For Those Who Are Wondering …

For those who are wondering where I’ve been lately, I wanted to finally go ahead and give an update here. It’s actually been a dim few weeks of uncertainty about my physical health.

I mentioned a little bit in my last post about how I was feeling physically, but that was way back in week 1. Today marks week 4 of not feeling well at all!

As I’ve gone from one doctor appointment to another, they’ve thought everything from diverticulitis to the most recent, and probably right, diagnoses of “gastritis with some erosion” (meaning it was on its way to becoming an ulcer) and colitis.

That’s the short story. It’s had me down physically for 4 weeks today, and as anyone who has gone through an uncertain illness or even a known disability can tell you, it’s been difficult to truly rest because of feeling miserable and uncertain.

One very good thing that came of all this is that the colonoscopy caught a polyp that turned out to be pre-cancerous, which means it had a chance at turning into cancer. Guess there’s a lot to be said for early screening, even before 50 years old (I’m 44).

For those who are into details, feel free to keep reading, but start from the bottom in this post to get the progression. What you’ll see are the emails I’ve sent to family and a small circle of co-workers and friends as the journey has progressed. It’s sure to be TMI (too much info) for some, so feel free to skip it.

Appreciate your prayers!

Sent: Thursday, February 04, 2010

Just came back from follow-up appt with the GI Doc. Ultrasound of the abdomen yesterday shows nothing abnormal.
However, the colonoscopy results came back with two interesting items, one related to what’s happening now, and the other not related.
The related issue is that the samples showed colitis, which is basically inflammation of the colon (large intestine). You can click the link for more info about it. There are various causes of it, a number of which may be contributing to my case.
It is not “ulcerative” colitis, which is a good thing. That would mean there are ulcers forming in the colon. His hope is that it is a simple colitis that can be taken care of with medication and then a changing of diet and exercise.
As I am on Nexium for the gastritis in my stomach (he mentioned again that some erosion means extra time to heal), he is having me take Asacol, which reads for treatment of ulcerative colitis, even though Doc says mine is not ulcerative. He is also giving me something to take as needed for the nausea, so I am hoping for some relief from that.
Yesterday was a little better. I had some larger windows of time where I felt some relief, with almost no pain or nausea. It would come back intermittently. Still, the only predictors to added pain and/or nausea were anything on my stomach, even just water. But today feels a little like “one step forward, two steps back” as the nausea has been constant all day long.
The non-related issue that came back from the colonoscopy was the polyp. It turned out to be pre-cancerous, instead of just benign. He wants another colonoscopy in 3 years. He mentioned that as colon cancer is slow growing, it’s good we had one done at 44 years old instead of the standard 50, as it may have turned into cancer by then. So, praise God for that!
Onward I go. He wants me to see him again in 4 weeks for a check up. The hope is that the gastritis and colitis are calmed down and back to normal. The Nexium and Asacol go on for 3-4 months. I guess we check in again then.
Thanks to you all for praying for me. There is nothing like knowing that people who love you are thinking about you and covering you in prayer. So that you can all join in the praise report on this too, I will keep you posted as to my progress next week sometime. I am trusting God for a good turnaround over the next week!

Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2010

I am back from the colonoscopy, and glad to not be feeling as loopy as I imagined! And, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought, but they did put me out for the whole procedure due to some other medications I am on.
The result of the test was that they found one small polyp that was removed and will be tested and they found the first part of my small intestine also has some inflammation. They took a sample of that for testing as well. Other than that, they found nothing else abnormal, which is great.
He also told me that the biopsy results from Monday’s samples of the gastritis came back as “chronic gastritis with some erosion”. Gastritis can apparently turn into an ulcer, and “some erosion” means it is/was on its way there.
From here, the doctor is switching me to Nexium, which is apparently stronger than the Prilosec I am on now. He says it can take up to a week or so to begin working. Obviously, I am praying for sooner!

I understand that Nexium is the next step in the process and that it is supposed to remove the acid enough to allow the gastritis and my stomach to heal. Apparently the Prilosec is not doing it.

In the mean time, I wait out the constant nausea and pain from the gastritis, continually praying for relief that will allow me to function at a normal level, or even just to eat. I have been on clear liquid diet for 12 days now and have lost 18 pounds in the last almost 3 weeks. I am allowed to go slow toward a regular diet, but the problem is that 1) I have no appetite, and 2) whenever I even put liquids on my stomach, I’m down for the count. I do get windows of some relief once in a while, but I never know when they come.
The causes of gastritis can run the gamut, so there is still a road to walk to narrow down why this is happening and why it’s not getting better. The doctor also mentioned that he may do an ultrasound of the gall bladder even though the CT scan showed it normal.
I think that’s it for now. Thanks so much for listening, caring, praying …..

Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010

Just got back from the upper endoscopy. Doctor says it showed moderate gastritis and a small hiatal hernia. He took several biopsies to make sure it’s not being caused by some kind of bacteria that’s not supposed to be there.

He has decided to also do a colonoscopy, which is scheduled for this Thursday, January 28 at 1:00 pm.

For now, I get to eat a soft diet today and tomorrow and then back on clear liquid diet Wednesday and nothing on Thursday until after the procedure. He is doubling the dose of Prilosec I’ve been on from 20 mg to 40 mg. Hopefully, that will calm the gastritis enough to at least get back to some semblance of normal activity, though I’ve heard many very good-hearted warnings to be careful to take it slow.

Yesterday was a little better pain and discomfort-wise, but was also my lightest day in terms of movement and activity. I was good through this morning, though very weak and light-headed, but also couldn’t have anything to eat because of the procedure. Usually, as soon as I put anything in my stomach in the morning, the pain begins. As soon as we started driving to the appointment, the stomach started stirring again. I’m hopeful the added Prilosec will help that, though the 20 mg the last two weeks hasn’t provided any relief so far.

That’s all for now. Will keep you posted after I either hear more about the biopsies (don’t necessarily expect to until Thursday) or after the colonoscopy.

Thanks again everyone! I know some of you are dealing with issues larger than this, and please know that the one benefit this HAS provided me is an opportunity to sit and think and pray, even though the concentration sometimes doesn’t last long.

You are loved and appreciated!


Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well, the preliminary report of the CT scan shows that there is NOTHING abnormal, not even diverticulitis! I am praising God for that, but on the flip side wondering, then what in the world is going on?

My doc sent me to a gastroenterologist that had an opening this afternoon, and I just got back from that appointment. He is going to do an upper endoscopy (camera down throat into stomach) to check for any sign of ulcer or anything else there. He has also ordered stopping the antibiotics. (“If they’re not doing anything and the CT scan shows no diverticulitis, what good are they?”) So I suppose it was a good decision to not go in the hospital last night for IV antibiotics, which would be more powerful than the ones I have been on this week.

Th endoscopy is scheduled for Monday at 1:30 pm. They put you out for it and it only takes 5-10 minutes. He will know right away from the camera whether or not something is there.

If there is something there that is not an ulcer, he will take a piece to biopsy it. If the upper endoscopy comes out all clean, the next step is a colonoscopy.

Until Monday’s procedure, rest and clear liquid diet remains. I’ll keep you posted on Monday’s results (once I’m awake enough from the procedure).

Thanks again for praying!


Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wanted to give you a quick update after today’s doctor’s appointment. Haven’t felt any better since seeing him Monday, and the pain has actually been added a little to the right side as well.

He gave me two options: 1) Go into the hospital tonight for more powerful IV antibiotics and get a CT scan done, or 2) Have a CT scan done in the morning and continue with the current 3 antibiotics at home pending those results tomorrow afternoon.

I opted for staying home overnight with the CT scan scheduled for 11 am. He’ll call me with results tomorrow afternoon and I’ll see him for a follow-up on Friday at 11 am.

He said if he saw any closed diverticula (pockets) on the CT scan tomorrow, in the hospital I go. If the CT scan does NOT show any closed pockets, but on Friday I don’t feel significantly better, it’s into the hospital probably for the weekend.

Obviously, my hope and prayer is that the current antibiotics do their job over the next couple days! Still on clear liquid diet for now.

Thanks for your prayer support!


Sent: Monday, January 18, 2010

I saw my doctor today. He thinks I have something called diverticulitis. You can click the link to read more about it. Apparently, one or more of the pockets has become infected, and that’s what my body has been fighting for the last couple weeks now.

He has me on 3 antibiotics and I have a follow-up appointment on Wednesday at 3:00 pm. Until then, he wants me on a clear liquid diet and little movement. The more movement, the more irritated the infected part of the intestine becomes, which now makes sense as to why I feel OK when I get up in the morning, but quickly feel drained and stomach-sick.

This actually draws back to Christmas Day, the day we left for Texas. I woke up at 5 am with severe pain in my left side that lasted for about 20 minutes. It occurred 3 or 4 more times that day while we were on the road with less intensity each time. My doctor thinks that was my initial “diverticulitis attack”.

I’ll keep you posted.


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