The Chronic Abdominal Pain Essay ©
Death by 1000 cuts without the death
I had chronic intermittent abdominal pain which had not responded to any form of treatment in any effective or lasting way, so I decided to study it myself in 1975. It took me 23 years of experimentation before I was finally able to relieve that pain in 1998, and the ideas and methods are subject to copyright, and I own that intellectual property. However, I have found recently that many people, some of whom are top international researchers, have breached my copyright by using the ideas without asking for my permission, or mentioning me as the source. Other people are now using my method to prevent or treat such problems in themselves, and to educate students and society. See my report here.
At the very least I require each and every person who writes, or talks about, or teaches other people, to mention my name as the developer, and in some instances they should gain a licence to do so, and pay me a fee.
I had some problems with abdominal discomfort probably since the age of six when I was ill for several months with hepatitis, and I lost a lot of body weight. My physique changed from being a healthy looking child with a straight spine, to a thin and stooped seven year old due to the fact that my weakened muscles had resulted in my skeleton collapsing under it's own body weight. However, I was not aware of that until many years later when I began to study my own problems and treat them myself.
I also had some abdominal discomfort as a teenager, but nothing obvious until I was about 22 years old. One day I finished my days work as a clerk and drove to a hotel where I had a very large meal which would have made my stomach full and heavy. I then drove to a gymnastics club, and when I entered the hall I did a head over heels jump called a handspring. My back was arched as my feet his the ground, and I felt a ripping sensation in my belly just below the lower tip of my breast bone. There was no actual pain, and I didn't start bleeding from the mouth, so I continued to participate in the gym activities for the remainder of the evening. I assumed that I may have injured my internal anatomy, and that like all external cuts and bruises it would heel within a few minutes or days. See gymnastics here.
Scroll in an out of this diagram and see here
However, over next few years I was troubled by abdominal pain occurring when I worked at a desk as a clerk. I had numerous medical tests but it didn't’ matter how mild or severe the pain was at the time, nothing was evident on x-rays. I was advised that it was due to cardiospasm (also called esophageal achalasia) which is an abnormal function of the valve like structure between the food pipe and stomach.
The pain had some obscure features which I was unable to clearly identify at that time, but it didn't occur when I started work at 9 a.m. in the morning, but would gradually become evident and annoying after leaning forward repeatedly for about an hour, and would then get gradually worse throughout the day.
Eventually I was getting several other symptoms as well, in particular a type of fatigue or exhaustion, and was ultimately consulting a doctor every two weeks, but none of the medications had any benefit, and then I was prescribed barbiturates at progressively increasing doses.
When the side-effects of the drugs were becoming more of a problem than the ailments I decided that the only way to relieve the pain was to leave work. However, as nothing was evident on x-rays it was made clear to me that there was going to be a lot of difficulty getting compensation or a pension at such a young age, so I decided to resign without my entitlements to superannuation benefits of 40% of my current salary. I was so ill that I couldn't even continue for another few months to get long service leave of 9 weeks holiday on full pay.
My future prospects were that I had to spend the remainder of my life living in abject poverty, or study the medical literature and try to identify the cause and determine a way of treating those problems myself.
The fact that the pain appeared to be aggravated by sitting at a desk and leaning forward to write meant that I would also have the pain when doing any sort of writing or book work such as reading medical texts, but I didn't’t have any choice. I was hoping that the benefits would outweigh the damage.
I started by laying on my back on the lounge room carpet with a pillow under my head, and staring at the ceiling and thinking about what to do. I then purchased a small Reader’s Digest book on the A-Z of medicine, and began reading it at the rate of one word a day.
When I got to the D’s I saw a description of Da Costa’s syndrome which matched my symptoms of chest pains, breathlessness and fatigue, and kept going for the next few months until l got to the Z’s but I couldn't find anything else (Apart from the main symptoms of that ailment, abdominal pain is often one of the other common ones). See my report here.
I also joined a fitness programme at a medical research institute to see if exercise could gradually overcome the fatigue.
Furthermore, I cut out some strips of paper 6 inches square, and put the name of each symptom on the top, and kept a record of anything which seemed to aggravate them. If leaning forward to tie up shoe laces aggravated the abdominal pain, I noted it on that paper, and if it happened again and again I would put a tick next to it each time. Within a few months or years it became evident that many of the symptoms were aggravated by a variety of factors which involved leaning forward.
From what I had been told the cause was a complete mystery to the medical profession so I started writing essays about my findings. I was aware that Henry Gray had described the details of every millimetre of the human body in his book Gray's Anatomy, in order to make it easier to understand the human condition, and I was writing about the symptoms with similar details, relating to every second and every activity or event of every day, so that the medical profession could understand illness more accurately, and more correctly. Naturally I knew that there would be many 'ignorant', and 'useless' and shallow minded fools who would misrepresent that as the 'morbid' and 'obsessive' 'preoccupation' with 'trivial' 'details' as seen in 'hypochondria' which is regarded as a 'mental illness'.
