Life's Path

Friday, December 23, 2011

November 2011

I start this month off by seeing Dr. Game to see if my iron levels are any better.  Although my ferretin is up, I still border on the side of being anemic.  Dr. Game believes from looking at all my blood work that the problems stem from my under active thyroid.  We did extensive testing on my thyroid a few weeks ago and it shows that although the "normal" levels for TSH are good, when you look at my T3 levels, I am not converting the synthroid that I am on to help my thyroid out.  As well, my thyroid antibodies show that my thyroid is clearly not working right.  So Dr. Game says that until my thyroid gets straightened out, I will always be anemic so I need to go back to my doctor.

I see my doctor a few days later and tell him about my appointment with Dr. Game.  We change my thyroid med's.  This may help a little bit but it won't take care of the problem completely.  It is frustrating trying to work with doctor's sometimes when they just want to keep throwing a pill at you.  What we really need to work on is getting my body to transfer the med's to my body properly.  So I am a little frustrated but I will give this new dosage of med's a try for awhile and see if we get anywhere.  I guess my thyroid story be continued...

I also have my follow-up appointment with Dr. Moysa.  He is very pleased (as am I!!) with the way my breasts are developing after the surgery.  Unless I have any problems, I no longer have to see him.  COMPLETE SUCCESS!!  Best thing I ever did for myself was have this surgery!  And good thing because I can now be a bikini girl.  Which leads me to our trip!

It is our 10 year anniversary this month and we are celebrating with a bang!  We decided 2 years ago that we wanted to do a big trip and started saving up all that we could.  We knew that we wanted to do a 2 week vacation, in the Caribbean somewhere where we could relax and enjoy just being the 2 of us!  We ended up choosing Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and on November 17 we left for 2 weeks of paradise.  We stayed at the 5 star, adult only resort called Royal Bavaro Catalonia.  We were able to get a suite with our own swimming pool!  It was pure paradise and we enjoyed every minute of our vacation.  Here are some pictures!  We even renewed our vows in a ceremony on the beach.  Pure bliss!

In our pool at our suite

In the main pool

10 year anniversary!

Vow renewal ceremony

Monday, December 19, 2011

October 2011

October 3rd I went back to see Dr. Game about the results from my CT Scan.  Of course nothing showed up and I don't have lymphoma.  I am still anemic and I have to up my iron meds once again.  I will follow up with him in 4 weeks time to see how things are going.

Things are going really well with my health.  I feel good.  Nothing crazy has happened.  I am healing up nicely from my 2 surgeries.  Life is on the up swing.   I am doing some reflexology which I absolutely LOVE.  Not only does it feel good to have your feet and calves massaged, it just works really well with my body.

Other than that, we are just gearing up to get ready for our big trip next month to Punta Cana to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.  We have so much to celebrate!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

September 2011

So it has been about a month since my CT Scan and I haven't heard anything.  I follow up with Dr. Game's office and they say that the CT Scan revealed nothing and that I can see him for a follow-up appointment on October 3rd.  Phew, just as I thought, everything is okay.

September 6 I have my womanly physical with my gynecologist Dr. Mayo.  I am back to regular yearly checkups for my pap smears since I have been cleared by the colposcopy doctor that my cervix no longer has abnormal cells.  My appointment goes well and I ask Dr. Mayo about my surgery that I have been waiting for for over a year.  I have very heavy periods that last 7-10 days and they figure this is a factor in my anemia problem.  We discussed over a year ago of doing an endometrial ablation, yet I have heard nothing of this surgery to date.  When I tell Dr. Mayo that I am still waiting, he immediately tells me that he will check with his nurse.  He comes back in and says that I will be booked for surgery before the end of the month.  He is very apologetic and says somehow my paper work got put aside.  The office will get back to me in the next couple of days with a surgery date.

True to their word, I get a call a couple of days later and I am scheduled to go in for surgery in St. Albert on September 28th.  I am happy about this as I am still not working so we can get this procedure out of the way before I head back to work.  

Everything else with my health is doing really well.  I feel good, no, I feel GREAT!  Things seem to be really going along well.  I am looking for work, working out again, living life like one should be.  I am LOVING my new body.  So with this surgery, it will just fine tune one more thing and I will be a completely new person.

Surgery on September 28th goes off real well.  It is just day surgery so I am home that night resting.  The next day I am a little tired, probably from the anaesthesia but other than that, I feel good.  You would never know that I had surgery.  2 days later I am washing all the windows in our place for fall cleaning.  So happy that they were able to get me in and get this surgery over with! 

Now we just have to see what Dr. Game, my blood specialist has to say.  What is up with those high white blood cell counts in my stomach?  We will find out!

Monday, November 7, 2011

August 2011

August 3rd I go for yet another CT Scan of my abdomen.  I am so used to these that it isn't a problem for me.  But this time is different because I have not been using my arms.  A nurse had to help me get dressed in my gown (I can't lift my arms up).  All is good and then I get in the room for the scan and then I remember, you have to put your arms above your head for this.

I explain to the nurses that I just had a breast reduction and have not lifted my arms for a few weeks now.  I know that I will have to do so for the scan, but can we please wait until the last dying second to do so and can we do this as quickly as possible.  We do the best that we can and I raise my arms above my head and try to not think about the pain.  It is finally over and we take it easy getting me back off the bed and back into my normal clothes.  Just glad that it is over.  Home to rest and take more pain killers.

August 4 I have to change the tape on my incisions and since last week I almost fainted doing so, I get a nurse friend to come over and change it for me.  Everything goes well and I am sure that next week I will be able to do it on my own.  I again think that it was just all the med's and such that made me so woozy but I wanted to make sure that this week went smoothly with the tape changes.  And of course the next week when I did it by myself, everything went just fine.

August 18th, I am changing my tape and realize that my stomach is wet.  I look at my incision and I have a hole that is leaking fluid in my right breast.  Luckily my sister in law was over and I had her look at it to see what she thought.  She confirmed that it was a hole and that I was leaking but that it was small.  I clean up, tape up and call my surgeon's office.  They tell me that this can happen sometimes but not to worry, just to keep it clean and all should be okay.  I am scheduled to see Dr. Moysa in just a few days for another follow-up so I will leave it until then.

August 22nd I see Dr. Moysa.  Everything is going well except for this little hole that is leaking.  Dr. Moysa looks at it and confirms that it is normal and then he shocks it with some silver treatment to help it heal.  I am to keep that part of the incision open (no tape) and to keep a loose gauze over the hole to catch the leaking.

A couple of days later, I am really leaking from this hole and I think that the hole is bigger.  My nursing friend comes back over and yes, that hole has gotten a bit bigger and I should probably go back and have them check it out.  I mean I just am unsure!  I don't want anything to go wrong!

So the next day I go back to the surgical suite and they check it out.  Even though it has gotten a little bigger, it still looks normal to them and I am just to be patient as it needs to heal from the inside out.  Nothing to do but wait.  I leave reassured and pray that this thing will seal over very quickly!  They tell me it could be weeks before it heals and I just am not very patient at waiting for things like that.  So I will have to wait.  Keep it clean and all should be good.

I have now passed the 4 week mark since the surgery and I am so curious to know what size I am.  I know that I shouldn't even begin to think of shopping for new bras for at least 3 months after the surgery as there is much swelling and you don't know what you will be until then.  But I can't wait, I have to know a ball park figure as to where I am.  So I go to Victoria Secret.  A store that I have never been able to shop in before.  I tell them my story and say that I am not here to buy a bra (yet!) but would like a measurement.  They do this for me.  And I am so HAPPY!!  Can you guess what I am after the surgery???  Remember I was a 36G before the surgery.  Maybe this picture can help you out.  It is bra before surgery and bra post surgery:

Can you see the difference??????

I am now measured at a 36B!  A B!!!!!  That is what I wanted and that is what I got!  So super excited.  I will never get rid of that one 36G is a reminder of where I have come from.  The scars and pain are well worth it.  I would do this all over again in a heart beat.  Best thing I have ever done!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

White Blood Cells and Changing Tape

July 26th, I go off to see the blood specialist Dr. Game.  We are to discuss the findings of the excessive blood cells that they found in my stomach when they did the biopsies when I was in the hospital.

