Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hospital Bound

It was near the end of June in 1989, I was at work feeling better than I had in years.  Just knowing that I was going to have a colonoscopy in two weeks,  was going to find out what had been going on in my "gut" and that my new Gastro. believed me, had an incredible effect on my spirit and body.
I had been out running errands when I got a call from the office.  They told me that my Gastro had called and that I was to return the call when I got back.

There were two more destinations that I had to get to before I could get back and call.  I was so curious about why he had called, I ended up distracted and missed roads I was to go down, and buildings I was supposed to stop at.   Because of the fact that everyone thought my problems were psychosomatic, my mind started to play tricks on me, and I imagined calling his office only to find that he talked to my family doctor, who told him that I was crazy, so he had decided after thinking about it he wasn't going to take on my case.  By the time I returned to work I was so worked up and believed that was going to happen, that I was afraid to call him back.  Thinking that I was going to be in pain for the rest of my life, and that no one would ever believe me, I sat in the bathroom for a half an hour and cried

My immediate boss Leanne found me in there and told me to just call, that it could be important.  So I went into my office, shut and locked the door, sat down at my desk and shakily dialed his office's number.  When I told the receptionist who was calling, she got him right on the line.  He told me that he got my blood test results back that morning, that they were really messed up and that he couldn't believe that I was actually at work, walking around and functioning properly.  He told me to get home, pack a bag and head up to the hospital to be admitted.  I was in shock.

I cleaned up the mascara and tears that had stained my face, and went into the big bosses office, to tell him what was going on, that I had to leave, and that I didn't know when I would be back.  I found my friend Richard at his drafting table and asked him if he could give me a ride home.  When I got there my Dad was just coming home, and I told my parents what was going on, and asked if one of them could take me to the hospital.  I stood there as they argued amongst themselves about who had more important things to do, and which one was going to be able to take me.  Again, still, I wasn't important.  I went to my room and packed.

It was somehow decided that my Mom would take me, so he got in the car and headed to the hospital where I hoped my journey to a diagnosis and back to health would truly begin.    

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Found My Hero!

I had been taking the "Digest" pills that the Iridologist had given me for about a month, and I was getting worse not better.  After consulting my Mom and my other practitioners they all told me the same thing.  They said that I could possibly be having a "Healing Crisis".  That is when during the healing process, your symptoms get worse, when the body is getting rid of all of the toxins that have been stored up.  When this process is over you generally will improve.

But my "Gut Instincts" were working over time again, I had a feeling that there wouldn't be any improvement or healing from this.  I thought that the ingredients in the pills were just feeding my "Monster" and that he was getting stronger.  I missed more work in that one month than I had in the four years I had been working at that job.  I gave it more time like they suggested, but felt it wouldn't matter how much time I waited, I felt so sick, and I only weighed eighty-five pounds, I thought I was going to die.

My Dr. and Mom were concerned as well, and he finally called to make me an appointment with a Gastroenterologist.  I couldn't wait to go.  The two weeks dragged by, but the day finally came.  My Mom brought me to the appointment.  The minute I saw him I knew he would be able to help me, being incredibly good looking didn't hurt either!

He asked me a lot of questions about my symptoms, my pain, medications I was taking, and my diet.  He threw out the antacid pills that my family doctor's partner gave me and said they were useless.  I was then examined.  He felt the glands on my neck, and when he pushed on the lower left side of my abdomen I almost jumped off the table it hurt so much.  We all went into his office to talk.  He said he thought that I could have Crohn's Disease or Colon Cancer.  I said  "I'll take that crone thing" meaning that I really didn't want to have Cancer.  What he said to me next frightened me.  He said that many of his Crohn's patients commonly wish that it was terminal because they really suffer a lot, it's painful and there is no cure.  Before he finished his sentence, I stood up and said  "Wow, I feel so much better all of the sudden, so maybe I'm okay now".   I looked at my Mom and sat right back down, joking around like that is just a defence mechanism for me or else when I'm nervous or afraid I would end up crying.  His secretary scheduled me for a Colonoscopy (he didn't really get into what that was all about) and on the way home we stopped to have all of my blood tests done.

It was two weeks until the Colonoscopy, and I was finally ready for answers and treatment.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Are The Eyes Windows? You Bet They Are!

The visits with an Iridologist back when I was 19 years old, before my Crohn's diagnosis and the recommendations given were the beginning of the end of my quest for answers. Going this route was the best thing that could have happened at that time. Every aspect of my life had been infected by this "Monster" and I was at an all time low, but about to hear something that no one else had said to me that would give me the confidence to keep fighting it.

This specialist agreed with my intuition that these mysterious and miserable symptoms were related to my Digestive Tract. Having someone tell me that they believed my "Gut Instincts" meant more than you could possibly imagine. She didn't think that I was a nutso attention seeker or anything else, she knew that there was a "Monster". She was on my side. She did what I wanted my Doctor, family and friends to do. She looked at me, really looked, but more importantly she listened to me and wanted to help.

If you looked at me back then you probably would have thought I was anorexic like some people did, or that I was very ill. I was five feet, five inches tall and weighed under one hundred pounds. I was under eighty pounds when I was diagnosed. I was trying to do all of the right things for better health, I was eating all of the right foods. But eating was very unpleasant experience. Food tasted great but minutes later I would be doubled over in pain, and it passed through me so fast that it wouldn't be in my body long enough to absorb any nutrients. From my visits with the iridologist I would find out that all of the so-called good food I was injesting wasn't doing me any good at all and was just irritating my bowels more than anything else. I was so ready for answers and ready to stop faking how I felt.