Nevertheless, it was either a matter of solving the problem myself, or continuing to suffer, so I described as many details as necessary without giving any regard to the 'useless' critics.
I sent my essays off to magazines and within a short time the Australasian Nurses Journal was publishing them consistently at the rate of one every three months, so it wasn't necessary to send them anywhere else.
My method was to establish consistent and reliable facts and write a small essay about each symptom, which took about two weeks. During that time my abdominal pain would increase and persist, and take two weeks to subside, and when I was free of pain I would start another essay. I probably wrote about 30 essays in five years and about fifteen of them were published. One of the last essays was called “The Matter of Framework” which I have since referred to as The Posture Theory. See here.
Also during that time I tried to get a different form of employment which would not cause problems but it was difficult to find anything that did not involve leaning forward. I considered selling real estate but that involved reading and filling in several pages of fine print in the sales agreement, so it was not suitable. I also tried window cleaning but developed abdominal pain if I stretched upwards or sideways to clean high or wide windows, or dizziness if I had to bend down to clean low windows. I also managed to find some part time work selling items that only required a small receipt with a stamp for my own details, and the name and address of the customer, the item and cost, and a signature. However, after several months a state of severe exhaustion would gradually and insidiously accrue which made it not worth while continuing, and required several months of rest to recover.
Another thing that I did was to go to the beach at least once each summer, and run a short distance, perhaps five yards along the sand, and do a head over heels hand spring with my back arched. On each and every occasion, as my feet hit the sand with a thud, I would feel the gnawing soreness in my upper abdomen, in the exact spot where the abdominal pain was generally felt. It confirmed the fact that it was related to the injury in the gym many years earlier. I did that handspring every year for at least four years to assess if the injury was healing, but the fact that I felt that pain each time indicated that it was chronic, and probably never likely to heal. The problems I had with that pain when sitting at a desk and leaning forward were obviously due to postural pressure on that sore spot.
It is further likely that my spine and chest shape disposed to that injury, and the other symptoms, and that repeatedly leaning forward was making them worse.
By the time I had finished the posture essay, which essentially solved the mystery about the cause of the symptoms, I was ready to stop writing essays entirely, and continue to look for other ways of earning a living.
However, one day while I was walking in town I met a friend who I had formerly studied with at the Institute of Technology, and I told him about my ideas. He then told me about a friend of his who was in charge of a research institute and suggested that I contact him. When I met the manager he was an amiable person who thought that one of my ideas could be researched in his facilities, and suggested it to his cardiologists. He later advised me that they were too busy, and talked me into organising a project myself.
I didn't’t want to do it because I knew that at the end of a three month project I would have to write a report and would become crippled with abdominal pain in the process.
Nevertheless I continued, and one of the first requirements was for me to send a letter to a politician to get 'official' approval and endorsement for the project, so I spent about 2 weeks considering what the write. I didn't want to do that either, but when I was asked to do it I left a meeting, and as I walked past the receptionists desk I asked for some pieces of paper and a biro. She then directed me to a desk in another room. I wrote several pages of text in a few minutes and when I returned and asked her to type it she looked 'astonished' and asked me how I could write so much in such a short time. I told her that I just sat down and kept writing until it was finished, without telling her that I wanted to do it as quickly as possible and with as little abdominal pain as possible.
The project was approved and proceeded, and the results were entirely successful in every way, and I did have to write the report, and did become crippled with pain. As the pain was subsiding I was asked to continue the programme on a larger scale from 20 to 80 volunteers, which I did in the same manner. It was successful again, and confirmed the original findings, and then I was told that, in order to have a great influence on this subject around the world I would need to continue and build up the study to include 200 volunteers. I didn't’t want to explain why I was leaving, but just left the project.
I also tried to get my report written by a staff member who had experience with writing research papers but they were too busy, so I sent my own version to two medical journals. One of them replied with the standard "Thank you for your paper, but it is not acceptable at this time", and the other one gave me a letter of explanation saying that my study was valuable, but was not written in the appropriate medical journal format. Needless to say, it wasn’t accepted so I put it in my filing cabinet and left it there. See here.
I spent some time trying out various other forms of employment and in between times laying on my back in the lounge and listening to talk back radio.
Because of my knowledge of medicine I would occasionally listen to a variety of 'scientific experts' making comments about health problems, and it was obvious that they were telling lies to the public so I became a medical critic. I naturally assumed that their research was being funded by such organisations as the tobacco industry to say such things as 'there is no scientific proof that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer'. In some other cases the experts would have been paid directly, or indirectly for reasons related to other causes and illnesses.
