Three and half years ago I began to feel nauseated each morning, only for a couple hours and then the sensation would disappear. Along with feeling like I had to vomit each morning, I began experiencing unexplained weight loss.
Primary doctor one: My first stop was to a doctor in Tucson who said I should breastfeed less and drink more water. She couldn't have been any less concerned.
Primary doctor two: Then, it was on to a doctor in El Paso. She took it seriously and tested me for just about everything in the book. Every lab result came back normal so she referred me to a nutritionist.
Nutritionist doctor: This doctor put me on a 3,000 calorie diet, but still I was losing weight and didn't feel any better.
G.I doctor one: Then I went to a G.I. doctor who put me on antacid medicine suspecting the cause was stomach acid, but that didn't fix the problem either. He scheduled me for an endoscopy, but I became pregnant with Lincoln and his treatment ended there.
Primary doctor number three: Back in Tucson, this flight surgeon was amazing and truly concerned. He said that nausea and weight loss without any other symptoms is rare and I need to continue seeking care until an answer is found. He ran the gamut of blood tests again to no avail.
G.I. number two: This doctor was like the very first, totally unenthused about my health. He did, however, perform an endoscopy which showed a hiatal hernia in my stomach and irritation in my esophagus. Lab results came back as normal and he said neither of his findings would cause my symptoms. Through his referral, I also had CAT scan, which showed nothing of concern.
Primary doctor number four: At West Point, the doctor was baffled and referred me to several other doctors to try and diagnose the problem.
Endocrinologist: This doctor ordered blood tests again and only found that my thyroid was on the upper level of normal. She thinks I may have IBS (something that has been ruled out in the past), or food allergies. She also suggested I could be physically depressed--something I'd never heard of--which means that the serotonin levels in my stomach would need to be adjusted.
Psychologist: The psychologist was referred to check out the possible diagnosis of physical depression. After a couple sessions and charting my sickness with my emotions and surroundings. She said this was not a possibility and discontinued our visits.
General surgeon: The next doctor I was sent to was a general surgeon because he does the endoscopies on post. He mentioned that I could have a lesion in my brain that causes nausea without other symptoms, but that is extremely rare. He referred me to Walter Reed to see a Gastro doctor there.
If my query leads to another dead end, I know that God is in control and He has my best interest at heart. Maybe it's because this medical issue will lead me to run into someone I'm destined to meet, maybe it's because He wants me to practice leaning on Him when I do not understand, maybe it's so that my dependence on prayer increases, and on I can imagine. Maybe it's something much grander, and maybe I'll never know. But God willing, He will bring the doctors forward and provide them divine intervention to show them the solution.
My suffering absolutely pales in comparison to that of millions of others who face tragedies such as cancer, loss of a child, disease, war and utter poverty. Thankfully, God has given us verse after verse and story after story in the Bible to help deal with our questions and pains in this lifetime. We are studying exactly this topic at church and what's made the biggest impression on my heart is the story of three men, in Daniel 3, who refuse to worship a king instead of the Lord. Because these men would not comply with the king's command, he ordered them to be put to death in a blazing furnace. The king is amazed to see a fourth individual in the fire--Jesus walking with the men. God did not choose to save these three men, it was the king. He removes the unharmed men from the furnace and even praised God after this miracle. So, God did not save them from the fire, but he walked WITH them IN the fire (and also led the King to praise Him!). I know God is walking with me through my little flame, and I know that He is with you, too, in your own fire. Cry out to Him, find peace in Him, and trust Him. He may not heal, for His own divine purposes, but He will be with you. Find comfort in Him.
* Update 11/6/16
I sent the below message to my family and close friends regarding the results of my Walter Reed appointment.
Hi Family and Friends,
I wanted to send you an update after my appointment at Walter Reed. I saw a fellow first and then he brought in his boss. In total, they spent about 90 minutes with me, which was refreshing. There is no "magic" answer but at least I have several options to explore. Some of these will probably wait until after the pregnancy.
Both doctors said if they had to bet on it they'd say my daily nausea is a central vestibular (ear) issue. I have already seen an ENT and this does not align with my weight loss, but I'll follow up with an ENT at West Point. The fellow said it could be as simple as wearing a patch behind my ear daily.
Next, my endoscopy in February showed esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) so I may need to take a daily stomach acid medicine. I have tried this before without success.
Then, the head doctor said I might just need a daily H1 blocker, like Allegra. Apparently, mucus that drains at night can cause morning nausea.
Since my nausea disappeared for nine months after Lincoln's birth and then returned, the head doc said he believes it might also be a hormone issue. He's curious to see if the same thing happens after birth this time. So if it goes away and comes back I should pursue the hormone path. Although, he said it is very challenging to pinpoint and fix hormone replacement.
Lastly, they want me to get a brain scan to check for a benign tumor. There is only less than 10 percent chance of this. It would not be cancerous since I have had the nausea for three years. When you lay down your brain swells at night and that might be pressing on a tumor causing nausea. We were not here long enough for me to do the scan so that will be up at West Point. The doctor called up to radiology and they said the MRI is safe during pregnancy , but said that West Point may want to wait until after delivery to do it. They said there is no rush since it would be benign.
On my questions based on other doctors hypothesis, he said I may have mild IBS, but it's not enough to be causing the nausea. He said food allergies would not be the cause. Same with a malabsorption issue or psychology issues. My hernia found during endoscopy may be causing some nausea but it is not large enough to outweigh the risks of surgery to fix. Lastly, he said I probably have hyperemesis (severe nausea during pregnancy) because the pregnancy exasperates whatever the existing issue is.
Thank you, sincerely, for your prayers over the years! I appreciate each of you dearly!