Saturday, February 5, 2011

What a week

Well this week did not really turn out how I had planned. I thought I would post about it so I can remember all the details, and I like to think that someone out there cares about what goes on in my life. :) Sorry if this is really long, I will try to not make it too long but I'm usually not very good at that.

I will actually start with a couple weeks ago...I went and saw Dr. Reddy in Twin. He's a rheumatologist who Dr. Smith (my gastroenterologist) referred me to because of joint pain I've been having. After talking to him he said he suspected that I have rheumatoid arthritis, as opposed to arthritis related to inflammatory bowel disease. Anyway, he said he could tell there was fluid around my joints in my hands so he had me get an x-ray and did a bunch of blood tests. He also asked me if I've been tired and if I've been losing weight. My answer was yes to both of these questions so he checked my thyroid and Vitamin D level as well. He said to come back in two weeks and we'll talk about the results.

Ok so I have been anxiously waiting for this appointment, but all the while was not feeling very well. My usual stomach pain, etc. So a week later I called Dr. Smith and he wanted me to come see him. He seemed very concerned. We talked about several options...different blood tests, different medications we could try, etc. He said I have a harder time with my j-pouch than most people, which is something I already knew. He even told me that if I wanted a second opinion he would refer me to the University of Utah if I was interested in seeing what someone else would do for me, and if not we would just keep doing what we're doing. I told him that was fine and so he gave me the same antibiotic he gave me in November for C. diff, saying that it would most likely help whatever was going on. This time he gave me free samples so I didn't have to pay $80 for the stuff. :)

I started to feel better after a couple of days, but then over the weekend wasn't feeling so great again. My stomach started hurting all the time, to the point that I didn't even really want to eat. I went to work Monday and was miserable all day. I probably would have left early except someone else had already called in sick, so if I left they would have been way busy so I stuck it out. Tuesday I still felt crummy so I called first thing in the morning and he said he wanted me to go get an x-ray to make sure I didn't have a bowel obstruction. My stomach felt hard and distended. He also called me in another antibiotic to take in addition the one I was already taking. Tuesday I couldn't eat a lot, but did have a Subway sandwich that night for dinner. That was a mistake because I was sick all night, so I called Dr. Smith again Wednesday. He said that the x-ray was actually unremarkable, but that he still wanted me to come to his office, and that he might admit me to hospital.

My mom and I got there as soon as we could and the receptionist said, "oh good you're here. He's been coming out every 5 minutes asking if you were here yet." He saw me when I was checking in and actually came out to the waiting room to get me himself. I don't think a lot of doctors do that. :) While I was at his office he looked up all the blood tests that Dr. Reddy did. Everything actually looked pretty good, so that was a relief. The biggest thing he found was that my vitamin D level was really low. That explains why I'm so exhausted. He said I needed a weeks vacation in Maui to get it back up. :) But my hemoglobin was normal (meaning I'm not anemic), ANA was negative (meaning I don't have Lupus), my albumin was normal, CRP was normal, thyroid was good, etc. He wasn't quite sure about the arthritis because he said he can't interpret the x-rays like Dr. Reddy, but it sounded like it might not be rheumatoid arthritis, I'm not sure though. He was pretty concerned about my weight loss. I weighed 87 pounds in his office. A couple months ago I weighed 97 pounds, which is a normal weight for me. I told him I had been trying really hard the last couple of weeks to gain weight, so he was happy about that. Anyway he decided to go ahead and admit me and give me fluids and do some tests.

I was admitted about 1:00 and around 4:00 they took me down to do a sigmoidoscopy (which is like a colonoscopy, but only of the first part of the colon. Since I don't have a colon, Dr. Smith uses this to look at my pouch...I've had them before) and an EGD (esophagogastroduedenoscopy, which is to look at the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, or first part of the small intestine). They put me to sleep of course, and did them both at the same time. Afterwards Dr. Smith told my mom that everything looked a lot better than he expected. There was a little inflammation in the esophagus and stomach and my pouch, but not enough to cause the pain I was having. He said it's likely that I did have pouchitis and that the antibiotic was helping that already. Since he didn't find anything significant, as soon as I was awake enough they gave me some CT contrast to drink so I could have a CT scan. It actually didn't taste as bad as I thought it would (I have had nasty tasting CT contrast before.) They had given me IV Demerol earlier and it helped with the pain a lot, but made me nauseated. Right before I left to do the CT, I threw up. Then after I got back I threw up again...and again. My sister brought her two oldest girls to see me. Poor Jenna was in the middle of telling me about a cool stunt she was doing for their cheer competition and I interrupted her by throwing up.

