Bony was doing her make up this morning while waiting with her son on the school but stop. Her morning routine. It anyway takes her just few strokes and she would be ready for work, with that refreshed look of rosy blush on her cheeks and fuchsia pink lips. In her small pocket mirror she saw the reflection of her face and blinking lights of approaching yellow school bus.
Her son pulled her hand, getting ready for a light kiss on his forehead before he hops on the bus. Bony leaned forward to plant a kiss on his messy blond hair. He ran toward the bus, happy and reassured that everything was just fine .
But Bony could not straighten her body, pretending that she was tying her shoe lace , she clenched her teeth under the attack of sudden abdominal pain. She waited for the bus to leave, squatting and sweating.
“Bony, are you OK ?” , asked fellow school buss stop mom.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine “, she uttered and walked to her car. Once in the car, hidden from the curious eyes of parents gathered at the bus stop, she pulled her cell phone and speed dialed her husband.
“Come and get me! Can’t drive! The pain is back!”, she moaned.
She knew that her husband was already out of the house, driving to work. She knew that he had to turn around in order to respond to her call. But she could not help it. Pain was just getting more and more unbearable.
Minutes passed, she was resting her head on steering wheel, as cold sweat was staining her hair and smearing makeup.
Bony was riding tsunami waves of pain ,when she heard her husband’s knocking on the window. She opened the door. Thanks God bus stop was empty, other parents have already left their way for work or wherever else.
Bony grabbed her husband’s hand, feeling familiar bumps of calluses on his palms. He walked her to his car and in silence drove her to the emergency room.
By the time Bony arrived to the emergency room, already teaming with patients with chest pains, bleeding and fevers, nausea overwhelmed her and she started to vomit.
“Why are you here this morning?”, emergency room physician asked.
“Abdominal pain”, she replied. Her husband, seeing that she was curling in bed due to pain, decided to help out.
“She has pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis”, he stated.
“Chronic?”, ER physician asked looking at the screen of the computer in front of him stating that his patient was 27 years old.
“When did it start first?”, doctor asked for more information.
“When she was 16! “, husband replied.
“Was she drinking than ? Does she drink now ?”, he continued to gather history.
“No”, husband replied, “she ate too much fast food”.
Bony decided to join in. She did not want to be labeled as drunkard or what not .
“I ate fast food every day for one year when I was 16. I had cheap boyfriend, you know, we went for chicken nuggets, burgers and fries every day for one year”, she said.
“For one year !?”, ER physician exclaimed . “Was it some kind of a challenge?”
“No, that’s just what we did. After a year of eating like this I got severe pain just like I am having now. My parents took me to the hospital. They did my scan and told me I had pancreatitis from too much fatty food. I never drank. I never did drugs.”
“Hm! ” the emergency room doctor said. “Any other complaints?”
“Chronic bloating and abnormal bowels”.
Than she was stopped by another cramping pain.
“We are going to scan your wife and admit her to the hospital today”, physician told husband who was worried for his sickly wife and for his own self, late for work, still on probation period and had no time to call the employer yet.
As microbiome and intestinal microbiota are coming more into the focus of the researches, new connections between the microorganisms in the gut and function of different organs are being speculated. Dysbiosis resulting in decreased abundance of Bacteroides or increase in Firmictutes was appreciated in a group of mice affected by chronic pancreatitis. Studies on mice are showing possible connection between microbiota in the gut and acute and pancreatitis. Dysbiosis in the gut may create bacterial translocation and promote secondary infection. One study discusses alteration of mice microbiota by supplementation of pancreatic digestive enzymes.
Researchers are investigating connections between dysbiotic microbiota in the gut and acute and chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Poor dietary choices have resulted in alteration of Bony’s gut microbiota resulting in indigestion, bloating,bowels irregularity and ER visits for abdominal pain. Even though Bony binged on fast food every day for a year almost ten years ago, she continued to periodically treat herself and her son with fast food at the end of long days, when she had no time to cook, possibly reinforcing the same microbiota selection that was creating her chronic gastrointestinal symptoms.