Approximate time to read: 3 minutes

One of the things I’ve not really written about is my physical health. Mental health, yes. Now, I’m generally in good health (despite my size – but I’ll get onto that) but have a couple of niggling issues, one of which seems to have stumped health professionals. And my DNA.

So, I thought it time to write some more and, maybe, using the power of the internet I may find a solution. Or solace. Or just pity.

Red in the face

For about 20 years I’ve suffered from mild eczema – I get small patches of particularly dry skin on my body during the winter sometimes, but it mainly consists of dry skin on my face, particularly on my cheeks. I’ve always dealt this with a good dose of E45 rubbed on every morning after I shower. I’ve tried alternative creams but nothing works as well.

Well, in recent years, my cheeks started getting redder and it turns out this is rosacea (as confirmed by my Doctor). Initially, they tried to put me on 3 months of antibiotics – I’m reluctant to use antibiotics for something like this and when I started suffering from side-effects, I stopped them and went back to my Doctor again. This time they gave me an antibiotic cream which I used until it ran out but, unfortunately, it didn’t make any real difference. I went back for a third time and this time was suggested that a diet change could help – I should 3 try weeks without lactose and then 3 weeks without gluten.

So far I’ve done the lactose diet and it’s made no change to my rosacea. However, I’m also supplementing this with an acne light therapy mask – rosacea is, after all, a form of acne. This has made some improvement but not much.

And that’s it, right now. In a few weeks I intend to try the gluten free diet to see if that makes a difference. The next step, I believe, is to send me to a specialist – laser treatments are available but I’m reluctant to do something like this and I think I’d rather live with the red cheeks.

Now the above isn’t really worth mentioning except for the fact that the story is relevant to the next one, as they cross over…

A pain in the stomach

A few years ago, my wife called the emergency services in the early hours of the morning. I was in terrible pain and was barely conscious. I was dosed with morphine by the attending paramedics and rushed to hospital in an ambulance where they tested my heart and x-rayed me thoroughly. They found… nothing. When the pain subsided I was sent home to see my GP. They did blood tests and found… nothing. I was sent to a local health centre for scans of my kidney and other organs. Nothing. Finally, I was sent to a nurse to look at my general health – more tests ensued and, despite my size, she could find nothing wrong either, not even enough to recommend a diet.

And, yet, the issue continues. I’ve never had it so bad again but have had a couple of really bad relapses – one time paramedics came to the house but I wasn’t taken to hospital, and another time I was dealt with over the phone. Paracetamol and indigestion tablets seem to sort it now. Most of the time, though, it affects me far less seriously and normally in the form of bad discomfort in my stomach/gut. In recent years it’s got more regular and on the days when I feel 100% I feel like celebrating as they come around quite rarely now.

So, with medical science apparently finding nothing (although it was good to know I have “the heart of an ox” and a healthy liver and kidneys) I’ve been trying to work it out for myself, but with little success.

Last year, I went vegetarian for about 3 months, believing that would help. It didn’t, so I’m back eating meat again.

And this is where both health issues come together. You see, when I stopped eating lactose for 3 weeks, I felt better – my stomach discomfort went away immediately. After a week I wanted to confirm this for sure, so sent away for a DNA test that would check my genetic markers for whether I am lactose tolerant or not. It takes a while for the lab to process it but, to be honest, I was so sure I was intolerant that I didn’t need them to rush. So imagine this surprise…

Oh.

The thing is, since ending the 3 weeks diet trial, I’ve gone right back to how I felt before. And that’s pretty rubbish. So much so that I headed to the supermarket and bought a basketful of lactose free items again. Within a day I felt better again.

Whether my DNA says otherwise, I want to feel how I was feeling before. Naturally, I’ve made an appointment with the Doctor to discuss all of this.

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