I honestly haven’t wanted to write an update. I’ve been back here (in the hospital) since Sunday, and I’ve been a little more discouraged and battling the pain and nausea and “oh poor me’s” so blogging has been far from my mind. If you’ve texted me and my replies are short, its because I’m swimming through the pain medication fog, or gritting my teeth through the sharp pangs of pain in my side.
I was discharged Friday, spent a glorious one and a half days at home, and then by Sunday mid-morning Mom was gripping me by the shoulders and telling me that she was taking me back to the Emergency Room. To be still, Josh and Deryl would carry me to the car. That the boys would be fine, Christa would watch them and feed them and play legos and superheros and put together puzzles.
It was snowing, and the drive to the hospital is a blur. I remember gritting my teeth and moaning and crying and being carried to a wheelchair and whisked inside. A new bracelet was slapped on my wrist (I could have probably worn the one from the first admission but I’d lost so much weight that it slipped right off) and I was immediately wheeled to a room in the Emergency Room. In a flurry of activity, I was dressed in a gown, hooked up to an EKG machine, and had an IV started. It took multiple rounds of IV pain meds to get my pain under control. I was in agony. I reserve “10” on the pain scale for childbirth, but this was a definite “9.”
My labs came back with elevated lipase levels which means I had pancreatitis. The long and short of it (and the best my doctor can explain) is that basically my colon was so inflamed that it aggravated my pancreas and caused my levels to rise. I’ve had pancreatitis once before, years ago, a fluke thing, and it was incredibly painful. I didn’t eat for 2 weeks and was on enzymes to help digest my food for months and then I was fine. Haven’t looked back.
Now I’m in the hospital with ischemic colitis and pancreatitis. I feel ridiculous. Seriously. Part of the reason I didn’t want to post an update is that I feel absurd! I am not a sick person! Why am I laid up in the hospital with these ridiculously serious and painful conditions?! I want to be working and running to the grocery store with the rest of the county, trying to buy bread and milk and batteries. I do not want to be here.
Monday was frustrating. No one had called my GI doctor yet and by this point we were ready to transfer to UNC. Monday evening he came by, shocked that I was here and immediately took charge. He ordered another vascular consult, and that physician scheduled an angiogram for Wednesday. An angiogram (or arteriogram) is basically a procedure in which the physician goes through your femoral artery in your leg and feeds tiny tube and camera up through your veins and arteries.
Praise the Lord we did this test. Typically you have 3 main arteries that feed blood vessels to your colon. The angiogram found that I have only 2 arteries and that the third is not there. So, one of my other arteries has been trying its hardest to compensate and that’s probably why I haven’t had more trouble than I have. (It’s just like me to have ambitious arteries haha!) Needless to say, we were so relieved to FINNNNALLY have an answer of some sort.
No one told me about the pain from the angiogram though. Oh my. After the procedure I was in so much pain. My leg felt like it was being amputated. I generally have thick legs (a product of years of gymnastics, cheerleading and working out) but since I haven’t eaten in 2 weeks, I’ve lost some weight and the vascular physician said that because I was so thin, the artery was right next to the nerve and I would probably have severe pain for several days. He was right. In the middle of the night last night I woke up crying from the pain and have been on pain medication round the clock.
This morning I had an MRI. It showed that the pancreas is doing ok, and has no defects, and that the colon is still inflamed and has fluid surrounding it. It also showed that the bottoms of my lungs are collapsed from having sat in so much fluid the past 2 weeks. Don’t worry though, it isn’t permanent and once I get moving around a little more and breathing less shallowly and get rid of some of this fluid, the lungs will fill back up with air.
Overall, I’m a little more discouraged this go round and rockin’ some serious pain. The doctors want to try me on a liquid diet again (I haven’t eaten since Saturday) and then progress me if I can tolerate it. They also want to wean me off of IV pain meds to a regimen that I can handle at home. I am still in a lot of pain, so if you want to pray for me, I’d appreciate it.
I’m also really, really, really bummed that I’m going to get snowed in at the hospital by myself, while my boys build snowmen and sled down the hill and eat snow cream. I want to cry over this. I wanted to be able to go home today. I want to be able to eat. I want to not have an IV connected to my arm. I want to snuggle my boys without having to say “be careful of mommy’s tummy and her leg!” I want to cuddle up on the couch and watch movies and see the snow falling and eat homemade potato soup and brownies and other yummy snowed-in foods. I’m tired of being woozy and foggy and nauseous. I want to sleep in my own bed. I want to wear my own clothes. I want to bound out of bed and make the boys pancakes and sausage in the morning.
Seriously sad face emoji over here.
See, this is why I haven’t posted this week. Because I’m on the struggle bus and I don’t like being negative but I feel a little discouraged, yall! I am trying really hard to not have a pity party. If I’m delayed in responding to your messages forgive me. This week has been especially difficult and I didn’t want any negativity to come across.
I’m reminding myself that I have the opportunity to choose joy, and that’s the better of the choices, so joy it is. Enjoy the lovely snow! I’ll be stalking Facebook for all your snow pictures so keep em comin!