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Saturday, October 30, 2010

STILL Good Days! ;)

Well, it's the end of another good week! ;) I'm so happy! I am still feeling tired, but it's just "normal" tiredness, not unable-to-get-out-of bed, bone deep fatigue. I am going to work and just being a normal person and stuff... it's so wonderful. I don't know how people take this stuff for granted. I've gotten out of bed every single morning this week, no problem. IT'S SO AMAZING! God is so very good. Not just in the "good" times. All the time. But He's so very kind to bless me with these good times!

I still have really bad nausea from time to time, but it's not constant and my meds are actually helping. I still have pain from the abscesses, but it is definitely better than it was. My joints are stiff and hurt, but it's not terrible! It's all pretty manageable!

I had a grand total of ZERO doctor's appointments this week, which was FANTASTIC. Although I got a break from the doctor this week, I did have to go get labs. My white count is still remarkably elevated, but it is improved from when I was discharged last Monday. They will probably recheck it in a week to make sure it's headed in the right direction (that would be down). Of course, to make up for this week, I have 3 doctors to visit this coming week, but the "time off" was nice. ;)

Please be in prayer for wisdom... my family and I have some questions that need to be answered regarding who is in charge of my care... I have a couple 5 or so specialists, all of whom are very good, but very specialized and only treat a narrow window of problems. My unique issues sometimes fall outside of their areas or encompass multiple areas, so it's really tough to get a doctor who will give me a straight answer or actually treats my problems. What often happens is that Endocrinology sends me to GI for this problem, which GI thinks is an endocrine problem, and therefore won't treat. Since endocrinology sent me to GI, endocrinology won't treat it either. Basically, I get "ping-ponged" back and forth without ever getting any help, because no specialty will claim me. The seemingly obvious solution, getting an internist, a sort of general doctor, has been less than helpful. My problems are beyond their scope, so they don't treat me either - they just bounce me back to the specialists. This is a huge headache and even gets dangerous for me, since no one is actually addressing major issues. So this week we are hoping to sort of define who is in charge/will take responsibility for me. I mean, hopefully, this will become a moot point, as ideally I'll continue to get better each day, but to be wise, we need to figure out a better plan than the current bouncing around.

Hannah ;)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yes, Better Days.

No question mark this time... I am feeling the best I've felt since January.

I still don't feel "good," but I don't want to die, either, so I'll take it!! My nausea and stomach pain are definitely better. Instead of constant nausea, I'm eating MUCH better and only need my nausea meds after I eat. My joints and muscles are unhappy, but it's manageable! I'm very tired but my body isn't shutting down or anything. NO adrenal issues lately. None. I like this. I am functioning. It's amazing!! I am so thankful.

Not being one to let better days go to waste, I worked something like 35 hours last week between Tuesday and Friday (okay, I did NOT do this on purpose. It was NOT my choice. And I was exhausted to the point of tears every day). But, here's some other proof that I am feeling better:
  • Squirt made his diving debut this weekend as I threw on a swim suit and launched myself off the diving board a time or 5 at the alumni meet. Side note: fellow ostomates of the world: you can dive, even off a 5 m platform, with your bag on. And it will not come off. Although my teammate kindly offered to take the blame and say he'd had an accident in the pool if something happened. ;P Also, if you're skinny, and wear a patterned swim suit, your stoma and bag are virtually invisible. Even the few teammates who know Squirt's there came up to ask me if I still had the bag, 'cause they couldn't see it! I can't jump at all (heck, I can barely climb up the ladder), but I did some line ups (basically falling off the board and landing head-first) and Loud and I did our world-famous falling back flips off 5 m. I loved hanging out with the divers and remembering what good times we had. Diving was such a huge part of our lives. Ostomy supplies: $110.00/month. Swim suit: $35.00. The feeling of ripping an entry (hitting the water just right so that you make no splash and make a "POP" noise when you enter): priceless.
  • I made it to church yesterday. It's been a while! The kids look so tall! There are new buildings and rooms! ;)
  • I made up one of my physics tests today. One down, two more to go... then I will have the most expensive piece of paper ever.* I am thankful to be able to do all this stuff, although I may totally crash here in about three seconds. This last week has been more action-packed than the whole summer put together. I am absolutely thankful for every single moment I have of feeling decent, and I don't want to waste a second of it!
In short... I cannot believe that this is happening. Last week, for the first time, the thought entered my mind that maybe, just maybe, this last surgery WAS actually a good idea. That maybe I will get BETTER! I still don't feel good or normal, whatever that means. I know my body will never be the way it used to be. If nothing else, I'm down 7.5 feet of tube. I'm told I will continue to have chronic pain and nausea and fatigue. BUT... right now, everything is at a level where I can function! Yaaaaay! Yeah, I have to take at least 11 different meds more than 6 times a day to keep it that way, but heh, whatevs.

