Tuesday, March 25, 2008

FA is such a load of crap

Since my brother and I first started going through FA, one of the problems has been our stomachs. I am a fiber fan. It doesn't solve what my primary care doctor calls irritable bowel syndrome, but it helps … sometimes … if all other factors are going my way … if my daily routine has not changed … if the food I have eaten is normal. Wait, scratch that. I don't think it has anything to do with food. Last night a pasta salad set me off. Pasta salad? And no, you don't really want to know what "set me off" means; safe to say it is not something I would wish upon others. Maybe Darth Vader.

This first started happening to me in college, and I blamed the institutional food. I got a friend with a car to drive me regularly to Bodo's Bagels to get a turkey sandwich on a salt bagel. That I could handle. I guess I owe the food service at the University of Virginia an apology.

No doctor could find a cause for my stomach woes, so I sucked it up. I remember kneeling down, bent over my dorm trashcan taking a teaspoon of Kaopectate. I used to slam my knee into the floor to keep from gagging. I still slam my knee into the floor, but it is no longer on purpose.

I mostly just suck it up even now 15 years later, because I am sure it is related to FA, even though no doctor has told me so. In fact, early on they told me it was unrelated. My brother, lots of anecdotal evidence from the Web and my own issues are all just coincidental to FA. Right. (Not that I don't still love the medical profession.)

I just looked over a few fact sheets on FA. None mentions stomach problems. I also really should not look at such fact sheets. God, how depressing. "Some people with less severe symptoms of Friedreich's ataxia live much longer, sometimes into their sixties or seventies." They make it sound like good news.

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