Monday, July 27, 2009

To clear things up

Thought I'd let everyone know what's going's been a few days. I've been to the naturopath a few times now to check up and start some different therapies he has recommended. I really like the diet suggestions he's made and I've started on a few supplements (protein, calcium, and anti-inflammatories). The therapies he says are to help increase circulation and get to my trigger points...but I'm still learning the new language. Since starting the therapies on Thursdays, I've had 2 bad nights and 2 good nights, so I'm not out of the woods yet.

Naturopathy seems to be a bit controversial these days, or maybe I've just never opened up the topic with anyone. My brother works in California as a psychologist with autism and sees bad outcomes because of naturopathy, of people pouring money into endless treatments and no results, or worse. That's my disclaimer. We have gone into this because we had exhausted the treatments with the gastroenterologist, except for starting steroids and another round of antibiotics if it was to get worse. I don't want to approve of ALL naturopathy, just as I don't want to approve of ALL medicine. I want to continue cautiously with the treatments I receive, with my body, with my healing.

But please don't give up your doctors and ultrasounds and prescriptions, that was never my intention. I'm a nurse...I believe in medicine's place in our lives as I believe in supporting other treatments as well. I think our bodies have an amazing capacity of knowing how to heal, and along with the right help (be it herbal or synthetic or whatever), healing will take place. I hope to use a midwife when my babies are born to have less medical intervention, but I know an obstetrician needs to be available in case of complications. I think it's finding a balance of where you are comfortable, not being blind to the realities, understanding options.

So that's the road I'm on. The road to recovery I'm hoping! It has been a long, long time since going a few nights in a row without pain and I am anxious to feel "normal" again. I am anxious to see my husband. I am anxious to live my daily life again. I move forward prayerfully in my decisions, hoping that I take the right steps.

Friday, July 24, 2009

You've got to be kidding.

So to top it all mom and I walked into our house today, and we were broken into. So far, it seems they have taken my laptop, my travel money, my mom's jewelry, and some antique guns my dad had from his granparents. Oh yah, and my Vicodin! Argh. Thankfully we live in the U.S.A. where people carry homeowners insurance, so it should all be covered. In the meantime though, frustrating!! But to be thankful, we are all safe and in all reality, things are just things.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thumbs up for Naturopathy

So I went to the Naturopathic doctor and didn't find one burning candle, incense stick, and no humming or meditation was required. It was surprisingly FANTASTIC and I am hooked to the end. The doctor was able to explain all the diagnoses that the other doctors gave me and did it in a way that just made sense. He took so much time to understand what I have gone through and to talk about what is still happening.

The exam was fascinating to say the least. As he examined me he kept explaining why things are happening in my body like:

Weird arms: I wake up in the night with what I've called "restless arm syndrome". I feel like they are electric on the inside and if I don't move them they'll explode, so I hug my pillow or stand up and walk around and shake them, etc. He said it is most likely due to a lack of calcium because my body doesn't have the fatty acids to help in that.

Lack of weight gain: Normally I wouldn't complain about this except that it is virtually impossible for me to put on weight. I eat all day and still have issues. Anyhow, he explained that due to the antacids I've been taking, I have decreased digestive enzymes, amongst other things, and so therefore cannot properly break down and digest my food, therefore lack of weight gain.

Pain: Due to all the inflammation in my stomach

He went on to say that my digestive system is obviously my weakest and we are going to work to strengthen it. He wasn't anti-medical anything, in fact, along with giving me a tincture of stuff for pain, he said that if it wasn't working after a certain number of doses, to take the Vicodin I had been prescribed.

Tomorrow I'm off again for the next appointment where we'll talk about more in-depth things I need to do and the treatment plan. I am expecting to be going to the office 2-3 times a week for continued treatments with physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, etc. If you're interested you can check out their website...I'd recommend it.

The hardest part of this whole process is that my ticket says I'm meant to be on the plane back to the DR next Wednesday. That obviously isn't going to be possible with starting new treatments here, so we started thinking of alternate plans so as not to have to be apart from Ariel for 2.5 months. Whether it was to head back to the DR for a week or leaving early, we tried to think through all the options. In the end though, after lots of praying and talking and thinking through it all, we have decided that I'll go ahead and stay here to start treatment immediately so I can hopefully heal faster and more completely, thereby returning healthy and sound, ready to move forward with all that is ahead.