Hannah ;)

*upon further reflection, my discharge papers from the 4-week long surgery/hospitalization are gonna be much more expensive than my college diploma.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Better Days?

Happy news: my abdominal pain is, like, waaaaay improved. Pretty sure the majority of it is related to the abscesses, so it's getting better as the infection dies! I still have some amount of discomfort, but it's so much less and I think it's primarily from the antibiotics. My nausea is also improving. I'm still taking my anti-nausea stuff all the time, but it's actually working and I am starting to be able to eat a little more!

Okay, about the eating thing... I think I have a weird mental block about eating. Eating isn't really pleasurable for me anymore. I just associate it with nausea and pain, and I don't ever really feel hungry. So even when I'm feeling good (not super nauseated, not so much pain), it's still hard for me to eat. I have to distract myself and not think about what I'm doing while I'm eating. And if someone comments about the fact that I'm eating or asks me how the food is "going down," I start overthinking it, get totally psyched out, can't eat, and start feeling sick. I know. I'm a nut job. But I'm working on it, and I think it's improving. I just have this weird love/hate relationship with food. I love to think about food and I remember how fun cooking and eating can be. It's such a social event, and so when you don't want to eat, it's very isolating. Long story short, eating is not fun right now. But hopefully I'll get back there one of these days! I do get very proud of myself when I can/do eat, and this whole UC experience has given me a much greater empathy and understanding for people with eating disorders!

I'm really, truly doing better overall! I am just so so worn out from the last two days at work, but I'm making it and functioning! My joints are flaring up. They aren't horribly painful, just really weak, so they randomly give out, which is amusing (or not). Despite being so tired, I am having trouble sleeping because I'm hurting, which is a real bummer. But during the day, my pain is so much better overall, even though I'm cutting back on my pain meds (sorry, GI doctors, maybe I'm destroying my gastroparetic stomach, but I haven't stopped them yet. It's this weird thing I have where I'd rather not be incapacitated by horrible pain). The improved pain is truly wonderful, and I am so thankful! Hopefully this is an upward trend that will continue!

Hannah ;)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Home Again... Think it Will "Stick" This Time?

So... I'm HOME! Just got here. ;)

My white count jumped back up this morning, so there was some talk of keeping me there or sending me home with my PICC line in and on IV antibiotics, but Infectious Disease came up with a high-powered antibiotic cocktail for me to take. Of course, those designer antibiotics are approximately equivalent in cost to putting a down payment on a house, but what am I going to do? Not take them and let the infection kill me? ;)

I'm struggling right now with my "reality." I started this new job about two weeks ago... but if you'll recall, I've spent a fair amount of those two weeks in the hospital. They are willing to work with me, but are not so impressed with me so far. I'm not so impressed with me so far. I just don't know what to tell them. They have shifts to cover, they have a business to run. I can't say with any certainty that this will be the last time I'll be in the hospital or have "sick days." And that isn't fair to them, but I can't do anything about it. I know that me being unreliable makes them unreliable, and they can't run a business that way. So I don't know what to do or what to say. But I'm sad. I hate that I put everyone around me out with my disease: people at school, family, friends, people at work. I'm frustrated with letting people down... with my body letting me down.

Honestly, though, I am not in control of any of this. God is. And His plans will succeed.. whether I am able to keep this job or not, I know His plans will be accomplished. It's truly outside of my control, and I just need to trust Him! Last night, I was reading one of my favorite passages, Matthew 5 and 6. Such a great reminder that God honors meekness, humility, brokenness... things we tend to dislike and truly try to avoid. God calls us to not worry about tomorrow. He takes care of even the birds and the flowers... how much more will He care for us?