Dr. Game doesn't miss a beat.  He goes right into explaining what could be going on.  He says we will need to to a CT Scan of my abdomen to check this out.  I might have Lymphoma.  He says he will be discussing my case with his colleagues at the Cross Cancer Institute.  

What?  Excuse me?  I am not expecting to hear this news.  Yet, it doesn't upset me because I know that this is not it.  I don't have Lymphoma.  If I did, I would be sick and I am not sick.  I get booked into a CT Scan for August 3rd.  I have had so many of these things, if I AM sick, it is because of all the stinking radiation from all these tests!  So off I go.  Another test and we will see what happens.

A couple of days later I have to change the tape on my breasts.  This does not bother me as I like things like that and blood and guts doesn't do me in like it does for other people.  But something happened on this day.  I changed my tape and I was so nauseated afterwards.  It really affected me for some reason!  Maybe it is all the pain killers that I am on, I don't know.  I spent the rest of the day trying to keep the nausea at bay.  I think next week I might need some help with this.  Good grief!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Healing from Surgery

Healing from surgery is always an up and down ride.  Sometimes you feel great, other times, you feel like, yes, you have had surgery.   Sunday July 17, I felt like I had surgery!  Although the pain wasn't what I thought it would be, the best way that I could describe this day was I felt like I had been in a fight.  And in a way, it kind of was like that.  I mean I was sliced and diced and suctioned and stitched and so many other things.  I think today was my worst pain day.  Again, thank you to the makers of Demerol and for sleep.  

Monday Glenn has to go back to work so we have friends come in for the week to take care of me.  Remember, I can't do much of anything for myself.  I can't even get a glass of water.  I am so thankful for the friends who came during the day to be with me, to feed me, give me my med's, help me get comfortable, whatever I needed!  I could not have survived without them!

Sleeping is the hardest part.  You have to stay on your back for a minimum of 6 weeks and I am not a back sleeper.  I so badly want to be on my side when I sleep but I cannot do this.  I struggle to get in any comfortable position.  Many pillows and such to try figure out what will help me the most.  Eventually, I kind of get in a groove of some sort but that was one of the hardest things about this surgery....sleeping on my back all the time.

I have to give a huge shout out to my husband as well.  Remember, I can't really do much of anything because I really can't use my arms.  Yes, I can go to the bathroom by myself, but it takes having the toilet paper roll strategically placed in the bathroom so that I don't have to reach for it.  Showering I cannot do on my own.  I can't raise my arms to wash my hair.  So Glenn has to shower with me and wash my hair and get me clean.  I feel like a little child again!  But Glenn just did everything that needed to be done without hesitation and was very gentle with me.  He was always scared that he would hurt me, but I assured him that he wouldn't.  You have to remember, my breasts are swollen, bruised beyond belief, have scares and I am taped up.  He had reason to be concerned and careful!

On July 21st, I go back to Dr. Moysa for a follow-up appointment.  Things are looking really good and he tells me what I need to do for changing the tape on my incisions for the next 8 weeks.  The trickiest part for me is going around the nipples.  During a breast reduction, the nipples are completely removed and then reattached.  But with the doctor's guidance, I think we can do this!  I will have to see Dr. Moysa again in a month for more follow-up.  Until then, I am to continue on healing and doing as I have been...which is nothing!

So things are going really well!  We have lots of help, I am just taking it easy, the pain meds are doing the job and I LOVE my new body!

I get a phone call, and, remember the excessive white blood cells in my stomach?  I am scheduled to see the blood specialist on July 26th.  More to come...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

July 2011...Major Changes!

I can't believe that it is already July 2011 and over half of the year has gone by.  So much has happened this year already and there is so much more to come!  

I have been working temp jobs as I knew that I was having surgery on July 15th.  I am now in my last temp job and am in a fun assignment with the Office of the Public Trustee.  I am learning how to do dictation and work with a small but fun group!  What a way to end my assignments...on a good note!

July 11, I have my final pre-op appointment with Dr. G plastic surgeon.  I am nervous going into this appointment as I have not seen him since January and I hope that everything is still good to go.  I am so looking forward to my breast reduction that I don't want anything to go wrong with the date so close now.  I don't know why I was nervous.  Dr. Moysa met with me and we took our final "before" pictures and he gives me all the information that I need for the day of the surgery as well as all my prescriptions that I will need so that I can fill them before the big day.  Breast reduction surgery is painful so I will be on powerful drugs to help with the pain.  Thank goodness I can get Demerol as I am allergic to Morphine.  After this appointment, I am ecstatic!  I can hardly wait for the 15th to arrive.  I am going to be a new woman!

Now, you may be wondering why I chose to have this surgery.  Most people are kind of shocked when they hear that I choose to do this, they didn't think that I had a breast problem.  But I did.  I was a 36G in bra size and I hated it.  I always had to shop at specialty stores for bras and they were NOT cheap.  I longed for the days when I could shop at Victoria Secret and actually get a bra in a color other than black or beige.  Clothes shopping was another problem for me.  I always had to get clothes that were too big so that they could fit me properly up top.  I guess that is why people didn't really know I had a problem...I didn't dress to show off my breasts in a bad way.  So I hated fact, if I didn't have to do it, I didn't.  It just isn't fun shopping for clothes and always getting a size bigger than you need.  And then there is the obvious weight issue of them.  At the end of the day, I hated my breasts.  They were heavy, they were in the way, they just hung there.  It was just so unnecessary to be that big with my size of body frame.  So these are some of the reasons why I chose to have the surgery.

My surgery is scheduled for 8:45 AM.  I am fortunate that I am getting the surgery done in a plastic surgery suite, not a hospital.  They take such good care of you in a suite, rather than a hospital.  The atmosphere is very relaxed.  You are given very comfy robes to wait in and it is just the best situation before you are to go for major surgery.  As I am waiting in my super comfy robe in my super comfy room, Dr. Moysa comes in for some last minute markings on my breasts so he knows exactly what he needs to do.  Just before he leaves I jokingly tell him (though I was being serious) that he shouldn't be shy, take as much as he possibly can.  He turns around and smiles and says that he will see me in the operating room.

I have never been so at peace as I went into an operating room.  Maybe it was the whole atmosphere of the place and the staff or maybe because I knew this was going to be such a great change in my life.  The staff was so incredibly kind.  I knew to enjoy the last few moments that I had awake cause when I woke up, I was going to be in for some super pain.

I remember waking up.  Yes, I was in pain, but not like I thought I would be.  The recovery room nurses were so attentive to me.  Immediately I was being given more pain medication.  The pain was not going to get out of control.  Also, when I wake up from surgery, I am usually very chilled.  They notice this immediately and without me even having to say anything, they put this machine on me called a "Bear Hugger" which is like a blanket type thing that surrounds your body and a machine is hooked up to it with a hose that blows warm air on you so that you warm up.  What a nice and pleasant thing to have.  Because let's face it, those "warm" blankets that they give you in the hospital are only warm for 30 seconds and then you merely have a blanket on you and you are still cold!  Because of the bear hugger, my body is able to calm down and not have to fight the cold and can just be.  The pain meds are working, I am warm and I am getting constant attention.  Every surgery should be like this!

After a couple of hours of being in recovery and knowing that everything is going okay, I am good to go home.  I am hooked up to drains and the nurses explain how they work and what to do with them.  I am dressed and put in a wheel chair and taken to the room where I will meet Glenn.  Thank goodness I knew a couple of people who had this surgery before and their tips to me were super helpful!  I am completely bandaged up around my upper body and even the smallest tips like having a zipped up hoodie are extremely helpful and so necessary right now.  How in the world would I ever have gotten a shirt or anything else on me?!?!  It is so good to see Glenn.  I can tell that he is worried about me, more so for my pain level and how that is going to go.  We are in the back of the building going out a back Hollywood style!  But I get really don't want to go out the front where people can see you and you are all bandaged up, can't move really well...those back doors for plastic surgeons are genius!

It is a slow process getting into the car.  Have you ever not used both of your arms before?  I am not going to be able to use my arms for about 6 weeks.  Slowly but surely, we get in the car, strategically place pillows and SLOWLY make the drive home as every bump in the road feels like a huge crater in the road.  But things are going really well considering.  We get home and I get into the recliner chair and from what I can remember, I go to sleep.  Glenn keeps up with my pain meds so that I can be as comfortable as I possibly can be.