I am a big believer that for everything that happens there is a God-driven purpose, whether we get to find out what the purpose is or not. So I am confident that as Ariel and I continue our days in opposite countries, we will continue stronger because of this, that we will be better and know each other we have already seen happen. I wish I could tell you how truly good to the core Ariel is, how supportive and encouraging he has been, and how grateful I am that he is my husband.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Steps to being better

Well, second biopsy report came back as such: eosinophilic gastritis, CMV in stomach (from previous infection, I guess), and no parasites. The doctor said if the pain is worse, we can do antibiotics for the gastritis (which I've already done once) and steroids (which I don't want!). The biopsy is now off for a 3rd opinion, where they will do further testing to see if there is anything else in there! They also will be presenting my case at the next hospital round table discussions to see if anyone else has seen this or knows what it is.

In the meantime, I still have pain issues during the night. The days are great, I feel perfectly normal and go about my day mostly like anyone else...I just do a bit less and eat really frequently. But I wake up every night for about 2-3 hours with stomach pain, heartburn, spitty, weird stuff. Vicodin still seems to do the trick for it, but I'm anxious to get off the pain medicine.

Well, I'm off today to a highly recommended Naturopathic doctor. I had already researched online some alternatives to going on steroids (for inflammation of the stomach), and started an herb called licorice root, along with probiotics to sort out my guts. Then my dad brought in a reference from a friend at work for this naturopathic doctor, so I've decided to go. Hopefully he can tell me if the herbs I'm taking are right and what else I can be doing. He apparently works a lot with diet based upon your blood type, so I'm interested in what this will do. I go tonight for the first appt and a follow-up appt. on Thurs.

My ticket back to the DR says I should be leaving here on the Wednesday. I am unsure at this point what I am supposed to do. I want so badly to be with Ariel, he is just so, so far away. But at the same time, I know I have made this trip to Oregon to get better, and so far, I'm not all the way better. I'm trying to figure out if I'm going to extend my ticket and be away from Ariel longer, or go back as scheduled and hope for the best with my stomach. I'm just a bit nervous to head back with a weak stomach to face more potential for getting something like a parasite which could do me in! Thank you for praying with me about this to make the best decision, for my body, for our marriage, for the long-term results. Ariel is telling me to stay in Oregon, that I need to get better and come back 100% healed...but that is the way he is, completely self-sacraficing and loving to the end. I want to love him too and care for him, but maybe that means healing in Oregon first so I can be the best wife I can be when I get back. These are hard choices I'm hoping the doctor today will help us figure out as he talks about treatments and options. I'll let you know!

Noah is 1!

My high school friend Jenny just had a bday party for her little boy, Noah, who turns one this week. It was great to be able to be at one of these events...normally I'm so far away. Happy Birthday, Noah!

Cousins and kids

We were once again, at my grandparents the other day for a get-together with my cousins. My oldest cousin, David, has 4 kids, plus 4 more kidswere there, so it was an active place! It was nice to catch up with my cousins, see their families, and play in the pool again!

A little behind

I'm a little late, but wanted to put a couple of the 4th of July up before August rolled around. My brother John and his family came up, we BBQ'd and swam at my grandparents then did another BBQ and fireworks at my parents house.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Better yet?

The doctor called today and it seems that everything is negative!! Hooray! He said something about my blood cells staining red, but he has a bit of a heavy accent and I didn't understand the word. Anyhow, he wanted a second opinion on the pathology test so he's sending the biopsies to another pathologist to be sure...that should be back in another week. He said my stomach was so bad that he wants to double check everything. He talked about putting me on steriods, but we discussed this and decided to hold off because of the side effects and that I've been improving.

The great news is that I am feeling mostly well. I don't want to get my hopes up too soon (as has happened before) but I have had 2 good days in a row without pain and nausea. It is GOOD to feel good!! I have started going out more in the daytime and eating more adventerous food, "testing" my stomach. I want to be sure I am truly well before heading back to the DR.