Hannah ;)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Barrel of Monkeys

I'm still in the hospital... but hoping to go home Sunday or Monday. My room, therefore, won't be as festooned as it was, but I did put up a few comics (thanks, Araenae!). I also received a barrel of monkeys from the Trevetts, which are now hanging on my blinds, much to everyone's amusement.

Thank you so much for all your prayers about the doctors... there has been considerable doctor drama. Please keep them up... I continue to hope for the day that I won't have to deal with doctors and the politics of hospitals.

GI Dr came and saw me on Thursday. He is truly wonderful and I'm very thankful for him and all his compatriots, who are fantastic. His take was that maybe I have a surgical problem, maybe I don't, but at any rate, clearly something is very wrong, and he wants to find out what it was and how to make me feel better. I can work with that! ;)

Most of the testing is for the nausea and inability to eat issue. Certainly my pain can cause nausea, as well as whatever's going on with the abscesses. They are also running tests to check for different infections right now. But basically they think that my problem is gastroparesis. They diagnosed me with that this summer when I had a test to see if I had an obstruction. Essentially, they think my stomach does not churn or empty properly - it's very slow. This can be caused by an infection, medication, or autoimmune issues. So there's lots of reasons why I might have it.

So, to treat it, they want me to stop all narcotic pain medicines...which I would love to be able to do, and I will try, but I take them because I'm IN PAIN! My pain has gone out of control several times this spring and summer and landed me in the hospital. It really does a number on my body and I feel like I've just gotten to a point where I am sleeping and functioning well with the pain. I don't wanna mess up my body now. But, we will have to find other things I can do to help with pain. I am not supposed to take NSAIDs (anti inflammatories like Advil) because of my UC history. So I'm not sure exactly how this will play out. Also, they want me to start a medicine that helps with stomach motility. I already took it for a while this summer, and it didn't do anything at all. I will try it again, but I have no confidence that it will actually help. I realize I sound super negative about all this, and I'm trying to have a good attitude. I want to give the treatments a fair shot, but I'm really worried about putting myself in a lot of pain... and that it won't actually help my nausea. And honestly, if I had to choose (which I may have to!), I'd rather never be able to eat than be in that much pain again.

The surgery people think the abscesses are causing the high white count and making me feel bad. I've been on IV antibiotics, which are starting to knock the WBCs down and making me feel less "run over." All the doctors (except for Dr. A) think that the abscesses are causing my abdominal pain, since it's the worst in the exact spot where the abscesses are. I continue to have some frustrations with Dr. A not taking me seriously and acting like I'm blowing stuff out of proportion... but I keep reminding myself that it's my body and I know when things aren't right. I also remind myself that he dismissed my pouchitis symptoms for three months before finally agreeing to scope me and then was shocked to see that I had terrible pouchitis.

I'm still bleeding, but it's been a little bit less. The scans show that my body has formed a fistula between one of the abscesses and my bottom, so it's not healing. Dr. A said that I could expect that to continue for 2-3 more MONTHS. He told me to stop freaking out if I'm bleeding a little bit. I told him I'm not freaking out; I've been bleeding internally since 2006! I'm just downright irritated that he's operated on me twice and still can't fix the bleeding problem. I know it's a completely different cause now, but it still feels annoying and uncomfortable and shouldn't be happening. He wants to give my body a chance to heal itself and not do more invasive stuff unless it's absolutely necessary. I absolutely agree about not doing invasive stuff unless needed, but I am NOT excited about putting up with this til Christmas at least.

I know I sound grouchy in this post... it's because I am. I feel like a jerk because I question the doctors and have stopped being okay with the mistakes that have been made. I know I didn't do anything sinful or wrong and it's all done without meanness, but I still feel bad. I'm trying to decide what the right attitude in all this should be. I know that in my heart, I am very angry and bitter about some of the stuff that's happened. I'm trying to forgive them from my heart. However, they need to be held accountable for their errors... Please pray that I will love them like Christ loves me and find the balance to unapologetically ask for the care I need. Life right now is like wrestling a barrel of monkeys, but hopefully things will get better... I feel like we're on the right track.

Hannah ;)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why I Love Squirt... On His First Birthday

WARNING: A POOP POST.
YOU MAY WISH TO JUST COME BACK TOMORROW FOR A MORE APPROPRIATE POST.


