Monday, July 23, 2012

A Little Health Update

I'm not even sure there's anyone left reading this blog anymore except my wonderful family, but just in case there are one or two of you, I guess an update is in order!

For the past 6 months or so, I've been struggling pretty hard with my Crohn's Disease.  After my encouraging visit to Cedars Sinai in 2009, I had been in complete remission with zero symptoms for about two and a half years because of Thalidomide, my "miracle drug."  I was 100% healthy for my husband and my kids, my work as a Realtor was keeping me challenged, and I forgot what it was like to have to think about managing a chronic illness.  Unfortunately, before Christmas, I started to experience one of the side effects of the drug so I worked closely with my doctor and decided to cut my dosage in half to prevent long term irreversible damage. 

Thankfully this stopped the nerve damage, but the new dose simply wasn't enough to continue to hold my disease at bay.  My symptoms slowly started creeping back, bit by bit, to where I am today, back into a full flare of my disease.  Every patient is so different, but the symptoms I experience when in a flare are extreme arthritis/joint pain and severe abdominal cramping along with frequent running to the bathroom.  Call me crazy but it doesn't make for such a fun time :(

So I've been working closely with my team of doctors to figure out what else to try, but thus far have been unsuccessful.  Add to my flare a nasty bacterial infection, c diff, that has made repeated appearances in my gut in the past 4 months, and it's been the perfect storm brewing inside my body.  I made a visit to the ER on June 26th and ended up staying for 9 days so I could get IV steroids & anti-biotics.  Thankfully my body responded quickly and Independence Day 2012 will always have a special day in my heart as that's the day I was finally released back home! 

As a side note, my hubby and I celebrated 10 years of marriage in April and months before had planned an amazing trip to Mexico to celebrate in July.  Obviously we didn't end up going, and I'm so thankful we spent the money on trip insurance, so we will definitely be re-scheduling that vacation as soon as I'm better!  I can't begin to count how much praising we did that I didn't end up in a hospital in Mexico for 9 days - holy moly that would have been a nightmare!!!

So now we are back at square one planning a trip back to Cedars in a few weeks to see if they have any new recommendations for me.  I've been so blessed to have a great team at Mayo oversee my care and I continue to thank God for health insurance, despite all the medications and dr visits.  Thankfully, the Prednisone I am currently on are doing a great job of managing my symptoms in the very short term, but as I quickly taper off this nasty drug, we have to determine what my long term treatment plan will be.   

I'm currently doing an awesome Beth Moore Bible Study in the book of James and am encouraged at this exact time that despite the unknowns of what I'm going to try next, I am still able to confidently "Count it all joy, my brethren, when you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have it's perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  James 1:2-3  AMEN!


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