Over the next few years I probably wrote 300 letters to newspapers. Each of them were about 100 words, and a small number were larger. I had acquired a large vocabulary, so I could write them in a few minutes. More than 100 of them were published in local, state, interstate, or national newspapers.
A few years later I had some blood tests and a CAT scan and was diagnosed with cancer and given two months to live with no hope of a cure, so I had to make some decisions about what to do with my future.
Previously, when I was 25, I tried to solve my own problems because they didn’t show up on x-rays, and nobody else seemed to be taking the matter seriously, so I was confident that I could come up with better ideas than “nothing”.
However, in this instance my cancer was evident on every test they did, and the best scientists, and the top research institutes in the world were trying to cure it and failing, and since I am not an arrogant person I didn’t think that I could do better than them in only two months, so I didn’t even try. Apart from getting some information pamphlets from the National Cancer Council, I just did what the physicians told me to do.
I decided that the best way to occupy my remaining time was to write a book about posture and health and sell it to school and public libraries so that parents and teachers could recognise and prevent posture related health problems in their children and students.
Of Course, if my belly ache got worse and caused some more permanent damage, it wouldn’t matter because I would soon be dead anyway.
The left side of the illustration above shows a copy of the draft for a page in the 10th edition of my book.
I regularly avoided the pain that came from writing a whole page in one sitting by writing new lines, sentences, corrections, or diagrams on separate pieces of paper and cutting and pasting them in place with glue or sticky tape. In this example 6 pieces were used.
In previous editions I would take these drafts to a typist to prepare neatly.
However, I think from memory that I had probably learned to type by this edition, and added them straight into an Adobe publishing programme called Pagemaker, which can be seen in the right side of the illustration.
That programme has a feature which allows for the deletion of old material, and the replacement of new information anywhere in the page.
The draft copies for the 11th edition are all typed, so I assume that by then I had stopped handwriting entirely, and typed all of my new ideas directly into the computer.
One of my methods of research was to make observations of my own experience, and then look through the medical and other literature to see if other authors had made the same or similar observations, and would then add them as verification for the accuracy of the ideas
I proceeded to do a paragraph at a time, and add a sentence the next day, or a diagram the next, but as the book got larger I would need to edit each new 100 page section at the end of the year, so each year I would get quite severe abdominal pain and spend two or three months recovering. One year the pain was actually excruciating, and after several months it subsided, and I was left with a permanent change in abdominal function, but of course, as usual - nothing showed up on x-rays - or so I was told.
It was probably in the mid 1990's that I considered the possiblity that adding a six inch high platform to my desk, to write on, might prevent the pain by reducing my tendency to lean forward, and I did get some slight benefit from it, and some time after that I added another six inch platform on top of that one, and then to write on a high table, or lecturn I then used an angled platform at the top to further reduce my need to lean forward, and that did reduce the abdominal pain, but it was still an occasional annoying problem.
I was able to publish the book economically by being one of the first people in Australia to use the new computer publishing facilities, but by 1998 the cost of typing and computing, and printing was becoming too expensive to continue. However, one day I was walking through the local library when I saw a computer with a “learn to type” programme on it so I started practicing. Within a short time I had purchased a typewriter, and then a computer, and the typing programme, and learned to type at the rate of fifteen minutes per day. I then purchased a computer publishing programme, and attended a course at a TAFE college to learn how to use it.
My hand writing speed of 20 words per minute became a typing speed of 60, increasing by 300%.
I soon started experimenting by putting my computer screen on top of platforms of various heights on my desk to bring it up to eye height so that I didn’t have to bend to read or write or type. Eventually I stopped sitting in a chair and started standing at the computer, and the abdominal pain subsided by 80 - 90%, and hasn't been severe since.
Up until then my drafts consisted of strips of paper with sentences, paragraphs, pictures, and changes written by hand, which were wrtten or drawn in a few minutes, and later stuck together and re-arranged in logical order with sticky tape or glue, and then at the end of each year, were presented in neat printed text by a typist, and then a computer programmer. My books were bits and pieces of information put together in sections instead of paragraphs, with facts accessible from the table of contents and indexes, rather than continuous reading as a story or document.
My website was the same.
During the latter period I had two operations for cancer, and three types of chemotherapy for the cancer, which was finally cured by a stem cell transplant in the year 2000.
Also, when the 11th edition of my book passed 1000 pages I couldn’t afford to publish it, even though I was doing my own typing and computing.
I spent several years recovering from the side-effects of the chemotherapy, and was looking for other means of gaining an income, which included the buying and selling of second hand computers.