One year ago today, I had my colon removed due to a severe flare of Ulcerative Colitis that was not responding to outrageously high doses of Remicade or steroids. They removed my colon and appendix and created a J pouch out of the end of my small intestine. The J pouch was an internal pouch sewed down into my pelvis and attached to my anus where my colon used to be. The J pouch was supposed to serve as my "new colon" one day. To divert the flow of my poop while the J pouch healed, I was given an ileostomy. An ileostomy is when they pull the end of your intestine through your stomach wall. My poop flows more or less continuously into a bag I wear over the ileostomy, who I christened Squirt (for obvious reasons). Of course, you all know the end of this story... the J pouch unfortunately got very sick, and was removed on August 23, and Squirt was with me to stay...

I wrote this list back in January... and on this day, Squirt's first birthday (the anniversary of my first surgery. We won't even talk about my colon. Haven't missed THAT worthless organ for a single day!), I want to honor the little guy with a post all about him. Yes, he's weird. Yes, I'd prefer to not have him. Yes, he can be inconvenient, gross, and... noisy. But all in all, he can't help any of those things, and I regard him with mixed respect, disgust... and a weird sort of affection. So here's why I love Squirt:
  • I get packages in the mail! Yeah, sure, they are just bags and stuff I have to mail order for Squirt, but it's SO fun to get a box in the mail! I love it.
  • I get to choose when I go to the bathroom to "poop" (empty Squirt's bag). I used to almost have accidents multiple times a day since my colon was so inflamed and worthless. I had this weird radar thing where you could have blindfolded me, taken me to any public place, spun me around, let me go... and I would still have been able to find the bathroom within 15 seconds. This is a skill I've heard most people with UC develop. My radar is fading now, as the urgent need is simply not there anymore!
  • Also, pooping hurt. A lot. No longer! I don't feel a thing!
  • I don't have to reach behind me to wipe. It's all conveniently located in front. I can see what I'm doing when I empty the bag, unlike you "back poopers."
  • It wasn't me that passed gas. It all collects in Squirt's bag. ;) So no one can blame me.
  • If I wanted to, I could be a terrorist and blow up planes by breaking the whole "3 oz" liquid rule by filling my bag with explosives.
  • I have a built-in excuse out of every situation. "I need to go play with Squirt" - no one wants to ask more. ;) Haha.
  • No chance of: hemorrhoids, constipation (although, not that that was EVER an issue for a UC sufferer!), colon cancer, colonoscopies, or rectal exams...
Happy birthday, Squirt. If I'm the motorcycle, you're the side car. You're the slightly annoying constant companion I couldn't live without. Many happy returns.

Hannah ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home, Sweet Home (?)

So... after Sunday night, I spent all day inpatient Monday with doctors coming in and out telling me that they didn't know what to do about my abscesses and stuff, but my options did not look good. Dr. A would make the final call. Finally, that evening, Dr. A came in... and told me my CT looked fine. The abscesses were too small to do anything about, and he didn't plan to treat my high white count with antibiotics. He would keep me overnight and see how I was in the morning, then send me home. Since there didn't seem to be a point in staying, I asked if I could leave, and he agreed. So off I went!

Tuesday I went to work in the afternoon, and God orchestrated an appointment with my Rheumatologist. Her office called kinda out of the blue to move up my appointment (which was at the end of this month), since I wasn't doing great. I didn't want to have to ask off of work, so I declined. Then, I prayed about it and decided that seeing her was probably more important, so I called back and accepted the offer! The Lord truly worked through this appointment and she wins the Wonderful Doctor of the Year award!

She saw me today. First, I made her nurse cry (on the forms you have to fill out, you have to write about any hospitalizations since your last office visit. So... yeah. She's a wonderful, grandmotherly type of nurse, wanted to hear the whole story, and was so sad for me). Then the Rheumy came in and started looking at my CT and labs from this weekend. All I really wanted to know was if I could restart my superwoman shots, but she was highly concerned with the sky high WBCs and said NO WAY, and we need to figure out what infection is causing this. She stayed in the room with me for over an hour. She referred me to Infectious Disease. She spoke with GI Dr. Finally, she paged Dr. A and let him know her concerns. She also hugged me and told me things were gonna get better. She was very concerned about how I looked and that I'm having increased abdominal pain in the exact area where the abscesses are.