Later that evening I wake up and feel a little wet.  Glenn looks at my bandages and I am leaking a bit.  Poor guy, he is so out of his element.  He is afraid to touch my bandages because he doesn't know if he will hurt me, or if he will damage anything.  He calls the doctor and the doctor tries to tell him how to change the bandages.  But it is like Fort Knox trying to get into them, I am so wrapped up and there are drains and so much stuff.  We finally called Glenn's sons girlfriend who is a nurse.  She immediately drops everything she is doing and comes over to help.  I don't know what we would have done without her!  She is able to help Glenn with the dressings and we get everything back to what it should be.  I do very well through this ordeal....Demerol is a beautiful thing!  We have to see the doctor again in the morning to have the drains removed so as long as I make it through the night, all will be good.

I don't remember much more about that first day...I was very heavily medicated and slept for most of it.  I can't do anything on my own.  Glenn sleeps on the couch next to me as I have to sleep in the recliner chair.  I have to be on my back for at least 6 weeks and getting in and out of bed will just be too much to handle.  If I have to go to the bathroom or anything, I will need help as I can't use my arms at all.  My abs and legs are going to be super strong by the end of this!

The next morning we go back to see Dr. Moysa and have the dressings and drains removed.  I am sitting in a chair that reclines while the doctor and Glenn take everything off.  I finally get to look down at my breasts to see what they look like now.  Glenn isn't sure that I should as they look pretty beat up at this point, black and blue, big scars etc.  But I can't wait to look!  When I do, I instantly smile...they are so small and they look great to me!  This is what I wanted.  Yes, they look like they have been in a serious fight but I know that they will heal and that they will be what I wanted.  We are given instructions how to take care of them and I will see the Doctor again in 5 days.  More about this in the next post!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Follow-up Appointment

June 8, 2011 I have my follow-up appointment with Dr. Zeman.  We will have the biopsy results back from my tests while I was in the hospital.

I see Dr. Zeman and she is not a happy camper that day.  She starts in on me that I have had problems for a few years now and have seen other specialists.  I confirm that with her and explain to her that she was the doctor that I saw in the Emergency Room and she was now following up with me.  She is not happy.  Great bedside manners.  I ask her if they got any results back from the biopsies.  She said that they really couldn't find anything other than I have an excessive amount of white blood cells in my stomach that we should investigate as it could be a condition called M.A.L.T or hyperplasia.  But she is quick to say it will probably be nothing.  Whatever...have them look into it as it is not something that is normal.  She is really starting to tick me off by now.  She then turns to me and says "I think in all honesty Lisa, you need to learn how to deal with pain in your life.  That seems to be the real issue here."  And then she is done with me.

Nice hey?  I have dealt with pain all my life.  I can deal with that.  I can't deal with extreme pain and bleeding out of my butt.  That is something completely different.  I am once again very discouraged as I leave this appointment.  The receptionist tells me that they will set up my appointment with the other specialist about the excessive white blood cells.  I ask the receptionist if I can get copies of the reports from my hospital visit.  She provides me with those and away I go.  Again, I am confused and hurt from this experience.  

I catch a bus home and begin reading my reports from the hospital.  And now I am MAD!  Right there in the report is how they couldn't get me to sleep during my colonoscopy and that everything I had said and asked for pain meds and such, it was all written out there in black and white.  I wasn't lying!  The doctors were lying....I don't know why they felt the need to but now I had my proof!  I wasn't going crazy, this really did happen to me!  There is nothing that I can do about it now, but at least I know what happened and the story is there for all time that cannot be disputed.  I hope that I NEVER see those doctors again.

On June 16, I had to go see Dr. Boyko (my family doctor) for some follow-up.  He has my hospital records and he is completely disgusted with the way that I was treated.  He also has the follow-up letter from Dr. Zeman and is not impressed with her lack of professionalism in her letter.  It is so good to know that my doctor is on my side and knows the real story of what is going on.  

At this point in my life, things are getting better.  The cramping in my belly has stopped.  I am no longer nauseous.  My doctor believes that somehow I got a massive infection in my gastrointestinal system and now it has worked itself out.  I am just so happy to be feeling good again and hope that nobody in the near future has to stick another camera up my butt any time soon...just saying!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

End of May 2011

The morning of May 22, 2011, I woke up feeling not too bad.  I thought that maybe Glenn and I could go for a walk as it was a nice day out.  We were going to be babysitting the grandkids as their parents were going to be celebrating their wedding anniversary.  But by lunch time, things changed.  I was in pain and on the couch.  Maybe I just needed to rest some more.  The pain didn't go away.  Nicole came and dropped the kids off and I was hoping to get better.

Not long after the kids got here, I was in extreme amounts of pain with cramping in my belly and I was on the toilet.  I was screaming in agony and the sweat was pouring off my body.  Glenn was trying to see if he could help me, while taking care of a 4 year old (who was very curious and wanted to know what was wrong with Granny Red) and a crying 6 month old as she was not happy mom had left and was probably upset as well with what was going on with me...she could probably feel the tension.  It was awful, no other way to describe it.  Poor Glenn was going out of his mind...what does he do, how does he handle all of this?

In between my screams of agony, I suggested that we call his other daughter to see if she could pick up the kids and take care of them for the evening.  It was apparent that we would be going to the ER once again.  The pain was out of this world.  We finally got a hold of Jenna to come and take the kids and then we went back to the ER...remember, doctor's orders from Friday.

We go into the ER and we get the same doctor and nurses as we did a month earlier in the ER.  They focus on getting the pain under control.  They ask what has been going on in the month since I was last there and we give them the update.  FINALLY, I get some relief from the pain.  They keep me in overnight to continue the pain control and then release me as I have a follow up appointment with Dr. Zeeman in 2 days.  They figure let her try and sort it all out.

I see Dr. Zeeman on the afternoon of the 25th and she says that she is going to admit me to the hospital that night so that we can do testing on me and try and get to the bottom of all this.  I am!?!  Well, maybe this will help us out.  I go back to work, finish out the day and call the temp agency that I work for and tell them I will need a temp to fill in for me as I will be in the hospital for the next few days.  How ironic is that...a temp filling in for a temp?!? 

I go home, pack a bag and we head to the hospital.  I get checked in through the Emergency and wait on a gurney there until they find a bed for me in the hospital.  It is a long night but I think around 2 AM they take me upstairs to a room.  I am going to be the 5th person in a room made for 4.  I have an incredibly small and very uncomfortable gurney that I will sleep on, in a corner.  They bring in a small divider to try and give me some privacy.  They tell me as soon as a bed opens up, I will move to a bed. 

The morning of the 26th, I am taken down for a CT Scan.  Been there, done that.  No big deal.  Tomorrow I am scheduled for yet another gastroscopy and colonoscopy.  My second one in a month.  Oh the joys!  The days are long as I wait for visitors and for these appointments.  I hate being in the hospital...especially since I am jammed into a corner with very little room to turn around.  In the meantime, I am prepping once again for a colonoscopy. I so despise drinking that awful stuff and running to the bathroom every 5 minutes. What a horrible night again of prepping!

The 27th in the afternoon, I am taken down for my colonoscopy.  Now this is like my 4th one in 2 years so I know the drill.  The on call GI specialist is going to be performing my colonoscopy.  I go into the room where they start to prep me.  No big deal, done this before.  They give me the dose that is supposed to put me to sleep.  Nothing happens.  They continue to prep and the nurse looks at me and says "You aren't sleeping?"  to which I say "Nope"  I think she tried to give me some more stuff and I was still awake.  They start the procedure.  It was awful.  I was awake and could hear and feel everything.  My mind did shut me down for a little while and took me to a better place...funny how the body can do that.  But I came back and felt and saw everything again.  I told them that I was awake, was hurting and asked for pain meds.  They wouldn't give me anything.  I started getting distraught.  It really hurt and I could feel when they were doing the biopsy of my colon and I could see it on the screen which was right in front of my face.

They finished the procedure and I was a mess.  It was very disturbing to go through that, especially when I knew that I should have been asleep.  I asked for pain medsmeds and it hurt so much and I was crying.  They wouldn't give me any.  I was very upset.  Luckily one of my roommates mother was there and she came over and asked me what was going on.  I told her through my tears and she called Glenn at work for me.  The whole thing really upset me to the point where the nurses finally came and gave me an Adavan...a calming drug.  It did calm me down and the roommates mother stayed with me and put cold clothes on my head until Glenn could come.  What a horrible thing to go through!

