Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Return of the Ab Four

Wednesday was another day full of doctor stuff! I got thoroughly ultrasounded for literally an hour and a half. It actually ended up being rather uncomfortable, which I had not at all anticipated. I didn't realize how sore my ribs are from arthritis, so having a probe being pushed over and over them for a long time was not so fun. Also, I'm pretty tender in my lower abdomen, so I felt pretty beat up by the time they were through with me.

The ultrasound tech was really sweet, though, and like everyone these days, seemed rather shocked at all that I've been through. I got a chance to talk to her about what God has done in my life through this, which was neat. She didn't like what she saw, so she called in a doctor, and the doctor looked, too.

Next I went over to ID doctor. If you will recall, I was less than thrilled with the care I've received from him. I was pleasantly surprised today. He spent a lot of time with me, listened to what I had to say, and answered all my questions. He also spoke on the phone with the ultrasound tech about my pictures. I am very thankful for all of this!

Just like Monday's appointment, this was more news I didn't want to hear. First, the ultrasound confirmed that I do indeed still have a bit of colon or J pouch left. Again, this is highly concerning to me for a number of reasons. As far as the rest of the ultrasound is concerned... they are really not sure exactly what's going on. But it seems I still have the Ab Four (my abscesses). I have several areas of fluid collection in my abdomen and pelvis. The most significant ones are in the spot where I'm having pain. Based on my symptoms and the ultrasound, they believe, but aren't entirely sure, that there are also some fistulas (abnormal connections) between my intestines, whatever is left of my colon, and my uterus. If this is truly the case, these tend to be quite complicated and would require surgical repair.

The main concern and danger to my health is that it seems that the abscesses/fluid collections are being caused by a fistula between my intestines and abdominal cavity... basically a teeny, tiny leak. It's got to be a tiny leak, or else I would be WAAAY sicker than I am. But it's enough of a leak to cause the fluid to collect, keep my white blood cell count elevated, give me low grade fevers, etc.

So... for now, the plan is to go on a powerful antibiotic cocktail and reevaluate the fluid collections with another ultrasound in two weeks. It would be wonderful if the fluid would decrease or go away. If not, we will do more testing with all kinds of dyes and stuff and MRIs to try to determine where the abnormal openings and connections are. Then they can determine how to best go about fixing this. The ID Doctor thinks that this will take quite a while to figure out, and that I'll probably be stuck on antibiotics for some time. Also, as long as this persists, I shouldn't drop down on steroids or do any immunosuppressive treatments for my arthritis.

Please pray for protection for my body as I am going on antibiotics that are very rough on my system... after just one dose, my tummy began feeling upset. I'd really appreciate prayer that this whole situation would somehow resolve and it wouldn't even be necessary to do all the testing, treatment, and surgery. I truly never, ever want surgery again. On the other hand, it would be so great to get this resolved. Please also pray for my family and I to have a proper attitude and perspective as we try to process all the new information we've learned this week. We continue to try to make the wisest decisions possible about my care, and we really need God's wisdom to know the best things to do.

God is good, and I see His goodness in so many ways, even though Wednesday was a rough day. ID doctor's good care, the kind ultrasound tech, a family who loves me and cares for me, good friends who check up on me and listen to me... I could go on and on. But mostly, I am thankful for the hope I have that will never disappoint, as Romans 5:5 says. Hope for health, hope for good doctors, hope for getting better... all those hopes can and will disappoint me, because they will fail. But my hope in Jesus Christ, the hope I have that I have a restored relationship with God, that I have the Holy Spirit, that I experience the love of God, that Christ's death made all of this possible... that's a hope that will never let me down. It's a hope that I cling to in the midst of difficulties. It's a hope that allows me to rejoice even in my sufferings. And what a blessing that is.

Hannah ;)

1 comment:

  1. Hannah,

    Today Justin taught on Elijah. His message comes to mind as I read your latest post. God fed Elijah with ravens by a brook in the middle of a famine. He then caused the flour and oil of a poor widow to never run out so that he would be provided for. All this because he was living in obedience to God's will for him. I have prayed that you would be protected from discouragement and that you would be made able to follow this path given to you for His glory. You are a true warrior for Him and a hero to many.
    Mrs. Mason