So... she sent me back to the hospital. I've also been bleeding more (which is probably the abscesses trying to drain). She said that the abscesses are not going to go away if I ignore them and that it's better to deal with them now, as opposed to waiting until I'm terribly ill.

So, get this: I'm back on 3 North with "my" nurses... in MY exact room!! So you know where to find me. If I have to be in the hospital (and believe me, tears were shed over this decision), there's no other place I'd rather be. The nurses have already brought me a six pack of Sprite and a few have come in just to give me hugs. ;) I'm getting spoiled.

Please, please pray that this hospitalization leads to some answers. Please pray that my parents and I would be wise and firm and kind without compromising on what's acceptable and what's not. This is an incredibly tough situation that has become quite political. Since I have such a complicated history and "different" anatomy, most doctors don't feel comfortable treating me, so they defer to Dr. A. Dr. A is a rather hands-off guy who doesn't really want to treat anything if there are no surgical problems. So... that's why I ended up getting sent home Monday night without any resolution of my problems. I do not want this to happen again. I know that something's not right with my body. I should not have constant nausea and worsening pain. We need to get this figured out. If Dr. A is unwilling/unable to treat the issues, then I need him to call in someone who can. I'm truly not trying to be bratty or seek attention... I just wanna feel better!

So... the Romans 5:1-11 challenge is still goin, since I have turned out to be the world's slowest memorizer! I still do not have verse 11 down, so I figure God still has a lot for me to learn from His words in this passage! Please continue to memorize, or if you're done (and huge congratulations to you!!), continue to practice saying these verses. Share them with someone at work. Say them to a friend or family member. God's word is so powerful! And what amazing truths about our great God - who has justified and given peace and hope to His enemies.

Hannah ;)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Life Was Just Getting Too Boring

Remember the end of yesterday's post, about how I had this high fever? About that... last night I felt pretty crummy, and today I woke up with a 102 fever and started bleeding a LOT from my backside. By late afternoon, I called the doctor, who told me to come to the hospital. Yeah... so here I am, back in the hospital. Dr. Sidekick very nicely came in on a Sunday night to see me. He was concerned that the fluid collection was back.

We did a scan to see what's up. I've had a million CT scans; over 7 in the last YEAR, so we've been trying to minimize them, but it is always for a much-needed reason, so we keep ending up doing more and more scans. Anyways, if I don't die of all my autoimmune stuff, I'll probably die of cancer from all the radiation I've had. Today while I was in the scanner, my stomach started hurting just terribly. Then my tongue started itching. Then the scan was over. They pulled me out of the scanner, and I started screaming because my stomach hurt so much. The CT guy called my nurse to see if I could get some medicine. Then my lips started swelling up, I broke out in hives, and started throwing up. So they gave me a bunch of benadryl... it was an exciting time. Thankfully, the benadryl worked quickly to get the reaction under control. A few rounds of pain meds, and my stomach pain settled down, too. I think the contrast or the reaction irritated my tummy. Add IV contrast to my list of allergies, please!! I was just trying to keep the CT people on their toes!

The CT showed several abscesses/areas of fluid collection. My white count is very high. The admitting doctor thought they might have to put in more drains, do surgery, or possibly do more antibiotics - although the antibiotics were not effective for my abscess. Hmm.. is there another option? None of those sound that fun to me! ;) In a way, though, I am thankful... maybe these abscesses are the reason for my nausea and stomach pain. Maybe they can be treated, and then I'll feel better!! I am not happy to be back in the hospital (especially since I'm not on my favorite floor this time), but I pray that God will use me as a light here! Please pray for patience and strength for my family - that they would entrust this situation to the Lord - and for wisdom for the doctors. And hopefully, for rest and less pain for me!

Hannah ;)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

BUH-Bye, Mr. Clean!!

Notice anything different about me?? That's right; Mr. Clean bit the dust yesterday! I am no longer trying to hide two feet of tubing and a bulb under all my clothes. Now I'm just hiding some wicked awesome scars and a bag of poop and a bandage where Mr. Clean used to be.