The morning of the 28th, Saturday, the doctor who did the colonoscopy comes in.  Glenn is there and is waiting to ask her about what the heck happened yesterday.  We ask her and she tells us that she heard what had happened and she was shocked as she said I was asleep for the whole procedure.  I told her that I was most definitely NOT asleep and even the nurse knew that.  She denied it and told me that they didn't see anything but we will have to wait until the biopsy results come back.  She doesn't think that there is anything more for me that they can do so she will discharge me.  I am thankful as I want to get out of that horrible place.  I forgot to mention that on the Friday afternoon, one of the roommates was discharged and they wouldn't let me move into the empty bed.  I couldn't wait to get out of my little corner.  But at the same time, the doctor discharged me without me eating anything for over 3 days and I still was on pain med's up until the hour that she let me go.  This place was a joke.  But I couldn't wait to get home to the comfort of my bed and to get some real rest.

I still continued to have pain and cramping but I just continued with the Buscopan and pain meds to get me through.  I will see Dr. Zeeman again for the biopsy results.  Until then, I just have to try and cope and get through and hopefully this will just all go away.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Follow up

May 4, 2011 we go back to see Dr. Marilyn Zeeman for the results of the colonoscopy.  Turns out that I don't have Chron's or Colitis.  Phew!  This is big news.  I can immediately stop the colitis medication that I have been taking for the past week.  The thing is, it was most likely a very bad infection that I had...and we have no idea how I got it.  There is no explanation for it, I have it.  There really isn't anything more that they can do for me.  I still have lots of cramping, especially after I eat.  I am told to take the medication Buscopan to help with the cramping.  It does help but why am I getting the cramps?  Will this go away when the infection goes away?

I am to monitor my symptoms for a month.  If I get better, great!  If I don't get better, or I get worse then I am to come back to the doctor.

The next 2 weeks are off an on.  Somedays I am okay, other days are crampy but manageable.  I finish my assignment with my first temp job on May 6.  I am sad to leave it as it was a good place to work.  I am to start my next assignment on May 12 at a family violence center.  I seem to be doing pretty good.  I even do a run for the food bank on May 14th.  I am visiting people and doing things and working once again.

May 20th, I start to have some serious cramping at work.  It is Friday, before a long weekend and I don't want to be suffering through the weekend.  I can get in to see my doctor right after lunch.  I see him and again, he is concerned and just wants to know what the heck is going on with me.  He gives me some pain meds and some strict instructions that if I get worse on the weekend, I am to go to the ER immediately.  I promise him I will be a good girl.  I go back to work and finish off the day.  The drugs help with the pain and I continue to take the Buscopan.  By that night I went to bed feeling okay.

Saturday May 21st I feel great!  It is a beautiful day and we enjoy it.  We are going to a friends house for a pig roast, how fun!!  It was a wonderful gathering and we had a lot of fun.  But by the end of the night, I start feeling sluggish and tell Glenn that we should probably head home.  I was very good to watch what I ate and didn't overdue it at all.  It was just probably a lot going on and the warm day just probably wore me out.

Oh how I love to stay positive...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Easter is upon us.  We are looking forward to a long weekend of reflecting on what our saviour did for us, as well as spending time with family and friends.  We head up to the farm on the Saturday night to be with my brother and his family.  There is also another family of friends that will be staying out there as well...I think there are 7 kids in total!  We hide Easter eggs for the big hunt on Sunday morning.  We had a fun time with my brother, staying up late, telling stories and laughing until we were crying!

Sunday morning was an early one with 7 kids looking for Easter eggs.  It was so cute to hear the excitement in their voices as they found eggs around the house.  We then managed to get everyone fed and dressed and out the door for church.  After church, we had more family joining us and we were having a big potluck lunch for our Easter dinner.

I made sure that what people brought was either wheat free, or if it wasn't, I would just not eat it.  Everyone was so helpful and willing to give me the information.  We had a wonderful spread of food and it was an enjoyable time.

And then my world changed.  About a half hour after eating, I started to feel bloated.  Okay, I didn't think I had overeaten but maybe I had a little too much of something.  We were getting ready to leave as we had to get my stepson back home to his mom's family dinner.  We agreed to a quick stop at my aunt and uncle's as they have been building a new home and we wanted to get a quick look at it before heading back into the city.

I managed to make it up the stairs to the top floor of the house for the tour, and then I disappeared into the bathroom.  The intense cramping started.  And then the diarrhea.  And then the sweating.  Glenn realized I was no longer a part of the house tour and came looking for me.  I am stuck in the bathroom, suffering.  I can't believe this is happening. 

I was in the bathroom for over 2 hours before I could leave.  It was awful.  Yet in someway I was thankful that we had made the stop at the house or this could have happened on the side of the road somewhere.  I am very weak but feel that I can make the trip home.  We get back to the city without any incidents.  Not long after we get home, I am back in the bathroom again.  I have nothing left in me to empty.  And now I am scared.  For the first time, there is blood in the toilet.  I know that it is not a good sign when you have blood coming from your bowels.  I call my friend who has some knowledge of this and I know that I have to get to a doctor.  I pray that my doctor is working the Easter Monday so I can see him.

The Monday morning I call in sick to work (I am only 3 weeks into working and this is happening...NOOOOO!) and then call my doctor.  He is working!  We go in and see him.  I am still having cramping and bleeding.  He is very concerned and tells me to go to the emergency room immediately.  And off we went.

When you bleed from you bowels, you don't wait 6 hours in the waiting room.  But we still had to wait almost 2 hours before being seen by a doctor.  They immediately put an IV in me and start doing blood work.  After sometime, they start prepping me for yet another colonoscopy.  Man, I am beginning to hate these things!  So all through the night, I am drinking the crap once again and emptying whatever could possibly still be in me for a Tuesday morning colonoscopy.  At around 3 AM, I send Glenn home so he can get some sleep.  Sleeping in a chair is not good and I am not going anywhere until the colonoscopy so he might as well be in a bed at home.  He reluctantly leaves me alone but I will be okay.  I am surrounded by nurses and doctors if anything happens.

Let me tell you one thing...remember all my stories of prepping for colonoscopies at home?  How you need a bathroom NOW?!?  Well, it is really fun doing it in the emergency when you have to share a bathroom with people.  You pray to God that nobody is in there when you need it.  The nurses are good though.  I started running for one and they could see that it was occupied so they quickly told me to head for the other one...I made it just in time.  What an adventure!

Tuesday morning, I have to call from the emergency room to my work to let them know that I won't be in again.  Shortly thereafter, I go for my colonoscopy.  Doctor Marilyn Zeeman is the Gastro specialist on call and she will be doing the procedure.  They put me out and do the procedure.  And this time they found something.

My colon is very inflammed and red.  They aren't sure what is going on until they get the biopsies back.  But it is 1 of 3 things.  1.  Colitis  2.  Chron's  3.  An infection

They start treating me for colitis as it looks to be that this is the one thing that it may be.  Doctor is hoping not, she is hoping that it is number 3, and infection.  But the thing with an infection is where did I get it?  I haven't travelled anywhere, drank any bad water etc.  It is a mystery.  I will see Dr. Zeeman

We go home and I rest for the remainder of the day.  I hope that I can go back to work tomorrow. 

Even though I am weak, and still very crampy, I head back to work on the Wednesday for the rest of the week.  Let's see what the results bring about in May.  It is a long week as I wait for that next appointment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Working girl!

April 4th...the day I start back to work.  It has been 2.5 years since working.  I am excited and nervous all at the same time.  I mean, I feel good, but what will happen when I start working 8 hours a day?  Can my body adjust?  There is no easing back into is full time right off the bat!

I am doing temp work and have a position for 4 weeks at a home health place.  It is 6 blocks from my house so I am able to walk to work and only have to encounter one street light.  Life is too good!  It is a small company...only about 15 in the office so it is a nice transition back into the work force.  The people are very friendly and helpful.  There is even a co-worker who is celiac so she gives me helpful tips as well and we swap information back and forth.  I enjoy the work pretty much immediately.  It feels good to be back and contributing something again. 

