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Monday, March 9, 2015

Getting Sick with Colitis and Diverticulosis and What I Learned from it.

Hi DeNami friends,

I just wanted to write you all to let you know what I've been going through. Some of you are on Facebook and know what was going on while things were happening.

Two weeks ago, starting on Sunday, February 22, 2015, I was having some discomfort in my abdomen. It was not entirely unusual that I would have digestive problems, so I was waiting for it to pass. Come that Monday, it was still there but bearable.

I decided to go to the doctor the following day and waited to see how I felt that next morning. In the middle of the night, the pain got so unbearable that I felt I needed to go to the Emergency Room to be relieved of the pain. Mind you, I have a high pain tolerance, having birthed 4 kids naturally and being back on my feet the next day. Also, as a mom of 5, you just don't "get sick". You just keep going. I couldn't sleep the pain away. I didn't want to bother anyone and suggested to hubby that I would just take myself there. He wouldn't have any of that and quickly ushered me to the Emergency Room about 15 minutes away.

Fortunately, there was no one in the waiting room. Prior to going, I checked the hours of the Urgent Care clinic, but saw that the Emergency room was my only option. I was able to let them know online that I was heading there and they were expecting me right when I arrived.

They did the vitals, EKG, Cat scans, blood work and determined that I had Cecal Colitis and Diverticulosis that developed into Diverticulitis. I didn't know what that was so they went into detail as to what it was. It is pockets that develop in the large intestine that gets food and waste trapped in there causing inflammation then infection. I read that it is very common in those over 40, but many don't realize they have it until this happens.

They prescribed 2 antibiotics, pain med and an anti-nausea med. I was glad they found what the cause was, but little did I realize that this was not the beginning of the end, my painful journey would take a harrowing turn.

I got home and was in pain, but I knew the meds were there to help me get better. Immediately, I lost all appetite and because of this, my stomach and gut emptied and then the harsh meds were going into an empty stomach and it was extremely painful. I was doubled over in pain for most of the night and in between that time, I was extremely nauseated and vomiting. This was very hard. I read the side effects and these were listed, so I suspected I was feeling this way because of the meds and not the condition itself. Day turned into night and night turned into day. There was no escaping the pain. Eating was more painful than not eating, believe it or not.

Several friends offered suggestions and I tried them all. After about 5 days, I was stomaching more food. My cousin's wife brought a comfort food remedy that was helpful along with a healing broth my sis in law made. Now my meds were entering a stomach that wasn't empty and it seemed to take the edge off the nausea a little. I noticed the original pain I went to the ER for was slowly going away and being replaced by the nausea, dizziness and vomiting. As bad as I was, it was still better than the pain.

The following week, the nausea and dizziness were more manageable. Laying in bed helped me to not feel the dizziness that sitting or standing causes. I began to read up on this more and found a site that was helpful for me about other people's experiences with this condition. You can read about it here, but it's the comments that is the MOST helpful. Hundreds of people sharing their stories. It helped me to piece things together a little bit. This was also interesting here.

Right now, I am at week 2 in bed. I am about to finish the last of the antibiotics and am hoping that my body will start healing on its own. I have never had any health issues that took me down. I rarely got sick and I was very active up to this point. I exercise 5-6 times a week, eat very healthy (to a fault) but this somehow came upon me unexpectedly.

Through this all, I have learned many things being sick. Here is my ongoing list:

1) My hubby is a very good and attentive nurse! He is a rough and tumble man's man, so to see his soft side is quite sweet. He will straighten up my blankets, refill my ginger ale and water, and regularly offer food. He was there to give me pep talks when I had a meltdown and was sobbing with discouragement.

2) You never know when you need help, so keep your friendships alive. Friendships have always been important to me, but I think of myself as the giver and not the receiver. It has been humbling being on the receiving end of help.

3) The body of Christ (church friends) have been an immense support with prayers, well wishes, suggestions and practical help. I have a good family network, but this support network goes beyond what my family can do and it is a beautiful thing to experience. If you don't have this, think of this as a gentle reminder to make friends in a church. Let me know if you need some pointers as to where to start to look. I can't emphasize this enough. I wouldn't have weathered it without the faithfulness of that support.

4) I can empathize and sympathize with those who cannot do much for themselves. Not so much that they don't want to, but truly can't. I got to a place where I really couldn't do anything for myself and that was so hard. Being a mom, I wanted to nurture the kids and do things for them, but I couldn't do a thing.

5) Never get so busy that you don't reach out to those who need a friend or help. One thing that blessed me so much was a friend who I hadn't seen in about 20 years. I only see her on Facebook. She offered to bring a meal and I humbly accepted it. She prepared a feast including dessert. My family was so blessed by her kind gesture of love. She is a busy lady, doing marathons, working in an operating room and yet, she made time to bring an old friend a meal. That meal truly fed more that our bodies, but our hearts and souls.

6) Never take your health for granted. I never did and that's why I took care of myself, but even with all my precautions, I was still susceptible to illness. Enjoy your good days and make the best of it. Take each day as it comes and rest when you need. Listen to your body.

7) Stay positive mentally. Even with all the pain and hardship, I tried to still find good in it. I realize that the meds were going to help me and I was willing to go through it. Even when it led to nausea, I was still better off than having the pain. I also looked back on the blessings of going through this like those little bits of sunshine in the love poured out by friends and family. I could go and on about the bright spots during this trial.

My daughter even surprised me by coming all the way from San Francisco to just see me. I was very touched. It really was a blessing.

8) I see the hand of God even in what I don't understand. I have heard it said that your "Tests" of faith will become your "Testimonies" of faith. Well, it's not a test I want to take, but, let's be honest, does anyone like tests? It shows where you are lacking and also where you are passing. I believe in the power of prayer and recognize that I made it through with the many prayers uplifting me even when I couldn't even cry out due to the pain. I am trusting that I will be a good testimony to God. I know He loves me even when I go through stuff. Trust me when I say, I have been through "stuff". The harder the stuff the sweeter He is.

