Thursday, September 5, 2013

It Takes Guts: Part 2- Our Story- Why I have become the crazy lady you all think I am.

*Warning- This will be long, as it is after all, our story. However, I think it is important for me to write it all down to see where we came from.
And sadly, how far we still have to go.

So here we go.
You might wanna grab a drink.
Just don't spill it on your computer and then blame it on me.

When I was 14 years old my appendix ruptured, a couple of days after Christmas.
We had moved from Charlotte, NC to Marietta, Ga in August of that year, but my mom had brought me back to Charlotte that day to go on a ski trip with my old youth group.
I had not been feeling well for a couple of days, but was so excited about this trip that mom drove me up there anyways, in hopes it would pass.  That night I woke up in the middle of the night in extreme pain.  We were staying at my best friend Stacey's house, and her dad was a big fire fighter dude and I remember him carrying me out to the car and he and my mom driving me to the ER.
When we got to the ER, they took me back to xray and when I stood up for the xray, I passed out from the pain.  I woke up hours later after  having an emergency appendectomy due to a ruptured appendix, and then spent a week in the hospital.
( I also woke up to a large bald male nurse pushing drugs into my IV and I think he was an albino, but I'm not sure on that.  Remember, he was pushing drugs into my IV.)

When I was 15 I got mono.  I didn't get it from kissing boys. I think I got it from drinking after somebody at a fall time weekend camp retreat. (Again when I went back to NC for a visit. Are you sensing a trend here?).
I was sick for a long time.  I missed a couple weeks of school and it took me a long time to recover.

In the meantime and for a long time after, I got strep throat alot and was plagued with sinus infections.
I got the flu pretty much every year.

When I was 20, I got a bad case of pleurisy.  (Its like pneumonia I think.) It was so bad that I had to leave college for 2 weeks and go home so my family could take care of me.

When I was 24 I got pregnant with my first kid and had 9 months of constant sickness and vomiting that resulted in home IV's and me losing 35 lbs my first trimester. The kid was sucking me dry! That was followed by the labor and delivery from hell. (It did result in a cute boy, with the biggest cone head you've ever seen! But he was all worth it!)

When I was 26 I got pregnant with my second kid and it was basically lather, rinse, repeat, except this one had home IV's plus hospitalization for the sickness, then pre term labor with bed rest, followed by a horrible delivery ending in an emergency c-section.  ( It also resulted in a cute girl, so again, it was all worth it.) The Dr tied my tubes after this one and told me I couldn't have any more babies.  I was sad cause I love my babies and make cute ones, so a few more would have been great!

When I was 27 I had gall stones and had my gall bladder removed.

When I was 33 I had my tonsils removed.
(* I don't recommend this as an adult)

When I was still 33 my uterus that had taken a beating in my 20's decided it was ready to come out, and tried to on its own.  So in I go for another surgery.  Hysterectomy at 33.  Woohoo.
(P.S.  This technically turned into 2 surgeries.  While doing the hysterectomy, I was also getting a much needed bladder tack.  In that process my bladder was nicked and so the next day it was back to surgery to fix that and remove the bladder tack. )

When I was 35 I had my wisdom teeth taken out.
This doesn't really mean anything, just throwing it out there.
Or does it?

I'm now 38 and I've had 3 endoscopy's.
The only thing good about that is that I say crazy things when I wake up from those.
For example...
"I don't want to eat squid".
"I want to go to Chuck E Cheese."
Oh, and this one came after the wisdom teeth...
"Why did they bears take my teeth?  They already have teeth!"
The plan for the rest of my life is no more opportunities for anaesthesia, but if I have to, I'll invite you along.  It's a blast.

Bored yet?
Wondering what's left to remove?
Wondering if you can see my scars?
UM. No.
Wondering why I just told you all of that?
I'll get to it but first lets talk about my husband for a minute.