The first day goes by...and I feel fine!  I am not tired.  I know that I can do this.  My body is going to cooperate with me.  Even by the end of the first week, I am still doing very well and have no problems with energy and putting in full days.  I am so happy! this the beginning of a new life?!?!?!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Interesting Things

Now that I have been wheat free for 7 months, not only do I feel so much better, but I am noticing some other things as well.  One of the strangest things that I have had for sometime has to do with my thumb nails.  When they grow, they have deep grooves that grow horizontally on them.  They are very painful when they grow out and for years I have asked doctors if they know what causes this and what I can do to fix it because it is so painful.  Nobody ever had an answer for me.  Until now...

Ever since going off the wheat, my thumb nails grow out 95% smoother now.  The horizontal bumps are so minimal now and it no longer hurts me.  It is one of the craziest things.  Was it wheat that was causing my thumb nails to grow all weird like that?  I have to kind of believe that it did as they are almost completely normal now.  Who knew that it could have that effect on my body as well.  But for now, I am happy to have them looking normal and to not have to deal with the pain of them growing out.

I found this article the other day and I wanted to include it here as it describes so many things that I went through.  Again, I am not celiac, but there are many similarities with celiac and wheat allergies that cause many of the same symptoms.  I can eat gluten, though many times I do not as it is just easier to look for gluten free foods than wheat free foods.  Here is the article.  Maybe it will help someone else out as well.  I know when I was having my neurological symptoms and there were no easy answers it was so frustrating.  Why was I having them?  Well, we know why now, but how many other people are suffering and don't know why?

Although the small bowel is one of the main targets of the disease, increasing evidence indicates that celiac disease can affect other organs, including the nervous system, thus changing the clinical scenario from what was once thought of as an intestinal disorder to a broader systemic disease...The most frequent manifestations of such an association are cerebellar ataxia and peripheral neuropathy. Gluten can also be involved in the pathogenesis of epilepsy, as there is robust evidence that drug-resistant seizures (mostly of the complex partial type) and epilepsy with cerebral calcifications are pathogenetically linked to a gluten-dependent mechanism, as indicated by data from our group and others. Other neurological syndromes, including multifocal leukoencephalopathy, dementia, myoclonus, myopathy, myelopathy, stiff -man syndrome, and multiple sclerosis, have been occasionally reported in association with coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity. To better establish the role of gluten sensitivity in neurological impairment, three areas serology, genetics, and clinical response to gluten withdrawal-should be considered...In patients diagnosed with cerebellar ataxia or peripheral neuropathy of recent onset, a strict gluten-free diet is often followed by a notable improvement of neurological symptoms, thus confirming the link between gluten and neurological abnormalities.
Volta U., De Giorgio R., Vol 9 March 2010

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

March 2011

I am getting nowhere with this back to work stuff.  No one returns my calls from long term disability, no one returns my calls from work...nothing.  I have no clue as to what is going on or what I am supposed to do.  It is beyond frustrating.  When you can't go back to work, they hound you to get back to work.  The minute you tell them you can go back to work, no one seems to want to talk to me or help me out.  I am lost.

I try not to stress out about it because there is nothing that I can do about it.  I have done everything that I can.  Yet, the days are going by, my disability will run out on March 31st and I don't know if I have a job to go back to or if I should be looking for a job.  What would you do?

I finally put in one last call to my work on March 17.  They hum and haw and say that they need to meet with me.  Really?  Wow...why did it take so long to come up with this conclusion??  The date is set for March 22nd.  They tell me I should bring my union rep with me to the meeting.  And there we have it.  With those simple words, I know exactly what is going to happen.  I call my union rep and she can come to the meeting with me.  We discuss what we know (which is really nothing) but I tell her I see the writing on the wall.  They are going to get rid of me.  I just know it. 

And you know what?  I am perfectly fine with that.  In fact, it is one of the biggest blessings to me.  I have known for sometime that going back to my job was not the right thing to have happen in my life.  I had to mourn the loss of my job and I did that a few months back.  I loved the work that I did...I truly did.  But the work environment I needed to change.  So I anticipate the news that I will receive on the 22nd.

The morning of the 22nd arrives and I meet with my union rep at my work.  It is weird to even be at work again.  It has been over 2 years.  But I am calm and I am ready.  We go up and meet with the Human Resources reps.  Within mere minutes, I had my separation letter.  They explain why (restructuring is a great word isn't it!).  I am filled with such calm and such joy.  Really, truly I am.  At least I finally know where I stand.  I can move on with my life.  We sign the necessary paper work, I get my copies and the union rep makes sure that everything is legit.  My union rep asks to have a few minutes alone with me.  She asks me if I am truly okay.  I tell her that I am beyond okay.  I am going to be just fine.  I am just relieved to have this all over and done with.  My new life is going to begin.  They lost a good worker today.  I will be just fine.  My union rep gives me a hug.  She is not used to this reaction...she is usually dealing with people who are devastated by the news.  But this is a God thing and that I know for sure.

I walk out of that building for the last time with my head held high.  I know who I am, what I have done, where I have come from and am completely thrilled with the thought of what is yet to come for me.

Being the type of person that I am, and knowing that I was going to receive this news, I already had a resume ready and I walked into a temp agency to register with them.  I know that I have my upcoming surgery so I know that looking for temp work will be the best course of action for me.  I do my skill testing, have my interview and fill out the payroll paperwork.  I finally head home for the day.

The next day I am offered a job.  Things are working out well.  Lisa Harper is going to be okay.  I am back to living my life once again.  April 4, I am ready to enter back into the work force!

Friday, July 29, 2011

February 2011

Okay, now that I think we finally have all the issues sorted out with my work in regards to my overpay and such, I think I can proceed with the whole back to work process.  Unfortunately, I just received a letter from my insurance company saying that my case manager has been changed and I have someone new looking after my file.  It really is too bad because the case manager that I had was really good to work with and our communication worked out really well.

So I call my new case manager and introduce myself and tell her what is going on.  I tell her of my doctor appointment and that I have been cleared to go back to work.  She seems very uninterested about the whole thing.  I tell her that I have never been on long term disability so I am unsure of how this whole process will work out.  The only thing she will tell me is that she is sending out paper work to my doctor for him to fill out and we will go from there.  I made this call on February 7th.  Now I wait.

February 9th, I had an allergy test as one of the doctor's (I can't remember which one at this point) wanted me to do this and Glenn and I had been thinking it would be a good thing to have done as well.  So I get poked and I get itchy and nothing unknown shows up.  Pretty much everything that I knew about allergies before, I still know now.  But it is good to have an official test done with an allergist.

I spend the rest of the month waiting to hear back as to what will happen with work.  I hear nothing.  I call my new case manager and she doesn't answer my calls, nor does she feel like she needs to return them.  I am really missing my old case manager.  But there is nothing that I can do about it.  I have done everything that I need to do, to the best of my knowledge.

I finally get a response around the 23rd of February...paper work is in from the doctor but it could take a week to get it into the system.  I ask if they can rush it as my disability runs out on March 31st.  I need to get things in motion as far as getting back to work.  Again, the case manager doesn't reassure me that things are going to get done.  It is extremely frustrating to sit back and have to wait for it to all play a real slow pace.  I am learning some real patience this month.  Here is hoping that things will move once we hit March.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

January 2011

I am loving this New Year.  I feel great!  It is time to move on and get my life back in full.  I schedule an appointment with Dr. Boyko at the end of January as I know it is time to get back to work.

Half way through the month, I got a letter in the mail from my insurance company that said I was back at work and that they were closing my file. I contact them to say that there must have been a mistake, I was not back to work yet. They are all confused. I now have to contact work and they are all confused. In the end, it is revealed that someone with the same last name as me had come back to work and the lady that processed the paper work did not look at the first name and just assumed it was me. Oops, that is a pretty big mistake! I ask them to please fix the situation as soon as possible. I knew that something was up because my last pay was bigger than normal and thank goodness I have a good head on my shoulders and kept the money aside and didn't spend it because I knew it was not right. We then have to go through all the hassle of paperwork to pay back my employer the money and get that all straightened around. What an unnecessary headache because someone didn't do their job properly. How can you just assume it is someone without checking out all the paper work? I wonder what happened to the person who was really back at work? Did they miss their pay? Government workers I tell ya!