9) Our lives are so quick and fragile, that to live your life giving of yourselves to others for God is really the best investment of your life. People talk of living for yourselves and living life to the fullest (for selfish purposes), but the true investment comes when you invest in others. There is a great return on your investment. I believed that even before, but I have a deeper desire for even more.

10) This goes along with the previous, but really look at your life and live for what is lasting and worthwhile. Money will not last, nor health, but God, people and your spirit. Don't end up being at the end of your life wondering what you really lived for, examine now and start making choices that reflect what is really important to you.

I have "been there and done that" with regards to money, success, etc. But I would rather live a simple and relationship rich life than continually strive for things that never bring happiness or fulfillment. I guess age and wisdom is a good teacher. I desire to live a life of "no regrets".

This list will continue as I go through this journey.

I know my story is nothing new as many of you have your own. I bet you have learned a lot, too. I would love to hear.



Shelly said...

Nami, this is a very touching post. I personally have never experienced this, though I only can image what you're going through. One things for sure, us 'moms' are tough and there's no doubt you'll overcome this. I hope you'll have some more relief soon and in no time be back to your normal self! Take care and I'll be thinking of you. Hugs

arlsmom aka Lynda said...

So sorry you have had to go through all this...I hope you are feeling stronger every day and healthy quickly!

Janis said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story. I was so very touched by your words of faith and optimism. We all are going through different things in our lives....some are things others know about and some are very private, known only to the Lord. So thankful for a faithful and present Lord Jesus!!!

Blessings to you as you continue to heal. Thank you for the wonderful and poignant reminder that we do not face life alone. We have each other and we have the Lord!

Life's trials do, indeed, bring us new compassion for others and the paths they are on....and enable us to share the hope we have. (2 Corinthians, chapter 1)
You passed the test! :)
<3 J

jwoolbright at gmail dot com

Tracy said...

Thank you for sharing your story, you point out so many important things for all of us to remember. Hope you are on the mend and back to normal quickly. Take care.

Greta said...

Lots of wisdom in your post, Nami--thank you for reminding us. So sorry to hear of your illness & hope you'll continue to improve every day & be back to your old self soon! God bless--hugs, Greta

Brenda Lee said...

Oh, wow!! What an experience! I love and appreciate you sharing your story and important things we sometimes take for granted. You have an amazing family. God can do amazing things. Keeping you and your family in my prayers. Hope you're back on your feet soon! :)

Here's my experience with the emergency room...nothing serious as what you are dealing with: I had been experiencing pain under my rib cage and an achy upper back that would wake me up at night. This would happen when I ate fried food or spicy food. The aches and pains would always start at 2 or 3 in the morning and it wouldn't go away for hours. I went to the doctor and she said it sounded like it was my gall bladder. She wanted me to go and get an ultrasound, but I ignored it. I figured if I stayed away from fried food or spicy food, I would be ok. It was easy for me to give up the fried food...but spicy food???? I couldn't resist. Well, it caught up with me. One morning, the pain was so bad that I couldn't sit up. I had my sis take me to the ER. They immediately put me on morphine. As you can imagine, the morphine had me flying high. It was my gall bladder and they had to take it out. This all happened the morning of my sister's birthday. It was a Friday and we had made plans with friends to go out and celebrate. Not being in my right mind due to the morphine, I tried to negotiate (hard) with the surgeon on rescheduling the surgery for a better day. Even in my loopy state, I remembered the look of "is this girl crazy?" Needless to say, I had the surgery and missed my sister's birthday.

I hope you found my ER story a little humorous and that it brought a smile to your face.

Here are a few things I learned: 1. there's no negotiating with doctors
2. family is SO important...I am blessed to have all of my immediate family members close by 3. the Lord gave me strength
4. don't take things for granted 5. listen to the doctor and your body
6. don't procrastinate

Keep us posted on how your doing. Hugs to you!

Unknown said...

What a great story you shared! Thank you Nami for sharing the blessings with the pain, it's important to see the silver lining :)

Suzi said...

So sorry you have been run through the mill. But God has given you a wonderful testimony. So glad to find another crafter friend who is a sister in Christ.

Lisa Elton said...

What an ordeal, continued prayers for you Nami!

Hippymom83 said...

I just stumbled upon your blog through the Pretty Pink Posh blog. I hope that you are well on the mend! My husband also found out the hard (and nauseating) way that he has diverticulosis when he came down with diverticulitis 2 years ago [at age 30!]. His first day at a new college he began throwing up. Barely made it through his first classes! I figured it was just his anxiety, but each day after that he continued to be sick. I took him to a doctor and had the tests done which revealed the cause of his symptoms, much the same as you went through, I'm sure. It took a full month or more before the symptoms fully subsided. Vomiting EVERY MORNING for a MONTH! Since then, he has not had a re-occurrence, for which we are thankful. I imagine that your Colitis probably makes your situation even more uncomfortable and complicated than what my husband went through. I grew up with a friend who had Crohn's Disease, so I know a little about those two disorders as well. I hope that you will be back on your feet and feeling strong again soon! Prayers and best wishes to you!

Kathy Mc said...

So sorry to read this post, but it's very moving as well as educational. They always say we no our bodies best so don't just let things ride. Thank God for doctors who were able to diagnose your problem and provide treatment. God Bless your DH for taking your role of caring for the sick. Just a reminder to allow yourself the time to heal and get plenty of rest. Take care!

Sue Lelli said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story Nami. To go through so much yet have this powerful message to share is a blessing to u all!


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