I was going to work everyday even though I had no energy and the pain was inscruciating, but I didn't want anyone to think that I was slacking off. I tried to do everything all of my friends were doing, I didn't want to be left behind. I had learned a long time ago when all of my test results kept coming back normal not to complain anymore about how I felt. Everyone around me was as sick of hearing about it as I was of living it, so I kept my mouth shut as much as possible. That didn't stop people from talking about me behind my back, or even to my face about how I was upsetting them. I stayed over night at a friend's house one night, and in the morning while I was getting dressed she took a picture of me. We didn't have digital cameras back then, but when she got the roll back she sat me down, showed me the pictures and told me that I was thin enough, I had made my point, got all of the attention I wanted and should start eating again. I was so hurt. My "Monster" had been around for years, and I couldn't believe people that I cared about, and that were supposed to care about me could be so cruel, deaf to what I had confided in them and blind.

But now I had my Mom and my Iridologist on my team! After analyzing the characteristics of my irises she told me that there were signs of inflammation in my bowel and that there was a good chance that a duct that lead to the gall bladder was blocked. I was shocked that all she had done was look at my eyes and could tell that my Digestive Tract wasn't working properly, and yet my Doctor had run all sorts of tests with no signs of any problems at all. Was he just not running the right tests? She gave me some all-natural pills to aid in digestion, I was to take two of them a half an hour before meals.

This was to be the start of a new healthier pain-free life for me! I was so excited I could barely sleep that night and couldn't wait to start my new regime.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

There's Always An Alternative - Medicines

After I was released from the hospital for the blood infection, I was more concerned about my health than ever. My "Monster" was causing so much chaos in my body, yet it was being very sneaky and playing "Hide-and-Seek" with the Doctors. I was determined to find out what was wrong with me, so determined that I would have tried anything, and I almost did.

I was 19 at the time, and all I wanted was to be normal like everyone else.

I had been meditating on my pain for years now, sitting quietly on my bedroom floor, closing my eyes and trying to locate where the pain was. After some practice, I could see my body in my mind's eye and the painful areas would light up, almost glow. I knew that more than one area hurt. After the laparoscope was done a year before, the pelvic pain was completely gone. The endometriosis was the source of it. But I still had to figure out what was causing the pain above my belly-button, in my lower back and abdomen. One down, three to go.

I couldn't wait for my Doctor to believe me. I had to search for the answers on my own. The pain was almost unbearable, yet I wasn't given anything for it because "pain medication won't help pain that is all in your head". I took out books from the library and tried to teach myself Biofeedback techniques to try to desensitise myself to the pain, but I found it almost impossible to do. I decided to look into some unconventional healing methods. I was one hundred percent sure that my digestive tract was the source of most of my problems due to the pain being worse after eating, and having everything that I did eat go right through me. I was desperate and under ninety pounds. If I could have somehow found a way to help my symptoms I would have been so incredibly happy.

I started with buying some Healing Crystals and a book about them. Supposedly if you put the right type of crystal on the proper place, the power of them can heal what ails you. Every night for months, I would lay on my bed with the crystals all over my body, listening to a Relaxation CD of the sounds of the ocean. I also carried them in a pouch around my neck for further protection during the day.

My Mom came into my room to say good night to me one evening, and found me covered with my crystals. I think it was then that she realized that I was really suffering since I was trying to heal myself in private, if I had been faking I wouldn't have been trying to cure myself, or keeping up the pretense while I was alone. Until then she hadn't believed that there was anything wrong with me either. She had been seeing a Chinese Herbalist for some health issues of her own and suggested that I go see him too. I figured it wouldn't hurt and that maybe a new set of eyeballs on the situation could get to the bottom of things. That was a really interesting experience. He did a complete exam and thought that my pancreas was sluggish or that a duct leading to it may be blocked. He wanted to strengthen and unblock the flow of my "chi", which is the life energy of the body. Accupuncture was done three times a week, and he made up herbal tea packages for me to drink. They contained dried barks, mushrooms, leaves and berries. I boiled the herbs in a pot until there was only a half a cup of liquid left, actually saying liquid is being generous, it looked more like sludge and tasted just about how you would imagine sludge would taste, YUCKY! I couldn't believe that I was paying someone to make me drink that foul-flavoured mixture. By the time that I was supposed to show signs of improvement I hadn't felt any better so I moved on.

These treatments help many millions of people around the globe everyday, and I would highly recommend anyone that is not getting the help they want or need from Western Medicines, or want their treatment to have a more holistic approach to consider using these techniques.

The hunt was on again for answers. I never stopped going to my Family Doctor and pleading with him to help me, but a frustrating cycle would occur. The more tests I asked him to requisition for me, the more the results would be returned normal, and the more he would believe I was a hypochondriac, so I continued down the road with Alternatives. First I went to a Naturopathic Doctor and learned how to improve my diet and was introduced to some botanical medicines. They deal more with symptoms and the body as a whole.

I also had appointments with an Iridologist. They look at and analyze only the iris to detect health issues that you could have now, or that could possibly occur in the future. A picture of your iris is taken and turned into a slide. To see your five or so foot tall eye blown up on a wall is quite the experience, let me tell you! Mine looked kind of like a blue cratered surface of the moon! When reading the slides they can tell many things from the flecks, density of the colour and locations of different markings. I had a gold fleck that was called a "Mother's Jewel". The appearance of this fleck is supposed to mean that your Mother is very caring, worried and concerned about you. This shocked me and made me feel defeated all at the same time. It was like going to a psychic but realizing that they are only telling you what you want to hear. I didn't believe that about my Mom at first. Why would she have been worried about me if she thought that I was faking it or a hypochondriac? But then I looked at her as she was sitting beside me, and she was nodding "yes" at me with tears in her eyes. I never doubted her belief in my pain again, and I never loved her that much as I did in that moment.