Sorry for the delay, but wanted to make sure I had the time to answer you appropriately. And thank you for the questions. Please see my answers below:
What are your current symptoms?
So my current symptoms are not those normally associated with typical stomach/gut issues, at least as far as I'm aware of. While I do have occasional bloating and flatulence, those particular symptoms were worse before and have improved quite a bit. My current symptoms are as follows:
- Heavy feeling in my stomach/gut from time to time, often with a knot just below my sternum that feels like something is stuck there.When this knot is there (which was very consistent 1+ year ago), it almost feels like it's pulling inward on my stomach and I cannot take a full breath or complete a yawn. To specify, it's not that I have difficulty breathing, just that I can't seem to get a full breath, which I notice most when I play sports.
- As mentioned, I will have occasional discomfort from bloating or flatulence and heartburn, and sometimes a slight sense of my stomach being "off", but that's about it regarding that particular area of my body.
- It's many of my other symptoms which bother me more. The biggest one of these is "brain fog", or a feeling that my head is always cloudy and my brain slow
- Coupled with this are times when my coordination seems to flee, which I notice most in my fingers and hands. It's almost like they become really arthritic and I drop things, etc.
- During these times, I also feel unsure of my equilibrium and will have little 'bouts of vertigo (waves vs. spinning). This could be tied to the endolymphatic hydrops, but that was diagnosed as secondary so it's whatever is causing that. At its worst, I was having trouble walking. I had to consciously think about putting one foot in front of the other. This has thankfully subsided and I only notice it intermittently now.
- When it get's bad, I also notice that I have a lot of muscle twitching, spasms and fluttering, specifically in my eyelids, and not difficulty swallowing per se, but that there's a lump of sorts in my throat
- Oh, and my hands and feet feel as if they are very tight and always on the verge of cramping. This is one of the first symptoms I felt way back in the day that alerted me that something was amiss
Have you undergone any investigations so far?
Yes, have tried many different things, ones that come to mind listed below:
- Numerous blood tests, all of which have come back in "normal" range
- Chiropractic and massage
- Diuretics and balance exercises for my ears/vertigo
- Brain MRI to rule out anything on that front
- Numerous dietary things, including cleanses and elimination diets, probiotics, l-glutamine, tests for gluten sensitivity and Celiacs, food allergies, etc.
Are you taking any medicines?
Currently, the only thing I take is a supplement called Inflammatone, which seems to help my stomach, as well as everything else. Not sure if this is just as a general inflammation reducer or what.
Alcohol and smoking consumption?
I do not smoke, but drink a decent amount. Rarely do I drink to get drunk anymore these days, but my wife and I will often have a few cocktails 4-5 times per week. And there does seem to be some correlation between my symptoms getting slightly worse and times when I do drink heavily for many days in a row. (one of my food allergies was to brewer's yeast).
What is your occupation?
I own my own business that builds mobile apps and mobile websites. It's relatively low-stress compared to most other work I've done in the past.
Are you overweight?
Nope. I weigh about 150 and I'm about 5'10". I exercise regularly and am quite fit.
That reminds me on the exercise. One symptom, which I thought was really odd, was that when I was feeling bad and tried to exercise, I didn't seem to have any trouble during the exercise itself, but after the fact, I would be absurdly sore (more so when I was lifting), and much more than I normally would be. It was almost as if my body couldn't handle the muscles rehabbing and rebuilding themselves.
A few more general things. I had multiple concussions from soccer previously and had a lot of brain fog associated with that. For the longest time, I thought quite a few of my symptoms were from this (and maybe there is some relation), but I notice what seems to be a fairly direct correlation between my stomach/gut, specifically the feeling beneath my sternum and how I feel overall. Certain things like the inflammatone, as well as times after a cleanse, have seemed to help, which leads me to believe it might be something related to what's going on in my stomach/gut.
Thinking back, I was on heavy and prolonged antibiotics roughly 5 years ago (maybe more even) for a pilonidal cyst and was never told to take anything or even eat yogurt to replenish the good bacteria that I'm assuming was killed off. This is speculation on my part of course, but after 3+ years I'm trying to piece together what could have initiated this and how to fix it of course.
Very interested to hear your thoughts and what you think next steps might be. Thank you very much!