Anyway, the nurse said that Dr. Smith would call if there was anything abnormal with the CT scan. They brought me some food and I just coudn't eat it because I kept throwing up. The gave me zofran for the nausea, but it didn't help a lot at first. Finally the doctor called and said that the CT scan showed a cyst on one of my ovaries, and that my gallbladder looked a little inflamed, so he wanted me to have an ultrasound in the morning. Around 11:00 I finally got down a few bites of my soup, a couple bites of my roll, and two saltine crackers, which was the only thing I ate all day. The nurse was encouraging me to eat because I had to be NPO (nothing by mouth) after midnight for the ultrasound.

The night was pretty rough. I didn't sleep much at all. I had to get up a million times to use the bathroom. They were giving me 250 mls of fluid/hour, which is quite a lot. They were also giving me Cipro (an antibiotic) in the IV. I was also still having a lot of pain, and whenever they gave me the Demerol, I was nauseated and it wasn't always time for the zofran yet. However, once I got past the nausea, my stomach felt really good and actually felt normal for awhile (thank you Demerol!) Also during the night I was kind of startled awake by a burning pain in my arm where the IV was. I thought it would go away in a minute, but it didn't. The IV pump started beeping and the nurse came and fixed it and left. But the burning continued and finally I turned on the light and looked at my arm. I could not believe how huge it was! It looked like I had big muscles. So I called the nurse and before I could even finish telling her I needed her to look at my IV, she said, "Oh my gosh! That's a bad IV, we need to get that OUT." So that was an adventure. She kept having to put warm towels around my arm to get the swelling to go down. She tried to start another IV and couldn't do it (I was so dehydrated they had a hard time starting the first IV too). So she had to get someone else to come do it. In the morning the person taking blood had to take it from my hand, because there was just nowhere else to go. (At least that's better than having to take it from my foot, which has happened before.) Anyway, by morning I was feeling lots better and didn't need the pain medication much anymore. It still hurt some, but not enough to put up with the nausea.

In the morning I went and had an ultrasound, which ended up not showing much either. It did show some inflammation in the gallbladder, and it was a little sore when the ultrasound tech was pushing on my gallbladder. They found some fluid in my lower abdomen which they think was from the cyst on my ovary. Dr. Smith came that afternoon and we talked about everything. He said for the most part things looked good. He said that he wasn't worried about my gallbladder because my symptoms didn't seem to show gallbladder problems. He said if you don't eat well for a few days, that can cause the gallbladder to look distended. He said the cyst could be causing some of my pain, but he didn't think it should be as bad as it was. The cyst was a hemorrhagic cyst, which means it was filled with blood, and generally harmless. He said it might have even ruptured or dissolved into itself over night, because they could not find it on the ultrasound. He also said that when he did the sigmoidoscopy, he took some biopsies and that I bled a lot more than what is normal. He's not sure why and seemed a little concerned about it, but didn't seem to think it was really a problem. My labs looked normal except that my white blood cell count was up slightly. All in all, he was not sure what was causing the pain. It hurts more in my upper abdmen, which is unusual for me. He thinks that it might just be some sort of infection or virus, and maybe combined with the other things they found, that that's what was making me so sick. He also said I was very dehydrated when I came in. He sent me home on the same two antibiotics I'd been taking, along with prilosec and some pain medication. He also told me to take some Vitamin D, but that I probably need to talk to Dr. Reddy about it because he would know more about that. (I had to call and cancel my appointment with Dr. Reddy. It was supposed to be at 3:45 that day, and I left the hospital around 4:00). Dr. Smith told me to stay in contact with him and call him once a week. I was very happy to be going home and sleeping in my own bed.

