Archive of ‘dr. marra’ category

Fresh Beginning

And with these words, I break my blogging hiatus.

There, that wasn’t so hard. But still, I can’t really explain why I haven’t been writing. I suppose, like I’ve always said, I handle most medical things really well, unless then involve my abdomen. And this has been the year when all everything has decided to sporadically go wrong in my tummy. It began with pancreatitis, and I’m really hoping it is ending with Bell’s Palsy of the Gut aka Frozen Gut Syndrome aka OUCH.

This was what I wanted to happen:
Well, it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve been out of hospital, and all the pain in my pancreas has vanished! It’s amazing what a little starvation will do (that’s how you treat pancreatitis). The people at the hospital were a little frustrating, because they kept hurting me more by trying to ‘help’ me, despite warnings of my high level of pain, latex allergy and chemical sensitivities. I guess I’m officially all better now…yay! I think I’m going to bake some gluten free brownies to celebrate. Ta ta for now!”

The pancreatitis problem was solved by 3 days of no food and water (seriously. nothing.). I’m going to be honest; pancreatitis was excruciating, a kind of physical pain that is difficult to block out, although I experience the same intensity of pain daily. Essentially, my pain load doubled over the course of a few days, which wasn’t fun. It hurts to bend, stretch, move, sit up, drink, hiccup, cough, sneeze (especially painful). Please take care of your pancreas, which is located right beneath your belly button. For the 2 days before we went to ER, it was incredibly painful and I basically stayed in bed all day, but figured it was ‘just a Lyme thing’, even though something in my gut (no pun intended) told me it was otherwise. My advice?: don’t wait if you think there is a slight chance that something could be seriously wrong. It could be a Lyme thing, and something seriously wrong. The ER doctors will probably goggle at your prescription meds and raise their eyebrows at your diagnosis, but medical intervention is worth it. Loosing your pancreas is not worth skipping the 8 hour ER wait (and on the bright side, they will get you in a bed right away if you have pancreatitis. fake yay!).

Then I had a few follow up appointments, and now have to be careful that I don’t get it again because it can be a chronic condition. I really want to keep all my squishy bits, thank you very much! I still have all my organs, fyi. I was seriously weakened by the intense physical pain/trauma of my inflamed pancreas, and the dehydration and lack of food while in the hospital. I felt lousy though, and I never felt 100% after the pancreatitis. I guess I thought something else was wrong, in the back of my mind, but what I voiced aloud was the idea that I was tired and recovering. I have not been on IV antibiotics since then, because there is a good chance the IV med I was on caused the pancreatitis, and I don’t want to go through that again!!!

It was several months later when I began to develop severe abdominal pain. Different place, though, more to the side, and higher up. So it was a trip to ER for me, and after hours of literally crying with the pain – I’m usually a pretty tough cookie when it comes to pain, even the pancreatitis, but this was intense. It felt like there was a rock stuck inside my body; scraping-poking-piercing intensely. After hours, I finally asked some other nurse if I could lie down in one of the many empty beds, because for some reason my nurse judged I didn’t need one of the beds that has been empty for the last 5 hours. Nothing visible in scans, but all in the same casual breath, the doctor informed me I might have passed a kidney stone, and that I had a impressively impacted colon. Those sort of adjectives coming out of a doctors mouth worry me. His advice was take laxatives, many kinds, for a month, and then have another x-ray. Whoopee.

It was a very bizarre month. Laxatives makes it feel like you are scraping nails down your intestine walls. I was not hungry at all. I felt full, in fact. So full that I was practically in tears at the thought of a bite of toast, a sip of water. And still, the painful urination was always there, but would intensify so sharply and suddenly, and then last for hours, lessening gradually. I’m not sure whether or not I was born with medical intuition, or if I have honed these skills during my illness, but my mum and I both get clear ideas of what is going on. I knew, without question, I was experiencing kidney stone ‘showers’, many tiny stones, that were being missed with all the dipstick tests. I knew they would be missed, each time I patiently gave a sample, because the pain was not at its peak. High pain = passing stones, wouldn’t you think?