I almost didn't get Mr. Clean out. I drove an hour to the clinic, only to find out that Dr. A had been called into emergency surgery! Of course, I didn't want to bother him with a little thing like a drain removal while he's cutting on someone to save their life! So I said I'd wait. The nurse asked if I could come back on Tuesday morning to have it removed. I reassured her that that wouldn't be necessary; I could just pull the drain out myself. She started singing a different tune and agreed to page Dr. Sidekick (Dr. A's sub, who I saw in the hospital and who ran the CT that found the abscess to begin with. Elizabeth carbon dated him and found him to be about 13 years old. She's right, but he must be a little older, since he has a wedding ring and is a "real" doctor [this is as opposed to the "fake" doctors - the interns and residents who wouldn't know an ileoanal anastamosis if it hit them between the eyes]).

Dr. Sidekick, thankfully, was free and came up to the clinic for me! Mr. Clean came out (which felt... weird) and Dr. Sidekick told me to watch out for fevers and stomach pains that would indicate that more fluid is accumulating. This would be very bad. He also explained to me what's happening when I'm "pooping" blood (sorry, not sure how else to put it). They sewed me shut, but since I had that massive fluid collection and infection in my abdomen, nothing has closed up and healed properly yet. My slightly immunosuppressed state also is likely contributing to this. The abscess is basically also draining down through the not-healed area. So long story short... I can expect the bleeding to continue for several weeks. Awesome. But I was very thankful to finally get a satisfactory explanation for what is happening.

Here's the irony to me: why did I had this surgery? Hm... To make it so I wouldn't poop blood. Guess what? 6 weeks, one major surgery, an ICU stay, several blood transfusions, 3 weeks on TPN, 1 jumbo-sized abscess, and 1 drain placement later... I am still running to the bathroom to poop blood. I'm supposed to be all sewed up down there! This should be impossible! Only my body would find a way to do this... I personally think it's hysterical in theory, but it is admittedly slightly less than hysterical in practice.

Dr. A finished being a hero and came up to the clinic. He looked tired. Dr. Sidekick was writing me a note for school about my hospital stay (It's a long story, but I need the note for school even though I'm not in any classes right now). I had to give him the dates... it was a lengthy stay. I asked Dr. A about that. If you remember, he promised 5-10 days in the hospital. He told me that the blood loss thing definitely contributed... and then he dropped the winning phrase, "And, Hannah, I think we've established that your body does not respond normally to surgery." That's one way to put it, Dr. A! ;)

Dr. A is nice, but I don't think he quite gets it. When I saw him last week, he instructed me to get off steroids and pain meds, eat more, gain weight, and exercise more. Kind of like in James... ""Go in peace, be warmed and filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?" These are all things I want to do and am trying to do... but I CAN'T yet. And I don't think he knows how I can get there, either. His genius advice on eating: "Try to eat foods you like." How many years of med school do you think it took to learn THAT helpful pearl of wisdom? ;) Really, though, I do not blame him; I'm just beyond his specialty. He's a Colorectal surgeon (although I'm not sure if that's how he introduces himself at social events. Kinda a conversation killer, don'tcha think?), and I don't have a colon OR a rectum! So there's really nothing more he can do to me (ahem, sorry, "for me"). I have to see him one more time, in January, then I sincerely hope we shall part ways.

Of course... this morning I woke up with a high fever and stomach pain. Hoping and praying that this is just the flu or something, not the return of an abscess!

Hannah ;)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, Semi Colon!

One year ago today, I posted the first ever entry in this blog! Originally intended as a convenient method for me to communicate how surgery and recovery was going, Semi Colon has evolved into much more! I also had no idea I'd be keeping this blog going for so long. I assumed (we sort of all did) that I'd have surgery #1 in October, #2 over Christmas break, recover, and be all healthy again in a year!

Mainly, this blog is a sort of weird therapy or outlet for me. It's easier for me to write about my struggles than to talk about them. Writing allows me to process through everything and God typically uses that to tweak my attitude and perspective as is so often needed. ;)

A lot of unexpected things have happened in the last year, many of them very painful and not fun, but I say with complete honesty that God has used them all for good.

I'm so thankful for all you readers, for those who follow and pray and comment... You all encourage me so much, and I hope that somehow Semi Colon helps you in some way... even if it's as simple as, "Wow, glad I'm not Hannah!" Just kidding!!!! ;) Anyways, to all of you who read these long-winded ramblings... sometimes I wonder why you read the gross stuff I write about. You people need new hobbies! ;) But really, truly, I appreciate you all quite a bit, and I do apologize for the oversharing and venting here on Semi Colon.

