Early on in October I got to spend a few days in the ICU when an ulcer ate through an artery in my stomach. I bled out more than half the blood in my body within 15 minutes and had to get the artery cauterized shut. I remained conscious and strong the whole time. I was ready to do anything to get out of there by the second day. Eventually I discharged myself against orders because they wanted to observe me another night. A sympathetic nurse felt that I could observe myself from the comfort of home without adding on to my already outrageous hospital bill so she helped me get out of there. I was out riding the day after I got out.
They said that physically I was in great shape and that I wouldn't have fared so well if I was out of shape and had lost that much blood. They asked about stress, drugs, drinking, diet, etc...anything that would induce ulcers. About my only vice was drinking (not out of control, but a couple every night for the most part - no beer really, mostly mixed drinks) so they immediately jumped on that as being my problem. Some nurse lectured me on not drinking and they sent me home after 2 days with a prescription for nexium.
Fast forward 2.5 months. I don't have any visible symptoms of an ulcer but I don't feel good either. Even though I am 'cleared' to drink, I have had maybe 2 or 3 drinks total in the last few months and they were beer. I quit drinking soda and have made significant changes to my diet. I don't take aspirin based products and have never been a big coffee drinker. I've lost 10-15 lbs. and I was built pretty skinny to begin with. Although ulcers can also often be caused by a form of bacteria in the stomach, I tested negative for this.
I think this all might have been stress induced from the beginning. I've noticed that for the most part my stomach really starts churning and not feeling good in higher stress situations. I did have an ulcer maybe 7 years ago when I barely drank and was busting my ass during my first semester in college which further backs up my belief.
I'm self employed and partner with a friend in an engineering consulting firm, which is actually pretty easygoing. I don't really worry about money too much. Stress isn't a problem for me professionally - I don't "crack up" when it hits - I step up and do what it takes no matter what. I've always been that way. It's just little day-to-day things that make my stomach churn.
I guess my main point is if it is stress what can I do about it? I can't relax - I guess I don't know how. If I go on a vacation half of my time is spent thinking about all the shit I have to do when I get back. It seems to me that to really alleviate stress, one would have to have a bottomless wallet and no responsibility - neither of which are an option. I'd ask my doctor but don't think I'd get a reply back in English.
Oh yeah....before someone tells me to rub one out more often...I've got that covered.