Laxatives by the handful. And nothing worked. I wasn’t constipated though, that’s the weird part. My stomach was bloated and hard and painful, but I was still able to go to the bathroom, and the laxatives weren’t doing whatever they were supposed to be doing. Months went by, and I’d keep going back for x-rays, and yup, my colon was still impacted. It was around this time that my urinary pain began to fade away. I tried to explain to each doctor I met the unsettling sensation I had that my abdomen had ‘turned off’, that it wasn’t working, that food was just sitting in my stomach all day undigested. I am very in tune with my body, and can feel the gentle buzz of peristalsis (muscle contractions which move food) in my belly. It’s a sense of motion or activity, of gentle movement, and energy in my abdomen. All of that was absent, my tummy had frozen, and I couldn’t convey the importance of this to my physicians.

Eventually, we saw a doctor at the hospital, the guy in-between your GP and being admitted to hospital…a quick-solving-patch-em-together-and-get-them-out-the-door sort of clinic. He tried to patiently explain that somehow, my impacted colon and painful urination were one and the same problem. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure those are completely separate body systems, with their own tubes and pathways. And the pain of each was very different and distinguishable, as I kept reiterating. Kidney stones are a very specific pain, a pain which wraps around your body like a tight belt, a squeezing, a sharp ‘rock like’ grating and a pain in your kidneys and ureter (the tubing that runs from your kidneys to your bladder), a pressure. This was very different from the dull ache and pressing pain in my abdomen generally.

At this point, my colon was so impacted, that you could see bulges visibly under the skin of my abdomen. Pressing on my abdomen, even lightly, you could feel hard lumps. It was disgusting. And painful. Painful to move, breathe, twist, stand, walk, lie down. I didn’t want to eat, I wasn’t hungry, and still I was being pumped full of laxatives. Nothing was helping. My colon was impacted for months, and by the end of my laxative regime, it was still only half solved. I was fed up with laxatives though, because they were just not working.

So about is about 6 months after my pancreatitis, and on-going colon problems, I began to experience more intense upper abdominal pain, an area previously void of pain. Several months later we figured out I probably have an ulcer. The medication for ulcers helped within a day, and now it hardly bothers me.

I feel like I could write a “12 Months of Abdominal Pictures” song.
In the first month of pancreatitis, my doctors ordered me: 1 ultrasound and a CT of my tummy;
In the second month of colon troubles, my doctors ordered me: 2 X-rays, and we waited for another ultrasound;
In the third month of colon and kidney pain, my doctor ordered me: 2 types of laxatives, 2 more X-rays, and we were still waiting for another ultrasound….
In the sixth month of colon and kidney pain, we finally got in to see, my geneticist, who order an MRI.
In the 9th month of colon and kidney pain, we finally had, my Abdominal MRI, … 3 types of laxatives, 2 X-rays, and an ultrasound for me.

Okay okay, you get the idea. I was zapped a lot, and developed favorite X-Ray clinics. Blah blah blah.

A few weeks ago, we finally got to see Dr. Marra in Seattle, my Naturopathic Lyme Doctors who’s saved my butt more times than I could count. Bell’s Palsy of the Abdomen is very common with Bartonella, and involves just what I described: part of all of the digestive system freezing, stopping moving, stopping digesting. It apparently has to do with a nerve running to your tummy. If you want to read more about it, read Dr. Virginia Sherr’s article about it. I started taking magnesium oxide, which in just a few weeks has helped immensely. No more sort-of constipation, less abdominal pain. My abdomen isn’t puffy! A holiday miracle :D. Yummy pies and cakes here I come. I want to talk more about all the awesome things I’ve been doing, but that should be a separate positive post.

Happy New Year to you of health, peace and joy!

Intent of Meetings

The last few days have been utterly exhausting. I hadn’t the heart to write all this, I couldn’t muster up the strength. Don’t get the wrong impression and think that these days were bad, far from it. Highly enjoyable, yet totally exhausting and consuming, as most important and fun things are!!

