I visited my GP last week about something unrelated to my gut, but I happened to mention my ongoing problem with tenderness throughout my abdomen. As I wrote about before, the physician's assistant (PA) who initially diagnosed it said that the cause of the discomfort was likely the pancreas and/or spleen due to my ongoing Epstein Barr infection. The pain and tenderness started in the last week of July and has been intermittent since.
My GP palpated the area where the pain is the worst (just under the bottom of my left rib cage) and she insisted that it is actually my stomach. Thinking back a couple weeks earlier to a Dr. C appointment, he suggested the same thing but I didn't pay much attention. And now, thinking about the pain and tenderness more, I'm fairly certain my GP and Dr. C are right -- it's the gut, not the pancreas. (My reasons are too many to cover fully here, but one of the main ones is that, on bad days, the swelling and tenderness is all throughout my entire abdomen, from the bottom of the rib cage to the pelvis, both sides.)
For most of my life with ME/CFS (since 2011), gut disturbances have been pretty far down the list of severity of symptoms (notwithstanding the initial onset period). That's not to say I didn't have gut problems, but I usually had more painful or debilitating symptoms that I had to deal with. Now it seems the gut disturbances are the worst--maybe tied with the overall fatigue.
Right now, it almost feels like my entire abdomen could burst out of the skin. The whole area feels swollen and bloated. "Bodily functions" are a little off, but not in a way that seems to match the severity of the pressure I feel. No loss of appetite. I've now spoken with three doctors about this issue and none of them have anything useful to add or seem particularly concerned. (That's good I guess?)
My GP wrote a script for an acid-reducing medication but I don't feel that over-production of acid is remotely close to being the problem. I didn't fill the prescription. In the meantime, I've tried various diet alterations (although not in a very systematic way) and can't find any obvious cause in food. I might have wondered if there's a connection between the gut issues and my increased dose of Valacyclovir (3G/day), but the problems started months before the increased dose.
I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist in the fourth week of November, and I am hoping to obtain some clarification from him. Could this be just another strange symptom of ME/CFS that I have to live with until it mysteriously goes away?
In the mean time, in light of my ongoing positive Epstein Bar Virus (EBV) IgM tests, I went back and looked at my old lab results. I knew that I had a positive test for EBV IgM (active infection) back in 2005, way before I got ME/CFS. And I also thought I knew I had been thoroughly tested for EBV since falling ill with ME/CFS in 2011. But when I looked back at my records of blood tests where EBV was tested post-diagnosis (twice in 2012, and once in 2013), I saw that the doctors only ordered tests for IgG antibodies. My memory was only that IgG was positive, which led me to assume we'd also tested IgM and that was negative. But actually, until this year, nobody ever tested my EBV IgM titers. How could this oversight have happened?
So now I'm wondering if I've had positive IgM titers for EBV for a very long time. I feel frustrated, but also a little hopeful that if I can somehow treat the EBV and bring IgM titers back in range, I might feel a little better. So far though, that's not going so great. I have an appointment with an infections disease specialist in two days. I'm doubtful she will be of much help, but I'm going to give her a chance nonetheless.