities I couldn't even sit upright. I had to lie on my side, and once I was actually on my knees in the well-known Catholic prayer position. (You know that one, doncha?)
I arrived at the ER at 3:00am. I left there at 12:30pm with a diagnosis of gastritis (severe acid flare-up of the esophageal reggiones) and a prescription for daily antacid tablet Prilosec.
Sunday night I took one, and then I saw on YouTube this raw vegan chyk talking about how cabbage juice cured her similar digestive issues (cabbage juice is well known to do this) and how banana milk (bananas and water in a blender) is a wonderful and perfect thing to consume when your food-managing innards have gone awry.
Even though I'd already, after the diagnosis, began eating only bananas, grapes, and drinking water, I decided, when she said that drugs to stop your body from making as much acid, are bad, I thought: Yeah! My body didn't do anything wrong by producing the amount of acid it did - my behavior triggered the response. So I quit the Prilosec after one dose.
But then the pain was just so bad and wouldn't relent for very much or for very long, even after my using turmeric and ginger, both known anti-inflammatorational devices, and good for the stomach.
Yesterday I had a follow up appointment with my primary care provider (what a bogus title - I am my own primary care provider!) who's a nurse practitioner - I love them. The follow up was about how a new blood pressure medication I'd recently begun was working out. While I was there I told her about the gastritis, which she said she also has.
She told me what works for her (drinking lots and lots of water, and eating plain, totally oil-butter-fat free mashed potatoes), and she encouraged me to take the Prilosec.
She helped me see that it isn't about being on a drug forever (sorry, Larry the Cable Guy!), but using something to stop the immediate discomfort. She said I could just take it for a week if I want. It really helped to know I didn't need to make a lifetime commitment to it. So I took it right there in her office. And I took it again today at 12:30pm.
Last night at about 1:00am I felt significantly better, although about 6 hours later I started feeling more pain again. It does take 1-4 days for the effects to be felt.

Here's what I've learned in this process, and in the process of beginning medication for my hypertension:

  1. You don't have to be afraid of pharmaceutical drugs. Sure, the industry's got a lot of evil and corruptation in it, but medicines have helped many people live longer and healthier lives, too. What convinced me to finally try hypertension meds again was that one of my mental health providers told me that with medication his blood pressure now is "perfect". I like the idea of doing that myself, and to stop straining my system by ignoring the problem. I used to think I could use just health food and raw veganism to cure every major health problem in my life, the main ones being my bipolar disorder and hypertension. But it takes certain resources, not only money and a place to have your juicer and blender and stuff, but these resources must be consistent, for many years, to make a positive and lasting effect on your health. If you're like me, and you're not able to guarantee that, consider medication until you are.
  2. It doesn't have to be forever. You can take medications temporarily, and stop when you've created other systems to maintain your wellness.
  3. It doesn't have be your sole source of wellness. The best plan is one that includes other things with whatever you're doing: Exercise, time with loved ones, creative outlets, prayer and meditation, etc. Medication is not a magic pill, any more than raw veganism or uber healthfood lifestyle alone the cure all.
  4. You can always detox later. Drugs do have toxins, but focusing on that delays your success in treating other life-threatening issues. Put out the big fires first, by any means blah blah blah.
  5. Taking medication is a sign of increased self-care. Being diligent about taking it every day, and roughly the same time every day, the way you're instructed to, be it with food, or before bed or whatever, and doing the other things you need to do to ensure that it has the best chance of working, such as not using alcohol or consume anything that will weaken or negatively interact with it - all this is called being in compliance. Being in compliance with your treatment says "I love myself" and that you matter. The universe says Yes! and sends other experiences to affirm that belief.


I would like to share my success in reaching a goal I set for myself - to blog more - NOW, regardless of the conditions in my life.
So, even though I'm typing in the back office of a bookstore, on my laptop, and am in some amount of pain and wanting to go home and get into my bed right away, I am sitting here writing because I promised myself that I would. Because "I love myself" and "I matter."

May you do and feel the same.

Blessings and Light,

Cassendre

Next live concert: Wed. March 23, 2016, at Tin Angel, with Rupert Wates www.tinangel.com


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Make yourself a beautiful day!

Cassendre Xavier
(aka Amethyste Rah, aka Amrita Waterfalls)
"renaissance negresse & ARTrepreneur"
(musician/writer/actress/fine artist)
$15,000 Leeway Transformation Award-Winning founder & executive director of the Black Women's Arts Festival (Est. 2003 http://BWAFphilly.org) and the Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002 http://WomensWritingSeries.org). 
Musical & guided meditation albums and tracks:
Yoga Classes & Writings: http://bit.ly/1VQZZxU 
Official website: http://cassendrexavier.com

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