“I found my people!” I exclaimed.
My husband was just waking up, his eyes barely open when I awakened him with this news.
For weeks, I had been sulking around the office, complaining to anyone and everyone that I was A) thirsty beyond belief and B) gaining weight unlike I’d ever seen. I don’t track my weight normally, but I do track it when I can’t zip my pencil skirts on…which started a couple of Tuesdays ago. I watched as the weight barometer inched up daily. I was gaining almost a pound a day…all in my stomach! I was uttering that I may as well be pregnant to my coworkers….then so as not to become a self-fulfilling prophesy, I had to verify that I wasn’t. This was the type of growth that sends any sensible woman into a state of depression.
It was also the type of growth that sends any insensible woman online to investigate, strangling out all possible origins. Obviously this wasn’t my first medical query excavation. I have long since been lauded as a hypochondriac. I would bet 70% of that statement to be truth. The other 30% is where the doctor’s step in and say they’ve found something new that I need to get checked out. Still, I’m probably the only person on the planet who delights in following the ridiculous trail of tests and doctors to “get to the bottom of things.” And, you cannot tell me that I’m making it up when my lips and tongue ‘fall asleep’ when I’m low on sugar. You cannot.
For the search involving my new stomach, I started after my husband was asleep–around 11pm– with the usual suspects: webmd, mayoclinic, and google. The results were too broad. Then I furrowed deeper into message boards and conversations about symptoms. “belly swollen looks pregnant” didn’t do me any good as those fields sent me right back to, you guessed it, pregnancy sites.
But then, aha! Somewhere buried on Topix.com was a thread started over a year ago by a comrade who was also taking the unsuspecting drug, Prilosec. Why was I on Prilosec, you might ask? Because I went to the doctor to tell him I was clearing my throat an unusual amount of times, where he sent me to not only the radiologist to swallow liquid chalk at the rate one might beer bong, but also to the speech pathologist to stick a 6 inch pole with a camera down my gagged throat. This miracle drug was supposed to obliterate my “ahem’s” in just a few short weeks. But I didn’t notice a difference.
Except, I did notice my beach ball gut, which is exactly what my best friend Barbara (the commenter on Prilosec usage on Topix) said! Then I read further. Then further. There were 435 entries from people across the United States. I read them all… for 2 hours straight, gleefully nodding my head in agreement when I came across another spot-on poster. “Run from this drug” they exclaimed. “I will never take this again,” they concluded. “I hope I can lose the weight someday, it’s been 6 months,” read others. Panic and victory set in all at once.
It was, amazing. My people were out there the whole time. People just like me…to overanalyze, to be their own physicians, to know their bodies fully, to suspect and hypothesize, and make group decisions based off of personal experience. I quit the Prilosec three days ago at the urging of Barbara, and my stomach has stopped swelling. Thank God for chat rooms. Thank God for skinny jeans that will fit again. Thank God for Barbara. I found my people!