In 2003 he was working for Olan Mills as a church directory photographer.  Many of you friends have his work hanging in your living rooms.
Go ahead and look at that picture.  Reflect on how fast time goes by. No you didn't look better then! You look amazing now!  Yes, your kids have grown way to fast. No, Olan Mills no longer does church directories. Yes, it's time for a new family picture.
OK.  Are we done with the trip down memory lane?  Ready to get back to the task at hand?
Like I was saying before you all interrupted me with your moment of nostalgia, Stacy was up in Gadsden taking pictures at a church and got really sick.  So sick as a matter of fact that he went to an urgent care facility in the area that did an xray and told him to get to the ER.  So sick, that his boss had to drive him back to Birmingham to get to the hospital.
He spent a week in the hospital and underwent some tests and procedures and we found out that he had Chrons disease.
What is that?  At that time in 2003, we had no idea. I had never even heard of it.  I didn't know if that meant my husband of only 4 years and the father of my 3 and 1 year olds was going to be around to help me raise these two.  I was uninformed and at that point in my life, didn't know where to find out the answers.

More about that later.
I am a barrel of mystery today.
Maybe I should call this series "Missy's Mystery Machine".
I always wanted to be Daphne.  She had cute clothes and all the boys liked her.
I digress.

Moving onto my sweet darling daughter.
Bless her heart.  She struggled pretty early on with stomach issues.
Potty training her was hard because of it.
When she was 3 years old she got her first Urinary Tract infection and would drop to her knees and scream because it hurt so bad.  It was horrible to watch.  HORRIBLE.
They put her on the traditional UTI antibiotics and turns out, she was allergic.
After hearing her in her room in the middle of the night having a conversation with herself, I went in to find her burning up with fever, hallucinating, and broke out in a rash.
Bye Bye Bactrum.
She struggled for several years with on and off again UTIs.
When she was 7, the Dr. sent her for those dreaded tests they do where they shoot the dye in through the catheter. They had to stop the test short because she had an infection, so poor baby had to do it again later, and again later, she had an infection.
They put her on a dose of antibiotics for a year. One year. I didn't know much, except that this would hopefully prevent more infections.
A few months later, she was having a lot of stomach pain. I took her up to the local urgent care place where they did an xray and said she was all stopped up.
 (you know....with poop....It's my blog and I can say poop if I want to)
He gave me some medicine and said she'd be cleaned out by morning and sent me on my merry way.
By the next morning, nothing had happened. Nada. Zilch. Nothing.
We had even stayed home from church that night in anticipation of you know...stuff happening.
So by the next morning, when nothing happened, this is were my brain went.

"My husband has chrones disease.  Chrones disease causes bowel obstructions. The medicine they said would clean her out by morning has done nothing.  She is miserable in pain.  She just threw up. I need to take her to the local childrens hospital ER because if she does have what her daddy has, that's where we need to be."

Seems like a decently logical argument.  I even consulted some medical type friends and it was agreed that something is up.
So off we go to the ER on a Thursday morning.
I'm going to spare you all the details, because well...they are ugly, and they make me mad and cause my blood pressure to rise.
Suffice it to say, the ER staff that day was not on their "A" game.  They weren't even on there "C" game, and my poor sweet daughter went through a very traumatizing experience that caused her post traumatic stress anxiety issues for years to come.
(If you don't know her, she is one of the most chilled and laid back kids around.  Doesn't put up a fight over stuff, and has a really calm, sweet temperament.)

We did leave the ER with her cleaned out and with the assurance that there was not an obstruction.
We also left with a referral to a GI Dr.
We went to said GI Dr for over a year and the only place that got us was 2 invasive procedures (a barium enema and a rectal biopsy) and a lifetime RX for something to help her poop.  Oh, and I got something too!  I got treated like I didn't know that children should drink water and eat fiber.
I always felt like the GI Dr thought it was my fault my child couldn't poop.
There are plenty of things that I have done wrong with my kids that are my fault, but my child not pooping is not one of them.

