I was in a new city, on my own, trying to make friends, and still suffering from chronic stomach pain and bad bathroom trips. I tried everything that year — eating plain turkey sandwiches, running a few miles every morning, trying to get a good night’s sleep even when my partier of a roommate forbade it. I went to a doctor in L.A. who gave me a prescription for Prevacid, a medicine that specifically treats acid reflux.
But the product didn’t help me, and I still didn’t have any concrete answers as to what my problem could be. Dr. Lacy explains,
Unfortunately, the cause of IBS remains unknown, and that at present we are unable to cure patients of IBS.
But even though a cure seemed impossible, in the summer of 2004, I became determined to find the closest thing to one.
I met with a Reno gastroenterologist, told him my symptoms in detail, and prepared myself for multiple tests. An endless amount of blood samples were taken — all turned out normal. I endured a CAT scan, where I had to spend the morning drinking giant bottles of chalky liquid and spend the afternoon lying down in a giant machine that made me feel like a biology specimen — as expected, nothing out of the ordinary was discovered.
The worst ordeal I endured that summer, one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, occurred when the gastroenterologist recommended that I have an endoscopy, which Dr. Lacy says,
can be used to search for sources of bleeding, for evidence of an obstruction or blockage, or to identify the presence of ulcers and cancerous tissue.
In this procedure, my doctor told me, I would be sedated while a doctor pressed a tiny scope down my throat and took pictures inside my stomach to see if I had any abnormalities. I didn’t think it would be that bad of a procedure — I would be sedated and lost in my own little world, after all — but the doctor carelessly failed to give me anything in the way of anesthesia.
Before the snake-like scope was lowered down my throat, I could tell that something was wrong — not only was I not sedated, but I was completely awake and aware of everything around me. My throat had been numbed, thankfully, but as soon as the scope entered my system, I started choking, and instead of removing the scope for safety reasons, the doctor continued to cast it down.
I still remember him saying to me, “just relax… relax, Brian… I’m almost done… it’ll be over soon,” as I gagged and choked on my own vomit. Even worse, the sensation of a small camera poking around the inside of my belly is one I will never forget. And what came of this moment of sheer terror? Nothing. The endoscopy pictures found nothing unusual in my system.