That night I went to bed at 8:30 and slept straight till about 5:15. I NEVER sleep that long without waking up, it was amazing. I fell back asleep about 6:30 and slept untill 8:00. Yesterday I still felt lots better, just felt like my stomach was a little achy and sore. But this morning I woke up with it hurting again just like it was before. I've been taking the pain pills and they seem to help some, but not a lot. It was good they didn't really find much wrong. I found out my kidneys and liver and everything are great, but it's kind of frustrating not knowing why I'm still having this pain. It's hard to eat, but I've been making myself. I know I need to gain weight. My boss got one of the other girls to work for me Monday, so I don't have to go to work until Wednesday if I don't want to. We'll see how it goes. If I don't start to feel better I'm going to call Dr. Smith again on Monday or Tuesday. Dr. Reddy's office also called me on Friday but I missed the call and by the time I saw it 20 minutes later, they were closed. They told me to call them first thing Monday morning.

So I feel a little frustrated and still feel exhausted, but I'm trying not get too down. I took a looong nap today and had to make myself wake up. Hopefully taking some vitamin D will help that and I'll start to feel better soon. I am really thankful for Dr. Smith. He is the best doctor I could ask for. I had lots of people call and ask how I was doing, friends and family. My branch president called and my relief society president. Her and some girls in my branch sent me some flowers and so did the girls at work. My dad and brother gave me a blessing, and that was nice. My brother-in-law Ron left work for a minute and came and saw me too, which is nice. Him and my sister do so much for me and I truly appreciate them. My brother Chad told me that my nephew Nathan has been praying for me a lot. Nathan said that sometimes when he's at recess, he says a little prayer in his heart for sweet is that? Today Taylor and Ian called and asked if I was feeling better, they are so cute...
Here's a picture of sweet little Halli who came to see me.

Well, sorry for the marathon post. Just wanted to write about it. I'll keep you updated.


Anonymous said...

Jill you are so amazing for what you have been through. Just remember that Heavenly Father is aware of you at all times. I almost started to cry when I read how Nathan says a prayer in his heart at recess. That is some special boy that knows enough to do that. We can all learn a great deal from his example. Know that you are loved and we are here for you. Stay strong and feel better and let us know if we can do anything for you.
Love you
Aunt Bev

LINDSAY said...

Jilly bug you are AMAZING. You are a tough cookie and so positive. I can't say I would be able to do that if that was my situation. Your family is great and what cute nieces and nephews. You're in my prayers. Get well soon!

Halfords said...

What an ordeal! I'm so sorry. But what a good doctor you have to help you try and figure it out. Some don't. Your story reminds me of those mystery diagnosis shows on TLC. I hope they can figure it out and you can start feeling better!

SAYDA said...

I am so sorry Jill. I truly hope and prey you continue to feel better every day. You've been through so much already. We think of you often. You are in my prayers.

Dani said...

Jill-O, I'm glad you only had to stay one night in the hospital. But I'm frustrated along with you that they didn't find anything. It sounds like Dr. Smith has been a blessing for you - it's rare to find a doctor who cares like that. Although, what do you think about getting a second opinion? Not to say Dr. Smith isn't great (he sounds WONDERFUL), but if you aren't getting better maybe someone else might have an idea as to what's wrong?! Just a thought. We've been thinking about you a lot lately and hope you get feeling better. Keep us updated! You're amazing.

Rhett, Taryn, & Tacey said...

I am so sorry you have been sick. I hope you figure out what is going on. I will keep you in my prayers. Feel better(:

Jill said...

Thanks so much everyone. Your prayers mean so much. :) Danielle, I have been thinking about getting a second opinion, especially since Dr. Smith offered to refer me, and I definitely think it wouldn't hurt. But I am feeling lots better today. We'll see what happens, but I definitely have not ruled that out.

Oh Boyds! said...

Jilly! I'm glad you are so good at keeping up with your blogging. I'm sorry to hear that you are still having such a horrible time. I hope you will figure it out soon! Love ya girl!