At the moment, I am set to leave for the DR on the 29th, just 2 weeks from now. I am anxious to see Ariel and hopeful that my stomach agrees with me being better and able to return. That being said, I am not looking forward to the Dominican August heat. It is hot, hot, hot! But it will be nice, nice, nice to be with Ariel again, so I'll put up with the heat. I just want to be 100% sure I am healed before adding in the extra stressors of different food and water, heat, etc.

Thanks for all the encouragement you have sent through emails, calls, is great having such support. Here's hoping and praying for more good days, full (and permanent!) healing of my stomach, and my family to move to the DR with me (you can always hope, right??!!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Growing up

One of my high school friends came over yesterday too to introduce me to her new little man, Quinn. He's 4 months old and one of the worst parts of being away is missing all of these little guys growing up! It was really nice to see Bethany again, catch up on being married and parenting and our lives these days. Hard to believe we're old enough to be having kids and be "real" grown-ups!

Sandy Mountain Days

My afternoons and evenings continue to be the best time of day for me. I'm able to get out and do "normal" things and feel pretty good. The other night I was in the Sandy Mountain Days parade with my grandparents and aunt and uncle for their printshop. I got to ride in a car the whole time, so that made it even easier. Unfortunately, we had to wear parrot hats and shake pom-poms, but it was nice to be out and doing something.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Testing, testing

So I went in for the endoscopic ultrasound yesterday change to my stomach. All my other organs are fine except my stomach, which continues to be very inflamed and unhappy. The doctors are stumped as to what is going on and so we are waiting for the biopsy results that he took from my stomach, which will be in on Tuesday hopefully. I still get pain off and on but I think that is getting to be less and less. Nausea comes and goes, along with feeling tired and like a slug. I'm getting the best mom-care ever, which I'm sure has lead to me getting better.

I miss Ariel like crazy and wish he could be here, it's hard to be away for so long...especially sick. He is a super laundry washer and informed me that he washed ALL the white clothes I have at home and they are now all yellow-armpit-stain free (I've got a problem with that, so??!) He is a good, good man. I want to share Oregon, the U.S., these things with him. But all in good time, all in good time.

So we continue to wait and hope and pray for good results...and answers to where this is all coming from!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Some healing photos!

Just a few photos my mom has been taking for Ariel to keep him updated on my progress! Here are a few from my hospital trip here. They taped my IV up like a little kid (I have problems with my veins and losing IV's!).

This was the worst and best medicine I have ever taken. It's called "Miracle Mouthwash" but rather than washing my mouth, I had to drink 30 cc's of it right down! It was the best though because it numbed up my stomach and I was able to rest the whole night through without pain, as well as keep my medicine in my stomach. Ew.So this is one of my healing grandparents' house! It's either lie in my bed at my parents house or lie on a chair next to the pool, so we head to their house! I do spend most of my day laying seems to be the best position to keep my stomach calm. Afternoons are my best time, and I've tried to take advantage of that and eat as much as possible in the "feel-good" time! I have yet to gain any weight back, but maybe this week I'll be able to do that with my new "diet".

It has been great being with family...and my cat. My mom was gardening yesterday afternoon so I threw down a blanket with pillows and my dad and Basil came to join me in watching! It's nice to be home.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Another test

So it's been a week since leaving the hospital and although I have seen progress, I still hurt in the morning and late evenings. This morning was pretty rough so my mom called the doctor and we went in again. He said I should be feeling better at this point and would like to do the next test...and endoscopic ultrasound. This will allow them to look at the layers of my stomach and get a closer look at other organs like my gallbladder, liver, pancreas, etc. Maybe this will bring some more definitive answers as to what is happening in there.

The funny part is the diet that he has suggested. The amounts that I eat at the moment are still fairly small so I've tried to make them high-quality with fruits and vegetables and proteins. I asked about diet today and he's actually suggested a diet high in carbohydrates and lean meats, low in high fiber foods like leafy green vegetables, multi grain breads, fiber-y fruits, etc. First time I heard a doctor say that! Anyhow, he says that the high fiber foods stay in my stomach longer and are harder to digest, so may cause more irritation in my stomach. So I've started my strange diet as of this evening and hope it helps!

So next Friday, a week from now, will be the next exam but hopefully all will improve between now and then! In the meantime, I continue resting at home and beside my grandparents' pool, which are great places to be!