One of my nurses was from the Philippines. As I told him my story, he commented that I would be dead if I lived there. Now I have a bit of a guilt complex about being alive, ;) but really, it's quite true. There is no way I would have survived everything if I weren't here in the US, and even here, I've had a brush or two with death. Additionally, I didn't have health insurance until college, and without the amazing insurance God provided through TCU, I would never have been able to see the specialists I needed or have some of the treatments and medicines that gave me a few good months. God has so clearly preserved me and saved me numerous times.

Sometimes I do honestly wonder why me... but not "why do I have to suffer?" I wonder, "why am I alive?" Why has He chosen to bring me through to the other side of such sickness and suffering? Why am I able to live when so many other people don't even have clean water or basic medical care? I am not sure why He's blessed me so much. But the most important way that He saved me wasn't physically saving me from death from UC or pancreatitis or surgery complications. You see, even though I'm alive and I know God has saved my life, I also know that I will one day, in fact, die. So the most important way God saved me was when He saved me from my own sin. I was enslaved to sin, a worse disease than UC. I was living for myself, I couldn't even live up to my own conscience's standards, much less God's standards. I didn't have the power to turn to God. But Christ died for me when I was still a sinner, and by faith in His death and resurrection, I have peace with God and I'm free from the terrible disease of sin. Now, instead of facing eternal separation from God after I die, I look forward to an eternity of worshipping Him. On that day, I will be entirely free from sickness, suffering, and sin. I will be free to worship God perfectly without any of the imperfections I have now.

Happy Birthday, Semi Colon...

Hannah ;)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Drumroll, Please....

I am doing BETTER! I'm trying really hard to actually eat food... and it's working... I still feel nauseated all the time, but it's not as bad. I am still just eating pretty pathetic amounts, but it's a huge improvement over eating literally NOTHING! ;) Also, my joints are actually feeling not so bad! They are still stiff and sore, but it's on a far lower plane of pain than they've been on for the past several weeks. My energy is definitely not normal, but I am not totally comatose 20 hours a day, which is nice. ;) I'm very thankful and I hope that I'm turning a corner!!

I did see some doctors on Friday. Dr. A very nicely came to see me although he is not supposed to be in clinic on Fridays. I think we can safely say that the drama surrounding the drain is winding down, and I have a Mr. Clean-ectomy scheduled for Friday! So I think that the "Epic Fail" story will have a happy ending. I appreciate them going above and beyond trying to right the wrongs, although of course I'd really prefer to not have suffered through the "wrongs" part. ;) I also saw a new internist... for the last internist experience, click here. It was okay, definitely much better than the last one, but sorta similar (what is their deal with pushing pneumonia shots on me?!?). She was not very familiar with the J pouch procedure, but she was willing to ask questions and listen, which I really appreciate and is a good sign, I think. I need an internist for all the general stuff, like if I get a sinus infection or something, and hopefully she can help with the specialist juggling, but she's not gonna be breaking any new ground or curing me.

I was in the beautiful wedding of two very dear friends this weekend... congratulations to Daniel and Claudia!! Claudia is an incredible friend. We've stuck it out in good times and bad. On my fun UC journey, she's been with me every single step of the way and has done more for me than I can possibly describe! When I started seeing a GI doctor, I had no car, so she took me to every single appointment (and also to the ER more times than I can count on one hand). She's cooked for me, takes me out so I feel normal, encourages me, laughs at me, and is simply an amazing friend. I had a great time and my body started this whole upswing thing just before the wedding started, which was AMAZING!

I also started training for my new job today... that's right... I got a job! I'm nervous about keeping up with everything, as my body still is rather finicky and fickle. But it will feel wonderful to have things to do and places to go and be a productive member of society again. ;)

I am so thankful for feeling a bit better the past few days. I can't even express it. My mind starts going all nuts cause it's so excited and happy and I feel somewhat like myself, not like someone who got backed over and then run over again... ;) Whether God allows me to keep improving, or whether I don't, I know that He is and will continue to use me wherever He has me for His glory. I can't begin to describe all that He's taught me and all that I've learned and how He's changing me through this trial... but I will try very soon to condense it into a post. Look for it soon on Semi Colon! ;)

Hannah ;)