In Sickness and in Health

A couple of weeks ago today, Tom and I were getting ready to pick up our puppies from the kennel and head home to Alpharetta from the Thanksgiving holiday when I started to feel pretty awful. We still had to get the dogs and go home though, so off we went. The whole way home I was either nauseated and cramped up or sleeping (which was preferable).  When we got here, we needed to bathe the dogs, but I couldn’t help Tom with that because I was feeling so bad. Soon after that, I began vomiting and having an upset stomach. Tom called my dad to see if anyone else in the family was experiencing this, but no one was. He recommended I take some Benadryl, so Tom ran out to buy some and some gatorade for me. While he was gone the vomiting grew worse, and I won’t go into detail, but it was really bad. I couldn’t keep down the benadryl, and when Tom saw how sick I was getting, he called dad again. Nothing that we tried would stay down-soft drinks, gatorade, water-nothing.

At this point I was starting to freak out a little. I hadn’t come into contact with anyone sick over the break, I had eaten the same foods as everyone else, and so much had come out of me that my coloring had changed to a yellow with dark eyes. I didn’t know why I was sick, and I couldn’t stop being sick. Then we noticed blood, and that was really scaring me. This continued until 3 AM.

On Monday, Dad said I needed to go see a GI specialist, and I thankfully had been told of Dr. Steinberg, a GI doctor out here, by a girlfriend of mine from our smallgroup. Dad set it up for me to go in the next day-I think he made an exception to get me in early because my dad is a doctor and was worried about me.  So on Monday, I didn’t eat anything, and I had ice to get my fever down and to help rehydrate me. I was able to keep that down. Tom had to help me get off the couch, walk back and forth to the bathroom, and blow dry my hair for me. I had NO energy, and I didn’t eat anything, so that didn’t help.

On Tuesday, I went to see Dr. Steinberg. He prescribed some anti-nausea medication and scheduled me to be at the Northside Outpatient Center at 6:45 Saturday morning, the first available time, to have an endoscopy and patial colonoscopy. Basically, the main fear was that I would have Colitis, an intestinal disorder that would be regulated with diet and medicine for the rest of my life. The reason for this concern was that there was blood coming out of me where it shouldn’t, and they didn’t know why.

Tom had been my nurse and chauffeur for two and a half days and working full time from home. But he needed to get back into the office, so mom came up on Wednesday to help me and stayed until Thursday afternoon. By then I was doing a little better. I could eat rice, saltines, and other bland foods. I had more energy, and it was weird to be excited when I had the stamina to blowdry my own hair or take a shower without panting, but we were excited. I was ready to know what was wrong with me, and I was worried it would be colitis.

They did the endoscopy and partial colonoscopy on Saturday morning, and afterwards told us that I had ulcers in my esophagus, which they biopsied to see if it was something called Barrett’s Esophagus. This is a precancerous ulcer, so that would not be the best news. It’s pretty uncommon in general, more common in men than women, and usually shows up in people around their 50’s. They also found that I have a hiatal hernia from acid reflux and prescribed Nexium. Finally, they found both a polyp and a small hemorrhoid in my colon. They said the bleeding was caused by the hemorrhoid, which is really great news because the rest of my colon looked normal, meaning I do NOT have Colitis. They polyp was removed because later in life a benign growth left to continue growing could become cancerous.

My doctor called me on Monday night and told me that they got the results back for my biopsy, and I do NOT have Barrett’s Esophagus. That was really a relief, and I was so happy to hear it. Dad must have been relieved too, because he called me to tell me not long after the GI doctor did. (As my primary care physician, Dad got all my medical reports also.) Anyway, even though it was unlikely, the possibility of having some precancerous growth in my throat was a bit unnerving. I have pictures that he took with the scope that Tom and I keep looking at and not throwing away, haha. It’s kind of gross, but I am not an easily grossed out person, at least not with bodily stuff.

Anyway, I’m getting back to normal. The doctor said I can’t eat some certain foods until he sees me in his office again, and I’m tired out pretty easily, but other than that, I am getting back to myself. He said it looks like this was all a result of an acute infection of my system, though we don’t know how I got infected. Tom had to take care of everything from laundry to picking out our Christmas tree without me, and I’m so grateful for all of his help. And I’m ready to get into all the Pre-Christmas activities that I’ve been missing out on. I’m so happy not to be throwing up, on anti-nausea pills, or needing assitance to sit up or get off the couch anymore. =) Tom definately held up the “in sickness and in health” part of the vows that week, and he was so patient and sweet to take care of me so selflessly while juggling all the housework, the dogs, and a full workload. God blessed me with my wonderful husband, and He blessed me with good news from the doctor.

I should be going back in to see Dr. Steinberg for a follow-up appointment soon, so I need to schedule that, but thankfully the worst is behind us! =) Many of our friends and family members that Tom contacted were praying for me during this ordeal, and I appreciate it so much. God was so good to me.



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