Tag Archives: abdominal pain

Infecting others…

Terribly worried today. My younger sister, whom I live with, has been suffering from diarrhea for almost three weeks now after every attempt to eat. In the last week, she has worsened considerably and is experiencing abdominal pain, nausea, sweats, and the occasional fever. It looks like C.Diff to me, but I’ve been holding out hope that it’s something else. Stool tests have been done, blood work has been taken, but her results aren’t in yet.

If it is C.Diff, it means I need to get myself tested again. I was never tested again after my lengthy treatments for C.Diff. I asked to be, but my doctors told me there was no point because I had fairly normal stool at the time, and my IV antibiotic treatments had gone on for so long – they seemed to think that nothing would have survived that. I’ve always felt differently. Given the symptoms and post-infection complications I experience, I’ve always felt that I’m a carrier of the bacteria, though not always experiencing the severe diarrhea. I’d like to be tested with the newer, more sensitive test Rhonda mentioned in a different post. The trouble I always run into is with the labs. They see a non-watery stool and refuse to test it, because they seem to believe that a person can’t have C.Diff if their stool has any degree of formed-ness. I’m going to speak to my doctor and get him to send a letter to the lab with my sample explicitly asking for testing to be done with the newer test, regardless of how my sample looks at the time. If I still carry it, I need to be treated again, and I need to know so that I can best protect the people around me.

And if it is C.Diff, and if my sister didn’t pick it up from me, then I need to be crazy-careful that I do not pick up a new infection from her. It’s so hard to see her like this – my worst nightmare come true. My biggest fear has always been that I might, through some oversight, cause one of my family members to become infected. It really brings the “leper” feelings back, in that I keep thinking I ought to just live alone and separated from others so that I can’t infect and kill anyone. Nasty, nasty disease. But I have to square my shoulders, keep those thoughts out of my head, keep up the bleach cleaning routine, and do my best to help my sister. At least I know some tricks for abdominal pain relief!

I’ll keep you all updated on how this turns out.

-L

I. Am. So. Sorry…

I have been off-line, out-of-commission, non-communicative, and just generally not here, and I apologize for that.

There were a lot of contributing factors: my abdominal pain levels have been bad, my arthritis-like symptoms have been literally crippling, the neuroma tumors in my feet have also been very crippling, my depression has worsened, and my anxiety levels have been off-the-charts. Someone important to me was prevented from suiciding just-in-time (again), and while that person has again decided to live, I am not okay. I do not do well with near-suicide or suicide situations – especially where people I really care about are concerned – and mentally, they shatter me. I have had to face these situations several times before, and each time I face another, I shatter into tinier pieces and it takes longer to put myself back together.

Between all this and the limbo I’m currently in regarding medical testing and treatment (I seem to be going nowhere), and my soon-to-be-dire financial situation due to my unemployability, I would like nothing more than to crawl under a rock and hide. I feel the limitations of my body very keenly right now, and I feel utterly trapped. I feel old, and broken, and weak, and exhausted, and fuzzy-headed, and un-pretty.

Know what I want? I want to be a young woman with a bright future again – like the young woman I was before C.Diff. I want to finish my education. I want my own little house where I answer to no one but myself. I want the mortgage that comes with it, and I want to have to worry about whether to paint the front door red or blue.¬† I want to have a husband who will love me and help me to feel less alone, and children to feed and read bedtime stories to. I want a career where I can feel like I’ve accomplished something every day. I want another dog, because the antics of my pooch give me something to smile about every single day. I want a simple, normal life. I don’t want to be alone on the outside-looking-in anymore, waiting for something to happen or for some bit of information so that I can be healthy enough to have all those things.

And if I can’t be healthy and have those things, I want to be able to not want them; I want to be able to let those dreams go so that the lack of their fulfillment won’t hurt me anymore. So if you have any of these things, be thankful. Be joyful, be ecstatic at your good fortune and your blessedness. If you’re reading this and you have health, be out-of-your-mind-crazy with gratitude. Celebrate your freedom – your freedom of movement, the freedom to have choices, and make decisions, and have dreams. For now, I’ll keep hoping – no, believing – that someday, I’ll be able to celebrate with you.

-L

I Thought I Was Going To Die

Well, I didn’t die. But for a while, I was kinda wishing I would.

I spent the other morning (woke at about 5 am) crouched over an ottoman in my living room, unable to do anything but rock, and whimper, and cry. I broke some of my nails because I was clutching the fabric of the ottoman so hard. The abdominal pain and nausea were unbelievable. It felt like my body was trying to reject my stomach and my spine at the same time – one out the front of my body and the other out the back. That was probably due to the abdominal swelling. Unproductive vomiting and writhing ensued. Eventually, I was able to keep down two Gravol pills, one 8mg Zofran (an anti-emetic), a 10mg Buscopan pill, and 1mg of Clonazepam (because the gravol has the side-effect of making my Generalized Anxiety Disorder intensify, as all antihistamines do).