I first have an appointment with a surgeon, Dr. Moysa on January 19.  I have thought for sometime that I needed to do something about my breasts.  They are bigger, not the hugest, but big and I am tired of them.  They hurt my back and neck to have to carry them.  I have to pay $120 for one bra.  I hate shopping for clothes as it is more of a chore than anything.  I have to get them to fit bigger so that they fit up top, but then they are too big in the waist area.  Or I sacrifice and make it fit in the waist area and then everything pulls up top.  It gets really frustrating at times.  But the weight of them is the biggest thing that makes my choice to do something.  I have talked to some ladies who have had breast reductions and the stories sound similar to mine and I decide this is what I want to do.

So I meet Dr. Moysa on January 19.  We have a great appointment and he says that I am a good candidate for the surgery.  (Surgery is covered by my health care in Alberta).  We discuss what he will do, the recovery and everything that I can possibly think of for this surgery.  We book it for May 10...I can't believe it will be this fast as usually just to see a surgeon is a year waiting list and I am already being booked for surgery.  But more on that later.

I see Dr. Boyko on January 27 and basically tell him that I need to go back to work.  I have been well for over 3 months now and I am bored and want to get back to normal life activities soon.  He agrees that it is time and I can now make the moves with my long term disability insurance company and my work as to how I will go back to work.  This is a very exciting thing!!!

Okay, but one more pay at the end of the month was once again, too much.  I contact work, and they didn't fill out my paperwork properly once AGAIN and are all apologetic.  I now have the hassle of having to pay them back once again.  Seriously, this is getting to be a little ridiculous by now.  But I work it out and get it sorted out.  I hope.  We'll see how the next pay period is!  Good grief.

All in all, an exciting month with my appointments, but a hassle with my work.  February should be a month of lots happening now that I am cleared to go back to work.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

December 2010

Once again, we are full on in the Christmas season!!  I so enjoy the days and nights being surrounded by all the decorations and festivities that go on in this month.  This year, it is a true blessing to be able to enjoy it in it's fullness, without having to worry about my health.

I do have a couple of appointments that I have to attend to early on in the month.  I have an asthma test, which I know is a complete waste of my time but once again it is the doctor's just finishing up on their end of things so I go to the Grey Nuns on December 3rd.  And guess what???  I don't have asthma!!  Phew, so good to know.  (The last line is filled with heavy sarcasm)

I see Dr. Sholter one last time on December the 9th and he agrees that there is nothing he can do for me and it seems like my body has sorted itself out.  I thank him for his time and effort to help me and I bid him farewell.  I think I am done with all this doctor nonsense!

We enjoy the Christmas season and this year, even though I am feeling good, because of all the craziness that has consumed our lives, we decide to stay home for Christmas this year.  We won't  be packing up and heading to the farm.  We want to stay in one place, enjoy Glenn's kids and just focus on the real meaning of the season and be together and full out RELAX.

We spend Christmas Eve with the kids at our place.  We have a wonderful time of sharing gifts, playing some games, talking and partaking of good food.  We end the night off with a Christmas Eve service and then are home to be with ourselves.  Christmas morning was so glorious.  Just Glenn and I, waking up with no schedule, enjoying opening up our stockings and seeing what Santa brought us and then just taking the day as it may.  It was perfect!

New Year's Eve, we always go to Moxie's for dinner to celebrate the year (and also because I refuse to cook the last meal of the year)  We went to a movie and then came home and quietly rang in 2011.  Here is to new beginnings and the start of something fresh!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

November 2010

I am getting bored!  Yup.  Now that I am feeling so much better, I need to get out and do things.  There is only so much cleaning that a person can do.  It is nice having time off but after a while, you need to be motivated to do something.

Luckily we are approaching another favorite time of year for me...CHRISTMAS!!!  I can begin the decorating of our place, which usually takes me about a week to complete as there are many many snowmen to put up.  I love all the lights and scents and just enjoy this time of decorating and getting in the spirit of Christmas.

We also have our 9th Anniversary to celebrate on the 24th.  9 years is hard to believe.  We are already saving and planning for a big trip for our 10th Anniversary.  But for our 9th, we head out on a cold night to the restaurant "Chop" and enjoy a fabulous dinner and evening out together.  It is so nice that this year I am feeling good and we can enjoy our night out together.  Happy 9th hon!!

Now we have a big weekend ahead of us.  Grey Cup is in Edmonton this year and there are many festivities going on that we are attending.  The Friday night, we are graciously invited by our good friends Michelle and Darren to attend the "Night of Champions" hosted by Damon Allen.  What an incredible event this was!  Glenn got to meet up with many past teammates and it was a fun night of visiting and getting to see everyone once again.  There were a lot of champions in that room that night!  Thank you so much Michelle and Darren!  It truly was an event not to be missed.

The Saturday, the Eskimo Alumni hosted an afternoon event called "Grey Cup Spirits" and it was another event of meeting people, and mingling for the afternoon.  The spirit in the air was incredible in the city!  We then cruised around downtown checking out many of the displays and events that were going on.  There was so much to see and do.  We hit up Japanese Village for a tasty dinner and they catered to my needs of keeping my meal wheat free.

Eventually we made it to the "Spirit of Edmonton" party and there we continued to meet up with more people that we knew and were then invited to yet another gathering in a hotel.  Jamie Campbell of Sportsnet was hosting a party and invited us to come to it.  It was so much fun!  You really had to be there, it is hard to explain the atmosphere and all that went on but before you knew it, it was 4 AM and we had no clue! 

But think about this...remember my post about the Grey Cup in Calgary last year?  How I was suffering and we eventually had to cut the day short because I was not doing well??  Now a year later and I am out 2 nights in a row to the wee hours of the morning and I am doing FANTASTIC!!  What a difference a year makes and what wheat elimination did for me!  I HAVE MY LIFE BACK!!!

We eventually call it a night and take our friends back to their place and by the time I crawled into bed that night I think it was 5:30 AM.  Ha, I haven't done that in a LONG time!  After a quick sleep, we prepare, and when I say prepare, I mean bundle up as it is going to be a cold Grey Cup game.

We did enjoy our time at the big game itself, even though Montreal won again this year.  It truly was an incredible weekend of having fun, visiting, getting my life back and just enjoying all that Edmonton had to offer for this event.

On the Monday, the 29th, I went and saw Dr. Boyko again to discuss going back to work.  We have a great discussion about it and his recommendation is that I hold off until the New Year and see how I am doing then.  He doesn't want to rush me back into anything too soon and still wants to check a few more things out on me just to make sure that I am ready to go.  I accept his recommendations and am learning to be patient and to let my body get fully restored so that I can continue to live the rest of my life out to the fullest and in good health.

Thank you were a great memory!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

October 2010

Once again my favorite time of year!  I have been feeling sooooooo good!  I love it.  Now comes the real test.  The 3 weeks of wheat free is over and now I get to introduce wheat back into my system to see how I react. 

The 5th is my 35th birthday, and I feel like I am on top of the world!  Because I have had such a change in my health, I feel I need to do something remarkable for this birthday.  So I decide to go and get my nose pierced.  I have wanted to do it for some time, and was going to wait until my 40th to do it, but this is the year, I know that now is the time.  I meet up with my hairdresser, who is also a friend and we go to 'Strange City' on Whyte Ave to get pierced.  I have a really cool piercist and she is so gentle and kind.  I get pierced and I am so happy with it.  I think that Marianne was freaking out in the room as she could see what was going on...I just felt a little pinch and that was it.  Little did I know they have to put this big spike through your nose until they put the piercing in...what you don't know, doesn't hurt you.  For some reason, doing this has brought even more confidence in me.  My life is changing and for the better.  I spend the rest of the day getting my hair done, Glenn takes me out for supper and then we have some of my delicious red velvet cake...which I am so happy to have because I LOVE red velvet cake!  Thank goodness I can re-introduce wheat back into my system this week!  Birthday 35 was a memorable one.

A couple of days later, I go out for lunch with my Nanny.  She usually takes me out for lunch on my birthday (when I am working, I NEVER work on my birthday...nobody should work on their birthday!) but this year she couldn't do it the day of so we went a couple of days later.  We do our usual, fish and chips....something we both love and I usually only do with her.  Again, I am thankful to be able to partake as the fish is battered but hey, I am back on wheat!

