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!

My Battle Cry (& Giveaway!): Speaking Out For Endometriosis Awareness

Blogging For Endometriosis

 

I cannot believe that Blogging For Endometriosis Awareness 2015 campaign is over! The month blew by! I hope you have enjoyed the posts of this year’s campaign and I most definitely invite you to mark your calendars for next year’s campaign! I am really hoping to make a monthly Blogging for Endometriosis linkup so I will keep you updated with the details!

This week’s theme is: My Battle Cry: what message are you determined share with every breath that is within you to make sure the world knows the truth about endometriosis?

As I have mentioned, I love, love, love Skillet (my next tattoo will definitely be Skillet inspired). We are a total panhead family! Their song “Sick Of It” inspired this year’s theme and their song “Battle Cry” inspired this week’s theme!

You’re on the edge of giving up
You know I feel it too
You won’t be alone because
I’m with you
Bring the fire, bring the smoke, bring the rain
We will bend but we will never break

I cannot put into words how important it is to find a support community after being diagnosed with endometriosis or any chronic illness. I was lucky enough to find GirlTalk, which was a support group for ladies with endometriosis that were under 25. That group of ladies saved me in many ways. I loved that I was able to serve as the program director for several years. It is so important to know that you are not alone and have a group of people that can support you during the tough times.

It seems like no one knows
How you’ve been feeling
You’re hiding all your hopes
You stopped believing
It’s not over, we’re one step away
We will bend but we will never break

One of the other messages I want to be heard is to make your voice heard. Chronic illness is a big deal and not nearly enough is being done to correct the problem but together we can raise our voices to make a change. Together we can choose hope and make a difference.

I believe we can’t lose
Even mountains will move
It’s my faith, it’s my life
This is our battle cry
They can’t take us down
If we stand our ground
If we live, if we die
We will shout out our battle cry

Two messages that I will speak until my dying breath are 1) God’s grace and love will change your life and with it everything is possible; and 2) Endometriosis and other invisible illnesses are serious problems and more needs to be done to find long-term treatments. Education and awareness are extremely important and together we can shout our battle cry and fight for change!

Let it rise like a prayer in the night
Shout for love, shout for hope
Let them hear us

Together we can make a difference and share the love, hope, and passion in our hearts with the world!

What is your battle cry?

 

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It is time for the final giveaway! Congratulations to last week’s winners Cheryl, Shelley, and Nikki! You should have received an email from me so let me know if you did not receive it!

This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Seaview Jewellery and FJJ Creations! Today’s giveaway will also have 3 winners! The prizes are a beautiful endometriosis awareness keychain created by FJJ Creations and a beautiful necklace and charm both created by Seaview Jewellery! Just like last week, be sure to click over at Diane’s blog for more opportunities to win awesome prizes from Seaview Jewellery, FJJ Creations and Tabetha’s Creations!

Blogging For Endometriosis Giveaway

This week’s giveaway will run until Saturday, April 4th and 3 winners will be chosen!

To enter:

1) Leave a comment telling me about your battle cry.What message are you determined share with every breath that is within you to make sure the world knows the truth about endometriosis (or another issue important to you)? (mandatory)

2) Tweet about this post and giveaway and then leave me a 2nd comment letting me know you did & include the link to your tweet!

 

I hope your week is off to a fantastic start! Remember to take a stand this week because we’re sick of this!