After about an hour the pain was a little diminished, and I was no longer heaving. Taking this as a good sign, I used an old standby trick to try to reduce the pain further: I ate ice. Yup – just regular old ice cubes. I crunch them up and swallow them down. The cold seems to help with whatever inflammation is going on in there.

The reason I’m posting this is to show how weird life can be for C.Diff. survivors. I don’t know what happened, but I think I might have had some kind of a stomach virus that made my insides sit up and scream. Maybe it was just the “post-infection IBS” having a party in my abdomen. I have no idea. My doctor has no idea. And there’s no way to really know. That seems to be the refrain for us survivors.

But, on the 13th, I’m going to see someone who might know, or who might at least have a way to find out. I’m going to make it a point to ask about pain relief options, because I’m currently experiencing a real energy low due to exhaustion from constant, never-ceasing pain. I’m really reluctant to take anything that could slow my digestion down (which is why I take even my Buscopan really sparingly). So that pretty much rules out the whole codeine/narcotics family of pain relievers. And anti-inflammatory drugs always seem to be hard on the stomach, but maybe there’s something else. If there is, I’ll post it here, because I know a lot of us are experiencing debilitating pain.

For now, I’m going to go eat more ice cubes.

Wish Me Luck

I have my very first appointment with my new doc tomorrow. I’m really scared she’s gonna want to redo the scopes (definitely not a fan of scopes). If the phrases “I don’t know what to tell you” and “You’ll just have to learn to live with the pain” or “Good luck with that” pop up in our conversation (as they did the last time I saw a general surgeon) I’m firing this doc and finding another one. Somebody, somewhere has to have a clue about this. I am a willing guinea pig, but not one doctor has been willing to experiment with my case. Here’s hoping this doc will take a chance on me!

Lindsey’s Tummy-Pain Tea

I’ll say it again, just to be loud and clear: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. The herbs I’m about to list may or may not be right for you, and they may interfere or react with other herbs or prescription medications you may be taking. Please be careful when taking any herbal remedy, and consult a professional to make sure it’s safe for you.

tea

That said, this concoction (which I dreamed up on my own based upon what I know about western herbs and their benefits) helps with both my digestion and abdominal pain.

Lindsey’s Tummy-Pain Tea

(For 1 Small Pot)

-3 to 4 tbsp dried peppermint leaf

-1 tsp fennel seed (crush with mortar and pestle)

-2 to 5 cardamom pods (crush with mortar and pestle)

-1 small pinch dried raspberry leaf

-1 generous pinch licorice root (crush with mortar and pestle)

-1 small pinch dried nettle

-1 small pinch dried skullcap

-1 generous pinch marshmallow root

-1 medium pinch cramp bark (crush with  mortar and pestle)

-Optional: 1 to 2 tsp white tea leaves

-Optional: small handful of crushed fresh blackberries (will alter taste)

-Optional: 1/8 tsp dried dill (will alter taste, but helps digestion)

-Optional: 1 pinch dried fireweed blossom (just for colour and to make you feel nice – I gather this myself from local forests)

-Optional: 1/16 to 1/8 tsp white stevia powder concentrate; or a very small amount of dried stevia leaf (to sweeten)

Allow all of these ingredients to steep in 2 to 3 cups of just-boiled water for 5 to 10 min. Pour through a teacup strainer into your teacup to drink, and replace the contents of the strainer back into the teapot to continue steeping. It’ll look like you’ve got the entire forest floor in your teapot, but each ingredient has an effect on the digestive system. The main ingredients (peppermint, fennel, licorice root, and marshmallow root) are all soothing ingredients. The other ingredients draw blood to the digestive system and have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic effects. You can brew this tea with or without the white tea, depending on your caffeine preferences. Also, you can tweak the recipe to your taste as long as you are aware of what each herb does, and what concentrations are safe. Beware of using clover blossoms to sweeten your tea, as red clover can interfere with birth control in women.

The only drawback to making your own tea this way is that each ingredient must be placed into each pot or cup; if you throw large amounts of the ingredients into a bowl and mix it up like a salad, not every cup of tea will have every ingredient and the potency will change. One option for convenience is to fill your own tea bags, which you can purchase empty for that very purpose. You’ll need very large tea bags, though, to allow all the herbs to expand and steep properly in the water.

Hope you enjoy!