Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just in Time for Mother's Day

As you may have noticed, there's been quite a break between this post and the last one. Some of you already know why, but some of you don't, so here's the story...

I've been sick. Very sick.

It started two weeks ago, when I woke up in pain in the very early Monday morning hours. I had felt fine all day Sunday, but suddenly there was mild to moderate pain in my upper abdomen, just below my rib cage, like a cramp that just didn't stop. It continued the rest of the night, lessening as the hours past until I was finally able to fall asleep around 6 or so.

When I woke up, I felt better. The pain was gone, but I was left with a feeling of tightness, like the muscles in my stomach were constantly contracted. This feeling continued for most of the day, but didn't keep me from taking care of the kids. We did, however, watch a lot more TV that day than normal! During the couple of hours before bedtime, I felt better than I had all day, but within an hour of going to bed, the pain was back, but worse this time. Sometime in the middle of the night, it spread to my back. I got very little sleep, but did doze off towards morning as the pain began to lessen.

Tuesday the tightness continued, with occasional pain, so Jim stayed home and I went to see my dr. Naturally, my symptoms did not sound classically like anything, but he suspected either my gall bladder or my stomach, an ulcer perhaps. He ran some blood tests, started me on Nexium in case it was a stomach issue, ordered an ultrasound of my gall bladder to check for stones, and sent me home with instructions to go to the ER if the pain got worse.

I had an "attack" (abdominal and back pain) in the evening, but took some Advil PM before bed, and managed to sleep fairly well that night.

I was at a point where I was afraid to eat almost anything because I didn't want to aggravate my insides. I also found that the tightness in my abdomen became worse if there was any pressure on my stomach, so I couldn't hold my kids in my lap or even really bend over. I had to have someone at the house all the time to watch the kids because I was unable to do so myself.

Wednesday, a couple of ladies from church came over and watched the kids for me. I felt decent in the morning, but as the hours passed I started to go downhill. By naptime I was in pain, and my sweet helpers sent me to bed, refusing to leave until Jim got home from work. When he arrived home and found me in pain, he convinced me to go to the ER. We called in more help from church to watch the kids, and off we went.

At the ER they did more blood tests, a urine test, and a CT scan. They told me all my tests came back negative, I didn't have kidney stones, and my gall bladder looked fine. They sent me home, in pain, and told me I needed to see a GI dr.

My parents came on Thursday to stay and help with the kids. I wasn't able to get a GI appt until Friday. My GI dr ordered another blood test to check for an ulcer-related bacteria and suggested I keep taking the Nexium and wait to see what the ultrasound showed NEXT WEDNESDAY!

The days went by. I always felt my best in the morning. Then sometime in the afternoon I would have an "attack" which might get better after I ate dinner and might not. I didn't have another overnight attack until around 3 Mon morning.

Finally, Wednesday arrived and I had my ultrasound. It looked at my gall bladder, kidneys, and spleen. My primary care dr called me that afternoon to say that everything looked fine. I admit I was disappointed. I was hoping for gall stones. Then I would KNOW what was wrong, and we could get it taken care of quickly! But alas, I looked fine. He did say, however, that the ultrasound did not completely rule out my gall bladder. It could still be having problems even if there were no stones. He ordered a HIDA scan to check my gall bladder function and told me to keep taking the Nexium.

Surprisingly, although the tightness continued, I didn't have any painful attacks on Wednesday. It was my first painfree day since the whole thing started! My parents went back to Memphis that day, needing to take care of a few things back home, but prepared to come back if they needed to.

The next 2 days brought the return of wonderful church helpers to watch the kids. I had a mild attack late Thursday afternoon which lasted all evening, but with the help of some Advil PM, I slept okay that night. I had no pain on Friday, but was very, very tired all day.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. No pain. No tightness. I felt almost normal! And it was a good thing too because around 6 last night Zachary started throwing up. He threw up several times throughout the rest of the evening. It wasn't too bad as vomiting episodes go, but it was possibly the worst we've ever had with our kids. It definitely required 2 functioning parents! One to tend to Zachary and one to tend to the other three! We finally put him to bed at almost 9:30 and he never threw up again. So far, he hasn't today either. Yea!

So now it's Mother's Day, and I am very thankful to feel practically normal again today. I have done more around the house this weekend without any attacks. I'm thankful to be helpful again! I'm slowly branching out from unseasoned grilled chicken, unadorned baked potatoes, and plain turkey sandwiches, and very thankful for the return of a little flavor to my meals.

I'm thankful for all the wonderful people who stepped up to help take care of the kids while I couldn't, most importantly Jim and my parents, but also Pam, Margie, Melissa, Charlotte, Tim, Gwen, Jeanette, Carla, and Ozell. Thank you all SO MUCH for being such a blessing to me and my family!

And most of all I'm tankful for being able to hold my kids in my lap again! That is truly a Mother's Day treat!

As for the future of my as-yet-unidentified illness, who knows! Perhaps the Nexium has healed something within me or perhaps two weeks of an incredibly bland diet has soothed something within me. Tuesday's HIDA scan should at least tell me whether or not the problem lies in my gall bladder. Then we can either cross it off the list of possibilities or yank it out of me altogether. I have a follow-up appt with the GI dr that same day, so we'll see what the next step is.

Hopefully, there will be no more painful attacks, and we can get some real answers soon! Thank you for all your encouragement and prayers! I'll keep you posted!

PS--KayKay did a fantastic job keeping up with Reagan's potty training while she and Bud were here, maybe even a better job than I had been doing before I got sick! Reagan is well on her way now to being declared officially potty-trained! Thanks Mom! Happy Mother's Day! I love you!

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