Another Day, Another Surgery, & Another Adventure: Just Another Day In Life With Chronic Illness

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER SURGERY

It has been a hot minute since I have blogged last and I am so sorry about that!

During my last post, I shared a little about the health struggles I was currently experiencing. We had the go kart drama on vacation but thankfully there has been no long term effects of that bit of action!

Otherwise, for months, I have just been feeling miserable. Sounds kind of normal for life with chronic illness but this was a level of misery above and beyond anything I had ever experienced. The word misery sounds a little over dramatic but honestly it is the only word that could remotely describe the intensity of what I was feeling. I was staying incredibly nauseous and this wasn’t feeling queasy or a little sick to your stomach. This was hardcore nausea. It even surpassed what I felt after my obstruction. I could not keep anything down and that is if I could even force myself to eat in the first place. If it did stay down, I had horrible, horrible stomach pains. I was constantly feeling weak/faint and I was losing weight at a rapid pace. So of course, my first stop was seeing my gastroenterologist. My primary (and amazing) GI was on sabbatical so I saw the PA and she immediately scheduled me for an EGD with the fill-in doctor for both the current issues and to follow-up on the adenomas that were removed last year to be sure they had no returned.

The EGD did not provide any helpful information. The good news was that the adenomas had not returned so I was super happy about that but the bad news was that we were no closer to finding out why I was so sick. This is where things get crazy.

For the record, had my regular GI not been on sabbatical, things would have progressed much differently. The following drama would have totally been avoided.

Because I was still so sick, I kept pressing the GI office for answers and begin to question if maybe it was my gallbladder that was causing the problem. Dr Fill-in said no and that he thought it was a heart issue so I needed to call my primary care doctor. I found this to be completely out of left field but I set up an appointment with my primary care doctor because I knew this needed to be resolved.

In the meantime, I had a check up with my neurologist and he did the nerve blocks and trigger point injections for my migraines (which hurt like nobody’s business but do make a difference in the occurrence and intensity of my migraines). He was also concerned about the nausea and weight loss and didn’t understand why the Dr Fill-in wasn’t taking it more seriously but when I told him about my fainting episodes he did some tests and diagnosed me with orthostatic (postural) hypotension. Basically when I stand up from sitting or laying down my blood pressure can drop as many as 20 points which can result in fainting, dizziness, and feeling weak. Thankfully it can be easily managed. Gold star for solving one problem!

Now for the next.

I had my appointment with my primary care doctor and the first thing they did was an EKG and like we already knew, it came back perfectly normal. After doing an exam and going over some questions, he really thinks the source of my trouble is my gallbladder (even though Dr Fill-in dismissed it). He scheduled me for a HIDA scan to check my gallbladder function and within a week from that visit we had the results: my gallbladder had ZERO function. It wasn’t doing anything except taking up space. I wanted to call up Dr. Fill-in and put him on blast but I didn’t (although you can be sure when I have my appointment with my GI when he gets back from sabbatical he will hear it all).

I was originally scheduled for surgery tomorrow but last Monday, the pain and nausea was so bad that my husband took me to the ER and they decided to do the surgery that night. I had an absolutely amazing medical team from start to finish. God set up everything that night from the nurses to the surgeon on call. He knew what I needed to feel at ease and to be taken care of medically. The thought of surgery doesn’t make me flinch but the thought of the IV scares the crap out of me. The ER nurse got the IV in first try and I didn’t even feel it. . The surgeon and the OR staff were just as amazing. The moment I woke up in recovery, I was in pain but that heavy and miserable nausea I had been feeling for months was immediately gone. I mean I was nauseated from the anesthesia but that heavy, overwhelming feeling was completely erased. Although the scan did not show any stones, when they took my gallbladder out they said it was full of stones so it was a really good call to go ahead and get it out that night.

The bad news of the surgery was that I am full of adhesions. He didn’t take them down for the fear of them coming back worse but he can pretty much guarantee that I will have future obstructions and problems with adhesions. It was one of those things I knew but it hurt having to hear it out loud. He said that the surgery would take away the nausea and the upper-quadrant pain I was feeling from my gallbladder but that I would still deal with considerable abdominal and pelvic pain despite the surgery. His guess was that I would likely have another obstruction within four years. That scares the crap out of me. My obstruction experience was so traumatizing that the thought of reliving it possibly multiple times takes me to a place where I have no words.