A crew from CTV’s W5 (for the Americans in the crowd, it is sort of like ’20-20′ or ‘Dateline’ I think…) came to our house to discuss my fave topic ever: Lyme Disease. I was obviously shocked and flattered that they actually wanted to talk to me. It was strange having all these…strangers in the house…filming, and talking to me like we know each other!? They were so nice, Jerry, Paula, Richard, Brian, and really good about the ‘no-touch’ rule, and the ‘I-don’t-remember’ issues. We just talked for a while and laughed and did normal stuff. I was feeling incredibly shitty that day, its hard to hide sometimes.

My bones are on…fire. They are hot inside, but the sort of hot that feels so hot you can’t tell whether or not it is fire or ice; do you know that feeling? Its like that. It feels like some little people are drum drumm drumming their fingers along my bones, my pulse magnified in my ears to a dull bass drum boom. I can crick and crack all the joints. Pain. I forget what it was like before the pain. Maybe there wasn’t a time before. I worry that there wasn’t.

I hope when people see the show, they will understand better what its like, and want the changes to be made. I hope this turns up the heat on the politicians, and makes them act, like SUPER quickly! Its a wild sort of dream, which you could compare to flying through the sky or being deep underwater as a fish in another wild sort of dream.

They went with us over to Seattle, on the Clipper (oh how much fun is that boat ride hunh?). It always feels like a long ride there, across the Strait, with the fast bumpbumpbummpp of the waves occasionally. People smile at sick kids when there is a camera in her face: its funny, more staring but more smiles. Such a price, hunh? I was pretty tired – to put it lightly – when we got to Seattle. Food, movies, shower, bed.

The next day we got up really early (YUCK!!) and went to Dr. Marra’s office, just outside of Seattle. The crew was waiting, and so were the doctors. Dr. Harris was also there, from California! We waited a REALLY long time there. In total, we were at the office from 11-5, which is longer than I usually do ANYTHING (ha including sleep). We met a ton of other incredible patients of the doctors, and exchanged stories and shared sympathy. Its good to meet other sick people, although I of course wish that they weren’t sick at all. The best part is knowing people who have gotten better and are getting on with their lives. Jealous.

The high points of the day were talking to people, and eating Thai dinner, and seeing the doctors. They make me feel sure I will get better, and am getting better. They are both so gentle, which makes a marked change from some of the other Canadian doctors I saw. They changed some of my drugs around, and of course my supplements. Switching is hard for a few days , till your body adjusts.

I’m so tired and fidgety today. Can’t sit still. Can’t focus. Sorry is this all gibberish?

I’m glad we’re home. And so incredibly happy that CTV is bringing up the issue of Lyme disease!! Thank you guys so much! You were so wonderful to hang out with! I hope that finally people will listen up and listen well. I hope there is change.

Seattle: Take 2

We were in Seattle for a few days, seeing (another) one of my Lyme doctors, which is always a treat *rolls eyes*. Dr. Marra is so wonderful, she has helped me so much over the past year, above and beyond her ‘call of duty’, and then some. Its nice to know that there is still enough compassion in the world to make it go round.

We took the Victoria Clipper across, which is a pretty trip! They were so helpful too! Wow, totally impressed! I was so tired though, travelling is difficult. I guess its having to see all that stuff, get up and down, go over bumps, the waiting, and dealing with all the stares as I pass people. It makes me kind of hurt, and embarrassed sometimes, but I suppose they are just curious, just as I would be if I saw a healthy looking young girl passing by me in a wheelchair. I smile at them, to let them know in that gesture that, yes, I see them looking, and its okay because I’m used to it, so instead of glaring at you (as I would sometimes LOVE to do), I smile in an act of diplomacy and honesty. I smile to make me feel more normal.

I was freaked out to go to Seattle, because last time I went to Seattle to see a Lyme doctor for a few days, I ended up being more than a year away from home, and sick as hell for all that time. A part of me wondered if it wouldn’t be like that again. *Spoiler Alert* I made it back in one piece, and on the right day.

It went well. We switched up some drugs, we did a little of the ‘so-how-are-you-feeling-now’ stuff (eww) and so on. I’m doing a little better than a year ago, but only a tiny little bit. Let me say that I don’t notice these ‘improvements’. I guess I’ll have to wait a little longer for that!

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