October 8th, I am booked for a Gastroscopy once again.  I know that it will reveal nothing, especially since my recent turn around with my health.  Before the appointment, my very good friend Lisa is flying through and has a stop over in Edmonton for a couple of hours.  We meet for lunch...okay, Glenn and her meet for lunch and I am there for the visit as I can't eat before the procedure.  It is so good to see my friend once again!  After our short but great visit, we are off to the hospital for the gastroscopy.  It goes very smoothly and I sleep off the medication for the rest of the day.

Now it is the long weekend with Thanksgiving.  Oh how I am so looking forward to turkey, and gravy, and dressing and buns, pumpkin pie get it.  This could be my last "traditional" meal like this so I am going to enjoy it to the fullest.  We have a wonderful dinner with family up at my brother and sister-in-laws place.  It is like heaven in my mouth, all the wonderful dishes that have been made.  But I know that this won't be the norm for me anymore.

You see, ever since I have introduced the wheat back into my system...I am going downhill again.  It is a slow decline, but it is happening.  The energy is leaving me.  I am feeling gross again.  I am back in the bathroom again.  All the old symptoms are coming back.  I know what my life is going to look like in the is going to be one without wheat.  Yup, I am allergic to wheat.  Body has confirmed it 100%.

This diagnosis kind of baffles people.  When you think of allergies, they can vary.  Some just kind of get you down (runny nose, stuffed up, itchy eyes etc.), some are life threatening, like peanuts and the such.  Mine was going to kill me.  It wasn't going to happen real quick, like needing an epi-pen to inject adrenaline in me to bring me back.  But I was being poisoned every day.  That is what was happening.  Because wheat is in SO many things, not just baking and such, I was constantly bombarding my system and I was slowly poisoning myself.  Eventually, in probably 20 years or less, I could have faced death because of the wheat.  I know it sounds crazy, but that is what it was doing to my system.

I have great discussions with my naturopath about this.  I do much research and realize how lucky I am that we have figured this out.  I am understanding more and more of the frustrating battle I went through with the medical community and their search to find out what was wrong with me.  It basically came down to an allergy.  And it has changed my life forever.

I end off the month by going on a quick extended weekend road trip with a good friend Rae Ann to Saskatchewan to visit friends.  It was a wonderful time to go back and meet up with some friends that I haven't seen in years.  Rae Ann's family is like family to me and I so enjoyed going back to her family farm for a visit.  I even made cabbage rolls for the first time and had a blast doing it!  It was a wonderful way to end off such and amazing month!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

September 2010 - An Answer???

My favorite time of year again!  The September long weekend, we headed up north to spend the weekend with my aunt and uncle and Baba and grandad in Slave Lake.  We had a wonderful weekend of visiting and relaxing.  One last weekend to fully relax and be together before the craziness of football season kicks into gear.

On September 9, I have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Ramesh (the lung specialist) to go over my results of the tests he has sent me for.  There was nothing significant but one of the blood tests he tells me he checked for some allergies.  He very casually mentions that I am allergic to wheat and grass.  This sets off an alarm in my head.  He doesn't give me much more than that for information and wishes me well.  I go home and immediately make an appointment with my naturopath to discuss these findings with her.  I can see her the next day.

September 10, I head to my naturopath appointment and take the results with me to show her.  We go over various aspects of my health and then we talk about the wheat allergy.  She suggests that I go off of anything that has wheat in it (and wheat is in everything!) for 3 weeks, see how I do, and then slowly introduce it back into my system after the 3 weeks to see how I do.  My body will be the guide as to how this allergy affects me.  I decide to wait until the Monday to start the no wheat thing as it is Glenn's birthday on the weekend and we have cake and such so it won't hurt me to wait a couple of more days before taking the wheat out of my system.

Monday, September 13, my life changed.  From the moment that I took the wheat out of my system, my body did a 180.  I was no longer searching for energy.  I started pulling out the stove and cleaning behind and underneath it...who does that in their right mind!!??!!  But that is what I did...I had so much energy that I had to find things to do!  Might as well clean!

Virtually over the weeks, my symptoms disappeared.  I was sleeping better, I had energy, I was no longer spending time on the toilet, I didn't have the headaches, you name it, they left.  It was a wonderful 3 weeks.  The real test would come with my birthday in early October and Thanksgiving when I introduce wheat back into my system.  That will be the true marker for what is going on.  Then I will be fully convinced.  But for now, I am enjoying having my life back!  The world suddenly has color again.  I feel alive!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

August 2010

Not much to report on this month with my health.  Things are pretty much the same and I am awaiting the results of the tests that I had done last month, which I won't know until September. 

I did have my Broncoscopy on August 13th.  This is the test where the doctor goes down my throat and into my lungs to have a look around.  The procedure goes very smoothly and I would never even know that he had been down there looking around.  It does seem kind of weird that they were in my lungs taking a look.  I can't think about things like that for too long or I just might start to freak out! 

I just take this month one day at a time and see how I do.  I am looking forward to September, yet I still don't want to get my hopes up.  I have had them up many times before, only to be crushed.  So I just try to wait patiently...and I wait...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

July 2010

Well, Dr. Ramesh was true to his word of sending me for more testing.  The first one is a TB test...I am a little frustrated by this one as I know for sure that I don't have TB but I guess they have to rule absolutely everything out.  So away I go to get a needle stuck under my arm (July 12th) to see if I have TB.  I will have to return in two days to see if the skin reacts to the needle and see if I have TB.  A waste of two mornings but I do it...and it is confirmed that I do NOT have TB.  Got that one over with.

July 13th I go for yet another CT Scan of my lungs to see if the spots are still there or if there has been any change.  July 20th I go for a lung test to see if my lung capacity and all of that is good.

Not much else going on.  Just 4 days of running around to appointments.  I am slowly feeling a little better...we think that it must be the diet change.  I still don't have the energy to workout or do that but everyday energy is improving.  Nap times are diminishing slowly...even a half hour less is a victory!  I will keep doing what I am doing until all this round of testing is done and we get the results back.  Who knows what the results will be at this point.  We keep waiting.... 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

June 2010

Around this time, Glenn and I started to change our diets a lot more.  We are trying to eat as much organic food as we can.  I gotta try something as I am getting no help from the medical system at this point.  We notice a change.  Not big changes yet but we are seeing a difference from changing the diet to mostly organic.  The idea first came to us from watching the documentary "Food Inc."

If you have not seen it, it is a must see.  It will change your mind about food and what you eat.  So after watching the documentary and doing much research, this is how we came to our conclusion to change our diet.  If anything, it was good to be putting REAL food into our bodies.  Not only does REAL food taste good, your body recognizes it and knows what to do with it.  We are so happy with the changes that we made.

The first weekend in June, we attend a golf tournament in Lac La Biche for the women's shelter there.  We have been attending for years and we look forward to this weekend away as it is a fun tournament for Glenn to play in and it is a wonderful weekend of relaxing for me.  They put us up in a wonderful 2 storey hotel room with full kitchen and a two person jacuzzi tub.  While Glenn is at the tournament, I rest, read, soak in the tub and just enjoy being away from all communication with the world!  This year is no exception, we are looking forward to this weekend away.  Saturday morning and afternoon I am doing my relaxing thing...all is going great!  Then my stomach gives out on me again.  I spend a couple of hours in agony and am disappointed that my wonderful day has been ruined.  I get enough energy to go to the tournaments supper with Glenn.  I can't wait for the events to be over as I just need to lay down and sleep.  It was still a great weekend, just could have been nice to not have it interrupted once again.

June 14 I go back to Dr. Sholter.  We review my last blood work and again, although many things are wrong and don't line up, he can't put his finger on it and doesn't know what to do with me.  He thanks me for seeing him but he will be sending me back to my doctor.  He's done with me.  Again, hope seems to vanish.  I try to remain upbeat but it is getting hard at this stage of the game.  Nobody knows what is wrong and nobody knows what to do with me.

