I'm hoping you can help me to identify a "mystery" medical problem that has plagued me for about seven years now.
Just to give you some general health information, I'm 42. White. Not an olympian, but not morbidly obese, either. I smoke pot maybe 2-3 times a year and I don't drink to excess.
I keep having these - attacks. I don't know what else to call them. The first one took place in 2006. The most recent one was this week. Thankfully, they only seem to happen about once a year.
It always begins like a case of indigestion. A mild burning feeling in the stomach.
Over the course of 30-45 minutes or so, the burning gradually intensifies until it feels like I've got a lump of hot charcoal in my gut. I can actually picture it in there - angry, throbbing red.
The next 6-7 hours are pure agony. Standing under a hot shower helps somewhat, but other than that it's pretty much impossible to get comfortable. When I'm experiencing one of these attacks I literally writhe with pain. I keep changing position and location to try to get some relief. Bed. Couch. Chair. Floor. Climbing the walls. It makes no difference.
My body temperature veers all over the place. One minute I'm wrapping myself up in every spare blanket available, desperate to get warm. The next I'm flinging things off trying to cool down. I've never been tempted to try the stuff, but, based on what I've read, I can imagine that this is what kicking heroin must be like.
With some attacks, I'll experience a wave of nausea and vomit. The other night I barfed three times. Not much comes up, though. It's not like food poisoning, for instance. It isn't a case of my body rejecting something bad. I don't feel any better once I've puked.
Apart from one experience, all the attacks have happened around bedtime. This is important because it means I'm up all night, and, once the pain subsides, I basically pass out from exhaustion.
The day after I'm fine, more or less. Naturally, I don't eat much of anything for about 24 hours or so. I'll also feel pretty dehydrated, so I drink a lot of water. Other than that, though, recovery is surprisingly quick. I'll really just need to sleep and then I'm back in business.
Like I said, though, the exact cause of these attacks is a complete mystery. There doesn't seem to be a consistent trigger. It's not a particular kind of meal or drink or experience that brings them on... not that I've been able to tell.
Give me your thoughts - what do you think is going on here? The experience itself is sheer hell and I'd be willing to do pretty much anything to avoid another attack, but I'm not sure about what I should, or shouldn't, be doing. I have some theories, but I don't want to bias your responses...
Thanks in advance!