Ankylosing spondylitis

Hell in a Handbasket…




Not merely “going to hell”, but going to hell easily and rapidly.

January came and my life got worse… Welcome to 2007! I had become so addicted to the hydrocodone to keep the pain at bay; I had no feelings, thoughts, or ideas and was getting oblivious to my surroundings. In January I ended up the ER again. Mind you I don’t recall much of this event as it eludes me even to this day. But according to my co-worker I asked her to take me, and we sat there waiting a long time. She told me I got mad and left the ER and went home, all of which I do not recall. That evening I guess I came to my senses, and with her being angry at me for leaving, consented to going back to the ER. The doctors checked blood work but could not find anything to back up the symptoms of cramping, abdominal pain etc. The doc just gave me some more prescriptions and told me to check with my family physician. By then I should have realized that the ER docs were not my saviors and they could tell me no more than I already knew.

Before January closed for the year I had made another trip to the ER; actually there was only 2 weeks in between the first and second visits; this time the docs did a CT scan and concluded all was well, but I did have a fibrous cyst on a fallopian tube. “This might be your culprit” he said “but you need to have it checked out further” and “go see your family physician and get in to see gynecologist.” Off to the doc I go still in pain.

My doctor made another referral for me to see a new gynecologist in town after she realized that the fibroid tumor the ER doc was referring to had got suddenly much larger since my CT scan in August. She was beginning to believe this might after all be my problem child. In the meantime she was scheduling me to see a GI doc as well, for a colonoscopy and endoscopic assessment. So during the second week of January I met with a wonderful gynecologist who did think that this “growth” could be the cause of all my problems. Oh yea I’m healed, “Can you take it out and make me all better?” “By the way did I tell you my periods never stop? “ Not that easy, although one would think it would be easy enough to open you up and take something out, sew you back up and send you on your way, but this doc wanted to do the wait and see approach and give me time to think about this because he would have to “remove” everything. So I took the good doctors’ advice and went home to contemplate my choices. By the end of the week the pain was so bad I wanted to die!

My appointment with the GI doc was during the third week of January and they scheduled me for first a colonoscopy and then and endoscopic procedures. The colonoscopy was truly horrid and the preparation for that was enough for a person to put themselves out of their own misery. But I survived with good results. Doc said “it looks very good” “no problems here, nice and pink just like it should look.” What a relief at least I didn’t have colon cancer, polyps or other crap that would kill me. Next was the endoscope. That procedure went much smoother and was less stressful, and again the results were negative. I had a small hernia but other than that all structures were “normal.” So now what? I went on trying to live my life, do my job and enjoy being with my “Man”.  But the beast was still there, crouching in the corner watching my every move.

I went through the month of February having good days and not so good days. According to the doctors there was nothing wrong with me other than a small “grapefruit” on my fallopian tube. Besides the fluctuating pain, my menstrual cycle was getting worse. I was going through boxes of sanitary pads and tampons every week. I began to wonder if it is in fact that “mass” that is causing all the problems. My menstrual cycle was very erratic; maybe taking everything out would be a “good thing” as Martha Stewart says.

In March I could go no more. My menstrual cycle was out of control, the abdominal pains were too much to handle and my land lady was so irritating that I began to think that living in her apartment was what was making me sick… I was being poisoned. I had lost my ability to be rational. Actually she wasn’t poisoning me but she was driving me crazy: side note, never live next door to your landlord and never tell them you are handy with construction materials i.e., hammer, caulking gun, painting etc.  It was during this time when I realized I have no control of my life anymore. I finally called up my gynecologist and told him “take it out, take it all out.”

The second week of March I moved up to CO (right across the “border”) and in with the “Man”. My surgery was scheduled for the first week of April and would be expected to take 6 weeks off. I commuted back and forth and lived with the pain just knowing that in a few weeks the pain would all be gone, I just knew it would.

On the 2nd of April I went in for surgery. I stayed in the hospital for 3 days and all went well, the next 6 weeks I would recuperate in my new home. The doc came in after surgery and said “we got it all” that should take care of the pain. I tried to recuperate by lying around all day but that got boring real quick. Around the fourth week of recuperation I was getting antsy. I wanted to go back to work; I hadn’t had any pain since my surgery and I fully believed I was cured. I talked my doc into releasing me early which was a big mistake. Not that the pain returned but one should not go back to work too soon after a major surgery. My first week back I was so exhausted that I couldn’t sleep. Now my wake and sleep cycles were off and I felt like I had been on a 10 day drunk fest. But there was no pain… finally life was going to be mine again!

I began taking sleeping pills to help me sleep and I was doing really well. I had no pain, was sleeping well, nothing was bothering me. At the end of August the “Man” and I took a trip out to the Oregon coast to see his dad and the trip was fantastic. I was beginning to live my life again. My co-worker and I had gone on some camping trips and visits out to the lake; the “Man” and I went camping and did a lot of hiking. Life was good, just as imagined it would be. Job was great and I loved what I was doing. My family was healthy and happy, what more could one ask for? In October my world collapsed…. again!

Next week… Is it Celiac’s?

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