Saturday, September 15, 2012

On Health & Doctors

First, I have to say that I am extremely thankful for my health. It's something that I all too often take for granted. But I am reminded every now and then how frail and broken our bodies really are/can be. I get sick or have some medical issue come up that reminds me that a) I am getting older haha and b) every day of good health is a blessing from the Lord.

Second, I am also very thankful for health insurance. I realize that is something that my American upbringing certainly takes for granted; I have known no different. I may not have always had the best health insurance...but I have always been covered in some way. And the Lord has always provided.

Last Wednesday I finally saw a doctor regarding the stomach/intestinal pains I have been having. With a family history of gallbladder disease, I knew I needed to stop googling my symptoms and actually go see a a doctor of internal medicine. Or rather, my sweet husband told me to stop googling my symptoms and actually go see someone :)

But of course, it was only step 1 of the process, so I had to go back yesterday for some tests. They first did a sonogram to check for gall stones. And then they did an Upper GI (which basically means I drank this nasty white goop that made my intestines glow). The good news is that it's not my gallbladder. This is actually fantastic news; all of the women in my family have had their gallbladders removed, and I am just so thankful that I am not facing surgery. The second piece of good news is that we think we have figured it out, and it seems to have a simple solution.

As it turns out, I tested positive for something called H. Pylori. Never heard of it? Me either. But apparently it is a bacteria that can cause ulcers and in some cases, stomach cancer. 50% of the world's population has this bacteria, but most never experience any symptoms. I guess I am one of the lucky few ;) If the bacteria causes infection, like in my case, it can cause gastritis symptoms, i.e. the stomach/intestinal pain I have been experiencing.

The thing that is really interesting to me (and was fascinating to my doctor haha) is that it is something that is usually seen in developing countries and can be contracted through contaminated food or water. Remember Nicaragua? As crazy as this sounds, this diagnosis makes perfect sense to me. I have said over and over that my insides have never been the same since returning from Managua. While we can't know for sure, it is very likely that I got the bacteria while on my trip.

I am just so thankful that we finally have answers and that it's {hopefully} only going to take a heavy dose of antibiotics to fix. And I am thankful that I have access to doctors and tests and medicines to get better. But there is a part of my heart that breaks, thinking that the sweet babies that I met in Nicaragua could experience these symptoms and not have the same benefits. And I don't really know what to do with that. So for now, I praise Jesus for His blessings and pray that He will show me how my new knowledge can help others later. No wasted circumstances, right?


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