We also got conflicting reports between the GI Dr and the Urinary Dr.  The Urologist said the UTIs were being caused from the chronic constipation.  The GI Dr said, No way!
I sided with the urologist.  It made a lot of sense!
Those areas are very close to one another and all of the infections she got were ecoli infections. Ecoli is from the poop.  So why wouldn't the infections be because of the constipation?
Not to mention the fact that the Mirilax they had her on to help her poop, made it such a sticky mess, and she's a small child...well can imagine.

So round and round we went for about 18 months.
At this point, I have had enough.

Oh. You've had enough too?
Ok.  Go get you a little snack.  Some grapes?  A cup of hot tea?  A little piece of chocolate?
Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala. Ooooooohhhhhhahhhhhhhh.

All better?  Good, cause we are just getting to the good stuff!

Around the time that I decided I was done with getting no where with the specialists, I had started to piddle around with the whole gluten free thing for myself.  A couple of my dear friends were doing the same, and were seeing results, so I thought I should too.
My mom had mentioned to me some months before that gluten might be an issue with Lana.
I did a quick google search and determined that was not the case.  It seemed like gluten issues was for people with diarrhea and that was NOT her problem. Sigh.
I was ignorant but at this point was also desperate. I put Lana on a one week "Gluten Free Trial."
Being the sweet and laid back girl that she is, she agreed.
After 5 days, she said "Can I do it for another week?"
After another week, she said "Can I do this for another week?"
After less than two weeks, she was no longer taking the medicine to help her poop, was going on her own, and her pee didn't stink. (That was one of the things about the constant UTI's.  You could still smell her pee long after she left the bathroom.  That is embarrassing for a kid.  That is embarrassing for anyone!).

Now.  Lets go back to the top and my story.
Did you read the ridiculous list of surgeries and illness?
Does it seem like any of those things are related?
Some of them yes, some of them no.
Horrible pregnancies don't have anything to do with wisdom teeth, or my tonsils.
My gall bladder has nothing to do with pneumonia.
And yet, I can look at it all now and see how that every one of those experiences was slowly sucking my health well dry.
Each surgery, every round of antibiotics, every invasive procedure, was chiseling away at the wall in my gut.  A wall that is supposed to be like a solid door, but gradually through all these years of all of the above, turned into more of a screen door.
"Say what crazy lady?  No habla cray cray!"

Here's the deal.
I am going to explain.
But not in this post.
Like I said in part 1, this will be a 7 part series.
So my crazy issues, you know the ones about my gut being a screen instead of a solid, well I am going to explain that in Part 4- The Gut.
I say I'm going to explain.  What I'm going to do is present to you facts that I have learned over the past year and then you are going to say "OH! That makes sense!"

The story about my husband and the Chrones disease?
Yep, that will be covered in Part 5- Autoimmune disease.
The issue of the Gluten?  Coming up next in Part 3.

Now for your homework.
Yeah, I'm assigning homework.
It's my blog, I can talk about poop and assign homework.
The homework is easy and simply this.
I want you to think about your overall health, over the course of your life.
Have you been well?  Do you struggle with reoccurring anything? Sinus infections, strep throat, stomach bugs, eczema, depression, or any other thing that effects your life?
Think about your top 10 favorite foods and drinks.

See?! Now that isn't so bad for homework is it?
Think about those things and over the course of the next few parts of this series, see how they fit.

Just as a reminder.
Read part one for disclaimers.
I don't want to have to keep reminding you that I am not a Dr, that I don't judge you, that I want to fix you but I can't fix you, etc etc.

Check back next week as we get down to the knitty gritty!


Jeri Tanner said...

This is great, Missy! I'm sure it'll be helpful to many people. Keep going!

care-in said...

Thank you for the baby steps. I have a feeling we have some food intolerences around here too. Thing is, we aren't terribly sick.

Denise said...

Appreciate your honesty, and helpful information. Sorry you and sweet Lana have suffered so much, love you both.

Denise said...

Appreciate your honesty, and helpful information. Sorry you and sweet Lana have suffered so much, love you both.