A Discouraging Week and a Few Answers

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.

hospital-flowers

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!

6 thoughts on “A Discouraging Week and a Few Answers

  1. Praying for you, girl! I see your updates through Brandon and and Brittany. Stay positive! The Great Physician has got ya! I’ll be looking for updates!

    ….Nicholah, the girl from X-Ray at Alamance 😉

  2. I am a member of Gospel Baptist, and I have kept up with your agonizing journey through Kellie Miller’s FB. (She is an active FB’er.) I am so sorry to hear about your health issues.

    I am an Angel Flight pilot, and I have flown 56 Angel Flight missions. Are you familiar with Angel Flight? At no charge to the patient, we fly sick people to hospitals. As a result, if there comes a time that you hear from a doctor that it might be best for you to go Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Shriners Hospital, etc. and you wonder how you could ever get there then there is a way. I can tell you about it.

    At this point though, I hope and pray that God takes away your agony soon.

    If you or Brandon have questions about Angel Flight, go to angelflightmidatlantic.org or call me at (336) 643-2518 for more info….

  3. Bethany, I am sorry sad about all that you’ve been through, but you have been a trooper. This nightmare will soon be a thing of the past and you will be stronger for having endured it. We are praying constantly for you and the boys and Brandon. That does not seem to be much when I say that, but it is the greatest thing we can do for each other. You are a model child of our God, and I know He is with you and will raise you up again. I love you. Nana

  4. Bethany, I am so sorry to hear of your most recent hospitalization and how discouraging this may be. But take heart! Remember God in the good times is God in the bad, but we are only human and it’s easy to get discouraged. I am praying for you, Brandon, and the boys. I pray that God will encourage you through answers from your medical team, through His Holy Spirit and through friends. Hang in there and know you are in my thoughts and prayers :)

  5. Bethany, I’m so so sorry. I’m in tears just reading this. Please know we are praying for you. I can only begin to imagine what you are going through!!

  6. Precious, dear Bethany. I know that your Heavenly Father is proud of the fight you are waging in this battle with your body. You really are a trooper! I don’t understand why things like this happen to those who are living for God and doing all the right things. But I know God loves your sweet family and I am confident that He will work all these ‘things’ out for your good and His glory. We have already seen how God has worked in these things, and we can see His light leading to complete and perfect health again. That’s my prayer. I love you and will do any thing a 77 year old woman can do to help you all–Pop too.. Nana

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