During that time a few friends started telling me about a new online encyclopedia called Wikipedia but I didn’t think anything about it until 2007 when I joined up to add free information. I soon learned that I couldn’t write about my own theory so I didn’t, until someone agreed to review it for me, with my co-operation to make it accurate.
When it was deleted I assumed that it was because some of the medical or related editors didn’t like their own ideas being challenged, because they shed doubt on the psychological cause, or they resented me for being a medical critic. I didn’t really care, because I had my own website anyway, and it was in the top ranking search engine page whereas, from what I knew, Wikipedia for that topic was insignificant or nonexistent.
However, when I started contributing to the topic of Da Costa’s syndrome I was continually being criticised by two editors working as a team in the most ridiculous and offensive manner. I have documented the massive number of lies they told elsewhere. See here and here.
Although I only added information about my own theory and research in the two months between December 2007 and January 2008, they spent the next 12 months setting up more than a dozen discussion pages in which they incessantly mentioned it, and linked to my website. They were obviously trying to create the illusion in the minds of other editors that they were continuously trying to stop me from pushing my theory into Wikpedia against the instructions from dozens of other editors.
They occasionally found an editor who believed their nonsense but those individuals didn’t know anything about the topic other than what they read in a dictionary, and some of them were sports editors who didn’t know anything about the subject, or teenagers who didn’t bother to check the facts.
As you can appreciate my two critics had read everything on my website, and they were describing my ideas as rubbish, while they or their anonymous associates were systematically transferring all of my ideas onto other pages to improve the status of Wikipedia articles. See my report here.
They would have also have read my book or been told about it and known that I experienced abdominal pain when I read or wrote, and exploited that problem by working as a team of two and writing thousands of words of criticism in response to my small number of contributions. They were obviously hoping that the pain of reading their nonsense and checking all of the facts, and reading thousands of words of policy in a short space of time would cripple me with pain and deter me from staying in Wikipedia.
However I dealt with that by ignoring their petty prattle and only contributing once per week on Sundays. Sometimes they would write so much derogatory tripe that I would also respond on the talk pages on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
In the first few months they spent a week collaborating against me in discussions spread over four pages and five thousand words, where I didn’t have the opportunity to reply, so after an administrator made a decision against me I spent a week preparing and writing a 2500 word response. Gordonofcartoon then deliberately mocked me by saying ‘cut this readable length’, to imply that it was too long to read, and he couldn’t be bothered responding. He knew that I would have had some pain for a week, and he was gloating about it by dismissing it with a sentence that took him ten seconds to write.
After deriding me to give other editors the idea that I was a worthless ‘newbie’ another editor responded in a patronising way by saying ‘at least he provided diffs’ (i.e. that I spent time looking through policies, and finding links to the evidence to verify that everything I said about them was true).
Later in the year they again wrote thousands of words of incessant criticism on an RFC page where they were trying to get other editors to delete an essay which I wrote about their tactics. During those discussions one of them used childish word play by making a snide remark of innuendo and double talk to imply that my reports of all of my pain in the past were all lies. This is what she wrote . . . "I think it would be fair to say that writing is not especially difficult for him, but perhaps we should not assume that it is trivial."
Also, during those discussions, when I told the neutral editors that I would write a neutral essay outside Wikipedia, for them to check later, my two critics knew that it would take me several weeks to do properly so they arranged for an administrator (a sports editor) to block me before I finished it.
Gordonofcartoon was also selective in his choice of remarks. For example, when I wrote reports about his ill-mannered behaviour or gave examples of him deliberately breaking the rules of Wikipedia he would tell other editors that I was "continually griping (invariably lengthy)", or "bellyaching". e.g. here.
They used the same strategy on the arbitration page where Gordonofcartoon set it up and then wrote the first vindictive diatribe.
I then told the new group of editors that I would check on any other comments through the week and respond on Sunday, and then WhatamIdoing wrote an essay that was twice the length of mine, and filled it with lies, and then arranged for a friend of theirs to ban me on Thursday. See here.
What they didn't understand is that when I stopped writing while sitting at a desk, and started typing, my writing speed increased three hundred percent, and when I started standing to type, my pain dropped by 90% in intensity and duration.
I was happy to give information to Wikipedia once per week, but I was not going to spend all day every day giving it for free.
I was also not going to waste my time in written discussions with completely useless and utterly worthless fools.
I decided to deal with them after I was banned, as they say, in my own sweet way, in my own sweet time, bit by bit, fact by fact, evidence by evidence, and essay by essay.
In that process I have continued to experiment and develop methods of minimising that pain, although I still need to do it in an intermittent manner to prevent it from getting out of control again.
I am now at an age where it doesn't really matter what I do, and in fact, I will be occupied more usefully criticising those two fools than any other task.
If I can get them both banned from Wikipedia, I will be doing that organisation, and the world, a favor.