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Monday, February 25, 2013

Health Issues Update & Bare Your Belly Project

Sorry that it's been a while since an update. I've been really ill. For the past week, I've been sleeping on a weird schedule and I've just been fatigued. I have a lot to update you on!

It started a week ago with flu like symptoms. My body ached and I couldn't stop sneezing. Then, the fever started and I knew that my body was no longer fighting this illness off on my behalf. If you can picture a NyQuil commercial, that was me! I also had an experience that I've never had before and that I hope never to repeat.

Now, through all of these flu like symptoms, I also had my normal stomach issues. I was in the middle of vomiting and all of a sudden, I sneezed. Let me tell you, that is not something I want to repeat. Before I could react, green stomach acid shot out of my nose! The pain was horrible - it burned into my right sinus. I could feel the sinus swell up, and the congestion get worse. I didn't even know that sneezing while vomiting was possible!

The vomiting finally ceased and I was able to clean up some. I tried to clean my nose to help the congestion, but I had nothing to take for it nor could I find my NETI POT. I laid back down in bed because through all of this, I've had absolutely no energy. My husband told me it was time for the doctor and I just nodded. I didn't really want to go because I knew he would poke me with more needles, but I was too sick to argue anymore. Plus, my right sinus was just getting worse and so was my cough. My dry cough progressed into a barking cough. I sounded like a mutated seal.

My husband drove me to the doctor yesterday. Walking out to the car even took its toll on me and I had issues catching my breath. We drove to Urgent Care and remarkably, there was no line. So, I was seen quite quickly for that practice. The doctor came in and looked me over. He made me take deep breaths while he listened to my lungs. I couldn't take breaths without coughing everywhere. I tried not to cough. My blood pressure was back up and I was running a fever. I explained my stomach issues to the doctor, since this was a new doctor, and told him that swallowing all of this draining mucus was making the nausea and vomiting worse. He told me that I needed steroid and antibiotic shots, because I had pneumonia. He elected to give me the shots yesterday to give my stomach a break. He said I could take the pills as of this (Monday) morning.

He called in an antibiotic, steroids (which I HAVE to eat something with or they'll make my stomach worse), an inhaler (which I have to use four times a day for seven days regardless if I feel better or not), and a cough syrup to help me sleep at night. He said in a few days that I ought to be feeling much better.

I can tell you that I already feel better today. I'm able to move around a bit more. I'm still extremely tired and it's probably going to be another week before I'm back to my "normal" self, but I'm glad that I went to the doctor. I really thought my body was fighting it off. I guess next time, I won't procrastinate and just go to the doctor when I start to feel ill. Also, I did some research yesterday and found that the Pneumonia Vaccine has to be re-administered if it's been more than 5 to 10 years since the original vaccination due to declining antibody rates. So, that's why my vaccine didn't hold up. I'll get re-vaccinated when I feel better. I'll need to set up a reminder.

I'm trying to keep up with my other health issues so that I can determine what is causing issues with my stomach. It's hard to stay on top of so many medical issues, but the following are updates on what else, health wise, is going on with me.

I'm back on DEPOT LUPRON for my endometrosis. The GYN said that if this doesn't help after six months, they'll have to schedule a surgery and go in and clean everything out. I'm hoping the injection works because I really don't want another surgery. I need to schedule a GYN visit since I went last year in July. It's hard for me to schedule visits like this in advance because I don't know whether I'll have a good day or bad day stomach wise.

I followed up with my doctor today in regards to my Spinal Cord Electrical Stimulator (SCES) today. My usual doctor was out sick, which I didn't know, so I saw another doctor. When I walked in, they asked me for a urine sample for a drug screen. That caught me a bit off guard since I've never been accosted for urine as soon as I walked in before. I was unable to give them a urine sample because I've been dehydrated and sick this past week. I told the nurse that she was welcomed to draw blood if she needed to, that I had nothing to hide, but I couldn't do the test she wanted today. To my surprise, she said it didn't matter and just dropped the entire thing. I guess they're testing for prescription abuse? I have no idea. I told them about the medications my doctor put me on yesterday, just in case they thought I was abusing hydrocodone. The doctor I saw, who was filling in, told me not to take my cough medicine and pain medicine at the same time because they were basically the same medication. That was good to know.

Additionally, I explained to her that the SCES was still a bit painful to lay on and that repetitive bending over aggravated the muscles around my SCES. After she looked at my back, she offered to do TRIGGER POINT THERAPY for me to help loosen up my muscles as an "add in" to the surgery schedule today. I had never heard of this but I told her that if it helped, I was willing to try it.

So, the staff penciled me in and took me into the PRE-OP part of the clinic. They had me sit on a stool and sign some consent forms. The doctor brought over a long syringe filled with steroids (keep in mind I just had two injections yesterday as well, near the same spot). She felt around my SCES and immediately I felt the knot and told her so. She nodded in agreement and told me that this was normal and a part of the healing process. She counted down and stuck the needle in about four different knots. The first knot she found and injected steroids into, it was like my muscle exhaled. I didn't realize it had been that stiff and knotted up! Once the muscle relaxed, my back felt ten times better. This happened again for the other three knots that followed. The medicine she gave me really did make a difference. I'm a bit scared of steroid injections because I had sepsis from one a few years ago, but this really made my back relax and allowed the implant to sit a bit more comfortably.

She told me that she would repeat the procedure if I needed it again. I thanked her and she gave me a refill on my medications and sent me home.

I did manage to have one accident on the way home, though. I did get sick on the car floor board before I could reach my emesis bag. So, I was out there scrubbing the floor of my car today. The cleaner smell makes my nausea worse. I just need to take it in to be detailed and let someone else clean it. Horrible, I know, but I don't want to make a small mess even messier. I'll be sure to tip whoever cleans it really well.

On a side note, my friend and GASTROPARESIS Facebook Page Creator, LaShelle, started a wonderful project that I want to help support. It's called the Bare Your Belly Project. She writes,

"BARE YOUR BELLY: Fat, bloated, scarred, boney, thin, discolored, abused, beat up, tubed, and painful bellies are not something we should hide away under layers of fabric. People can’t look at our faces and see what Gastroparesis has done to us. How Gastroparesis has changed the way we live our lives, or even what it’s taken away from us. We can’t expect others to know how it feels, or understand our battles, or even revel in our daily victories if we never get off the bench to show them what it means to have Gastroparesis. Would you have believed it yourself if you had never had it or never taken the time to get to know someone who did? It’s time to let go of our reservations of “baring all”. We live with Gastroparesis on a daily basis; we fight for our lives every day by rolling out of bed and touching our toes to the floor for another day of struggling to feed our bodies to stay alive. Every weight gained or weight lost to some GPers is either a triumph or a defeat. If cancer survivors can bare their scarred and broken bodies, we can too. Each and every one of us is beautiful, our ability to wake up and face another day… is nothing short of miraculous strength. YOU HAVE A RIGHT to show off your strength! Bare your scars! Bare your belly for Gastroparesis!"

She made a wonderful video that I would love you to check out and share with your friends! You can find the video, HERE. Please watch and share it with everyone you know. It will help people understand that even though Gastroparesis is an invisible illness, not all of it is invisible. Gastroparesis does leave its mark. <3 Thank you in advance!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Emily,
My name is Kamara and I also have gastroparesis. My mother found you on facebook but we didn't know you had a blog as well. I have started a blog myself to help educate people about gastroparesis. People that have this go through the same thing. We can reach out to each other and different things like that. Please email me & we can share each others story.

I hope to hear from you soon!