I know what to do...I am going to see my good friend Lisa in Quebec finally!  It is a good time to get away and to finally see where my dear friends have moved to and to get some much needed impact in my life.  Quebec is going to be a good thing.  I leave on June 18th and come back on June 27.  Words cannot describe what happened to me in Quebec.  No my body did not miraculously get better.  But my soul did. 
With Tim and Lisa at Gatineau Park, Quebec

Tim and Lisa poured their heart and souls into me.  Their friends did the same to me.  I met a group of people that showed genuine care and concern for me, without ever having met me.  They couldn't wait to come over and visit with me.  It was an incredible time of these people pouring into my life...something that was needed and a long time coming.  Because of whatever this illness is that I am dealing with, I have lost a lot of friends and such due to it.  People didn't believe in me anymore.  Yet these people 1000's of miles away did.  And they did it without even knowing me.  My soul was revived again.  It was also a good time to go back into Ottawa and see many of the places that we had lived and frequented when we lived there.  I left Ottawa hating it.  It was good to go back and make peace with it.  I also got to see one of our good friends from our football days and have a good visit with him and his family.  It was just an incredible trip all around. I didn't want to come home.  Home meant such uncertainty.  Don't get me wrong, I couldn't wait to see Glenn!  But home was not where I wanted to be.  But home I have to go as I have to face what is going on.  I have to keep pushing on to find out what is going on with my body.  This is all going to have an ending at some point!

So home I am and on the 29th I finally get to see the lung specialist, Dr. Ramesh.  He looks over the CT Scan results from December with the spots on the lungs.  He would like to redo the CT Scan as it has been over 6 months and he wants to see if there are any changes.  He too sends me for lots of blood work.  He is going to line up some other tests for me as well and will let me know.  So here I am, home and back on the big wheel of running around from test to test and awaiting results.  Maybe this doctor will unlock the mystery???   

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 2010

May 3, 2010 I am off to see a NEW Rheumatologist, Dr. Sholter.  This morning I wake up and I am doing really bad.  I have a migraine, my energy levels are so low that I am barely moving around and I just feel so out of it.  I have no clue how I am going to make it to this appointment.  I call my friend Lisa in tears as I don't want to miss this appointment but trying to get to it just might completely do me in.  She suggests seeing if I can move my appointment.  I try the doctor's office and the receptionist is down right rude and nasty.  If I don't make it, she won't reschedule me until August.  I can't go that long before seeing him.  I call Lisa back, I have to go to the appointment.  I don't think that I can walk the block to the bus stop to catch the bus.  I am literally that bad today.  She tells me to call a cab to take me to the appointment.  I barely get dressed, throw on a hat and call a cab.  I get to the appointment and just lay on the table in the room waiting for the doctor to come see me.

I guess in some ways, it was good to be at a very low spot that day when the doctor saw me.  He literally saw me at my worst so he could understand a little more of what was going on with me.  We have a lengthy talk, he examines me.  Again, he is at a loss as to what is going on.  He orders up more blood work for me.  He wants to make sure that the last tests of the SSA and SSB are still so high or if there was a mistake in the last test.  He will see me in a few weeks for follow-up.  I don't even remember how I got home (I must have taken a cab) and when I got home, I slept the rest of the day.  Not one of my good days for sure.

Surprisingly, the next week, I feel great!  A whole week I went without pain, feeling normal and having some sort of energy.  That is what makes this whole journey frustrating.  I can have days, weeks etc of just absolute feeling like garbage and then I will get a brief relief period where everything feels "normal".  It just doesn't make any sense.  But don't get me wrong, I take those good times and I run with them.  Glenn always tells me in those times to not overdo it but it is hard not to.  Sure enough, it doesn't last and I go right back into the tank again but I am so happy to have had the time to feel like a human being again.

The May long weekend we headed out to BC and Washington State.  Our niece was getting married in BC and our good friends live in Abbottsford, BC and Ferndale Washington.  We had a wonderful weekend of visiting with friends and family.  Glenn and I decided that since we were there and I wouldn't have much time to spend with my friend Kristi, that I should just stay out there for the rest of the week to visit.  When Glenn got home, he was going to be leaving for a golf trip so it didn't make sense to have me come home and then be by myself when I could stay and visit with my friend.  So we surprised her when we saw her as Glenn got in the car to drive home and he got out my bag and I stayed!  It was a great week just to relax and visit.  My energy was in the tank again so I slept a lot (good company I am!) but she understood and we made the best of the time that we had.  I just hope that the next time I see her, I will be a lot more fun to be around and won't always say, "I gotta go take a nap".  I am so glad that people are so understanding and are putting up with me.

So there goes May.  Not a great month and still no closer to finding out what is happening with me.  But I can't give up hope.  I have to keep believing....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Oh April...

Spring brings about hope, change and a feeling of something new.  And I try to believe this too.  Glenn and I have been very busy the last few weeks doing up our wills as we have had many people pass away from this life in the last little while.  And with things going the way that they are for me...well, it was beyond time to get them done and it is such a relief to have that piece of mind.  I hope we don't have to use them anytime soon, but they are now done.  Phew!

April 4, 2010 we went to the John Mayer concert.  We enjoyed a lovely meal at the Coliseum Steak & Pizza before the show.  Although we didn't know the opening act of the show until we saw him, we were glad that we didn't miss it!  Michael Franti was very enjoyable and got the mood going for the night.  We were really enjoying ourselves when all of a sudden I had one of my stomach "attacks".  Seriously, I am out for a nice evening and am very much enjoying myself, I do NOT want to be stuck in the bathroom at this point.  I tell Glenn I gotta go and if he can please find me a ginger ale at the intermission, that would be lovely.  Thank goodness this happened very close to the intermission so I didn't miss much of the concert.  But then that means that the bathroom is going to be filling up soon.  I really am beyond hating this now.  But there is nothing that I can do so there I am.  I am able to get my body settled down before the end of intermission and Glenn has found me a ginger ale so I am hoping to be able to stay in my seat and really enjoy the show.  The rest of the night was magical.  Thank goodness the bathroom did not keep me from seeing this show.

You know, as if I don't have enough to deal with, I have some toothache trouble and go see my dentist on April 7th.  Turns out I need a root canal and have it done that day.  Why not.  Might as well add a root canal on top of everything else!

April 23rd I go for some more blood work.  They are checking to see if I am pregnant.  But before you get ahead of yourself, it is because I am having my surgery to remove the fibroid on April 26th and they have to make sure I am not pregnant.  This is the one time I happily give blood!  April 26th rolls of the surgery.  Glenn and I settle in for a long day at the Royal Alex Hospital.  I am the last one scheduled and of course they get behind so it was a lot of word searches and crosswords.  The surgery went well and I feel fairly good afterwards.  I didn't get to leave the hospital until late at night as I was already late in the day getting the surgery and then there was just some minor post-op stuff that had to be resolved before they could let me go home.

I get home but have a hard time with the pain management at first.  I didn't sleep at all that first night.  Glenn went to work the next day but we had Kristen, Ryan's girlfriend who is studying to be a nurse, come and stay with me the next day.  It was nice to have her company for the day and to just make sure that things were going okay with me.  I finally get the pain to be manageable and the next few days go by fairly smoothly.  On the 30th, I had a bath in the afternoon and when I got out of the bath, I had a mild fainting spell.  I called Glenn and he rushed home immediately.  Something didn't seem right with me.  I had some clotting so we called the health link and told them what was going on.  They tell me to get to the ER as I have just had the surgery a few days earlier and with the fainting and clotting they want me to get checked out.  We go the the ER they do some tests on me, give me some good examinations and try figure out what is going on.  I am dehydrated, my blood pressure is low for the first time that I can ever remember, so they give me an IV with much needed fluids and for pain med's.  The IV hurt so bad going in.  But I am at least getting my fluids and when they give me a shot for pain, it is the first time in a couple of years that I experience NO PAIN.  It is kind of a scary feeling though.  I wanted more of the drug.  I tell Glenn that I get why people get addicted to pain med's.  I finally had relief for the first time in a long time.  I didn't want the feeling to end.  But they can't just keep pumping me full of this pain medication.  And I don't want them to either.  But it was nice to have a brief period of NO PAIN.  I enjoyed those couple of hours.

I am finally able to go home.  They figured my problem must have been due to the dehydration.  They will get someone to come take my IV out so that I can go home.  This lady comes in some time later to take out my IV.  We didn't recognize her as one of the nurses that we had seen through the night but, maybe there was a shift change or something.  Anyways, she proceeds to take the IV out.  Now I need those wonderful pain med's

Do April's showers really bring May's flowers?  I guess we will see what May brings my way...