The two takeaway points from this are:

1- Trust your gut. I knew something was wrong and I knew that I need to keep pushing until I found the answers. I would not have thought that my primary care doctor that I saw maybe once a year for cold or infection would have been the one to save me but he took the time to listen and he fought for me just as much as I did and I will forever be grateful for that man and what he did for me.

2- Follow your passion. I had let this blog lay dormant and yes, I had good reasons but I allowed my passion to be swallowed up in the yuck I was dealing with and I don’t want to let that happen again. This blog means so much to me. This community has saved me so many times over the years and I want this community to continue so that hopefully it can help save others. Living with chronic illness can be a lonely existence if we let it and I just want this to be a place where, yes, we can commiserate about the sucky parts of chronic illness but we can also find hope, joy, grace, encouragement, and love. I hope its a place where we can find the beauty in the every day.

 

I’m still recovering from surgery but I plan to bring A New Kind of Normal back to life and I am excited about things to come! I want to get back to the roots of spreading hope and sharing my faith but I am also excited about incorporating my love of makeup in a little bit too! Thank you to LucaLogos for the beautiful new design! I hope you guys come along for the ride!

Making Some Changes & Life Updates With Chronic Illness

If you haven’t noticed, A New Kind of Normal is currently undergoing a minor facelift! I’m working on tweaking the design and layout so thank you in advance for your patience!

While chatting about the changes, I thought I would give you a few life updates with chronic illness. I didn’t plan to disappear after this year’s Blogging for Endometriosis campaign ended but life got a little crazy (even more than usual)! My health really tanked and we’ve had a couple of scares.

While we were on vacation, we went go-cart racing and on one of the family tracks, Abby and I got nailed hard. Thankfully it was on my side of the car so I took the brunt of the hit. It was not a normal bump and crash. We were hit so hard the suspension of the car broke and we were complete sitting ducks. In all, the attendant counted that we were hit by at least five different cars (it was the first one that did the most damage). Needless to say, my body wasn’t happy so I got checked out just to be sure but thankfully Abby wasn’t hurt at all, just shaken up. If the jerk had hit her side of the car, I might have ended up in jail.

On top of that, a few weeks ago I discovered a lump in my right breast. With my family history and my own history of having an abnormal mammogram and having a total hysterectomy at 26, we didn’t want to take any chances so my doctor rushed a mammogram and ultrasound. Thankfully, we got some good news and it was only a cyst so the girls are A-OK! Praise the Lord!

Then, in addition, I have been having even more trouble with nausea, stomach pain, and not being able to keep food down. Gastroparesis has been an issue for some time now but after needing to remove several adenomas during last year’s EGD, my GI wanted to go back in to see what was going on so I had an EGD last Friday. The only thing about EGDs that make me nervous is getting the IV. There is no prep other than not eating or drinking after midnight so the process isn’t quite as anxiety-inducing as a colonoscopy but with my terrible veins, I hold my breath until that IV is in place and then I’m golden. I always warn the nurses and usually they laugh and say they hear it all the time but never have a problem until they go to stick me. Then they believe me. My nurse this time around was amazing. She had to search and search (and search!) for a vein but once she found the pitiful thing, she hit it first try. It wasn’t ideal and it hurt like nobody’s business but it got the job done. Thank God for vein numbing medications! The whole team was amazing, took great care of me, and the procedure went smoothly. They had to remove two more polyps (we won’t know if they are adenomas until the pathology comes back) and they did the routine biopsy to monitor my Celiac disease but the doctor did note that there was some liquid still retained in my stomach during the procedure so I am not sure what that means. I should be receiving my follow up information and biopsy results any time now so I will keep you updated!

Hopefully between the tests and visits with my doctors, we will be able to get a better handle on my health and things will fall back into place. I am ready to get back into a routine, not only with blogging but with life in general. I cannot believe that Abby’s last day of school is next week and I will no longer have a kindergartener! The year has flown by so fast but we are ready for some summer fun!

Thank you guys so much for sticking around and for all of your support! You have no idea how much it means and how it keeps me going!