First, I wanted to thank all of you for sending me the sweetest notes and well-wishes while I’ve been sick and trying to figure out why. I think there would have been a lot more crying fits if I didn’t have this great community to support and educate me. You’ll see what I mean once I start writing, but the invisible illness blogosphere has made these hard times a lot easier.
On Tuesday, I had an appointment at the student health and wellness center at UNT. I may have mentioned before in passing that I am not a fan of the health and wellness center, but with it being free for me and across the street from where I work, it was the only option for me to get medical help quickly. The last couple of times I went, I was told to just take mucinex. The first time that worked okay, but the second time I had pneumonia. It didn’t work out so good and I never forgave them for it. But, if you read my last post, you’ll see that I was kind of backed into a corner by my own health.
One of the things I dislike about the UNT doctor is that I can’t bring my husband with me. But, as any spoonie knows, having a doctor buddy is a valuable tool to not only help you describe your symptoms, but to help you remember what the doctor said later on. But this time, with some trepidation, he was let in with me. They explained that it’s okay because he’s my husband, but they usually never let boyfriends, etc in.
Once I got into the room, I was instantly at ease when I saw this on the wall:
What are the odds?! Last time I was in, endometriosis wasn’t even listed in their system. Even though I was there for GI issues and not endo, I felt comforted, like I was just where I needed to be.
The doctor came in, and she talked and moved very fast, which I found a little distressing at first. She asked me rapid fire questions, and I kept feeling like I was getting them wrong. While she bustled about asking short, curt questions, she poked me and took my diagnostics. I began to feel like I was in a pit stop during a race. I was so worried that she would just recommend tums and send me on my way before I could even figure out what was happening. In a whirlwind, she’d gotten all the info she needed and sat down. She started writing and said “It sounds to me like you’ve got acid reflux. We’ll send you to our referral nurse and get you to a GI specialist right away.” I blinked. I was shocked. Quite a turnaround from my slow, arduous appointments with Dr. Rogoff.
She said that with GI problems, they never come to the party alone. I smiled and instantly had faith in her. This was a saying I saw all over the GI blogosphere. She gave me a ton of information and said to study it, and see if it sounded like me. She said she suspects I also have IBS. Reading through the information while I waited to see the referral nurse, my jaw hung open for a full 30 minutes. There were symptoms here I hadn’t mentioned at all, every single symptom fit me.
She handed me a prescription slip and said “Here’s the prescriptions they would start you on, just to get the ball rolling.” She gave me Prilosec, another word I recognized from the blogosphere and knew a lot about. Ever since I took the first dose, it has been soooo much easer to eat food. She also gave me bentyl, which she said should help with the pain and will probably help with the endo, too. Those little blue pills are strong, though! I can take them 3 times a day, but I only take them at night. They make me so sleepy that I literally just stop functioning and fall asleep.
While I sat in the waiting room waiting for the referral nurse, I felt a little bewildered. I knew in my heart that IBS and acid reflux were exactly what the problem was. I knew that meant I’d have to change my diet (might as well say change my LIFE). I knew it was another incurable invisible illness. I thought of how much crying I did as I came to terms with endo and the life changes that entailed. I felt like I should cry now. Where was the despair? Where was the hopelessness?
It never came. There wasn’t any room for it in my mind. Do you know why?
BECAUSE OF YOU!
I wasn’t thinking about my bad luck or the long journey ahead! The only thing I could think about was all the amazing bloggers who write about crohns and colitis and IBS. The only thing I could think about was all the girls I knew who taught me all about their condition – my condition. I know I don’t know everything, but I feel like I know everything. I feel like every one of your posts has armed me to the teeth, and I am ready for battle. Strong. I can live this way. I can thrive this way.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not all rainbows and kittens over here. I haven’t even gotten to tell you what happened the next day… Oh yes. There’s more. But let’s try and just tackle one debilitating medical condition at a time (hey, if we can’t do that in real life, we can at least do it on the blog)!
And while we’re focusing on the bright side, I have a cautionary tale for you all. As I was researching pregnancy as a cure for endo, there was this sick and twisted little voice in the back of my head that said “but…what if you really do cure yourself of endo? What’s going to happen to the blog?”
And God said “No worries, you’ll have plenty to write about.”
Do YOU want to be armed to the teeth against chronic GI problems? Then check out these wonder women!