Ain’t Got The Guts

By Nick McKillip

“How’d you get into this condition?” A question I’ve been hearing all too much from friends the past few years. There’s no short answer just like there’s no simple solution.

My stomach looks like it’s been dragged on the back of a Camaro down I-35. The lining of my esophagus looks like I chug battery acid. The top of my intestines are toast, and everything below that is TBA until I can get enough money and a trustworthy doctor to give me a colonoscopy. I can’t eat food without taking pills (specifically digestive enzymes). My stomach lacks a suitable environment for enzymes and probiotics to survive. The result is… there are very few things my stomach can handle.

Beware the number of the feast. I had a bad habit of drinking too much milk. God, I was terrible about it. A half gallon a day on average. Followed by alcohol and just about anything else in the mix that will give you a one-way ticket to cloud 9. I was constantly munching down on pizza or tacos then passing out with basically hell brewing in my gut. I also have an extreme nickel allergy, and I do believe it has spread to the inside of my body. There is nickel in a lot of the common foods we eat and the water we drink.

People ask me a lot “How did you know there was something wrong?”  Here’s the best answer… I had the most hellacious hangover. I couldn’t eat, I was stuck on the toilet. I thought I had the flu. I lost like 30 pounds in one week. I was in a state of dementia. Honestly, I thought I was fine.

Two of my close friends took me into the hospital. The nurses hooked up the IV, told me something’s going on with my stomach, don’t drink milk or alcohol and take this pill. I did all of those things then chilled for a couple months. I thought I was fully healed and started drinking/partying hard again.

A couple months later I was on tour, and my stomach gave out; I went through a repeat episode. Terrible timing. I felt like my days were numbered. I made it back home and scheduled an appointment with a gastroenterologist.

The first doctor I saw I gave me an endoscopy. They stuck a camera down my throat and took a look around.  They said my entire stomach and my intestines were basically covered in road rash. I had gastritis, IBS, and I would probably get esophagitis. I was pretty straight with the doctor. I told him I like to party and I’ll probably do it until the day I die. So, what’s the best way to party given my situation?

Wine and potato vodka were my new diagnosed alcohols of choice. Food was a whole other story. I couldn’t eat gluten, dairy, high citrus fruits (apples, pineapples, watermelons, etc), lots of vegetables (onions, eggplant, garlic, broccoli, etc.), or spices (chili pepper, salt, sugar, etc). No fried foods, fructose corn syrup, GMO’s, the list goes on.    I was prescribed pills for acid reduction and given a supplementary fiber as hopes for a cure. Talk about a load of shit.

The diet didn’t work and was virtually impossible to abide by due to its ridiculous restrictions. It was very frustrating at first, but I was working ways around it. Drinking wine, potato vodka, and gluten free beer.

I discovered lactase enzymes. Soon after that, I discovered more enzymes; ones that could aid the digestion of gluten, carbs, proteins, etc. Once I discovered these enzymes my life was changed forever, but I was stuck wondering why my gastroenterologist didn’t tell me about this years ago when the problems first occurred.

I partied pretty hard for the next 3 or 4 years ignoring my issues. Finally, it was all starting to weigh in. My eyes were constantly bloodshot, and I was losing a ton of weight. 30 pounds or so, and I’m already a stick figure.

I decided to try out acupuncture. That was interesting. They gave me the most ungodly blend of insect eggs and whatever else to drink every night. The only problem was I couldn’t swallow it without puking my guts out.

Shortly after, I saw a holistic doctor. She was cool and honest, but I think she was in way over her head with my case. My insurance didn’t cover these visits because they don’t recognize this type of medicine. My holistic doctor was very comforting and reassuring that we could overcome my problems and promised me we would fix my stomach. She would give me massages and powder blends to strengthen my stomach. I spent an entire summer of earnings here ($2,000-3,000) with little results. I was told I would need a gene test to guarantee my cure. The cost was $600 to get the genes tested. $200 for the blood. My insurance would not cover the gene test, but we did do the blood test.

From the blood test, the holistic doctor was able to assume that I had a mutated gene. I was given a pill called Methylation Complete that was supposed to correct this mutation. I tried it but had no positive results. After evaluating the blood test further, she told me my liver was in bad shape. I then went to see another Gastro doc who told me my liver was fine based off of my bloodwork. I then got a second opinion from a family friend who is also a Gastro doc in Massachusetts. He said the same thing. My liver is fine. So things got hairy with the holistic doctor; she lost my trust, and I quit seeing her.

I started seeing another gastroenterologist who wanted to give me a colonoscopy. So, the day after my first appointment, I call the number she gave me to get the colonoscopy scheduled and no one answers. I leave a message and wait a couple days, and no one gets back to me. So I do the stool samples for a couple days literally digging through my waste and preserving it in containers. I never heard anything back. At that point, I said screw it, and I’ve been doing my best since. I’m a year Sober now, and my stomach is still damaged, but I’m eager to see what happens with stem cell research in the next decade. I feel like if anything will do the trick that’s it.