I have struggled to write this post for several reasons. One, I don't want to seem like a complainer. Two, I'm on an emotional roller coaster. And three, I honestly just wanted to keep my problems to myself. But several of you have asked and have prayed for me and I believe in the POWER of prayer. And I need prayer! I appreciate them more than you know. So I'll start from the beginning so you can get the entire picture...
October 2006: I went for my yearly check up with the doctor that I think most women dread. I had never had any problems, but when I left the doctor's office that afternoon I called Donny and told him that I was having severe pain. I knew that something wasn't right. We went to an Auburn football game the next day and I was miserable. I spent the next several weeks at the doctor's office. First I was told it was a bladder infection and after that medication didn't help I was sent for an ultrasound. I was then told I had a cyst on my ovary. I was given some pain medication. Then I went back for the last time after nothing was giving me any relief and a fifth doctor told me that it was my kidneys I knew it was time to find a new doctor. I was in pain for over a month. All of this during the end of my internship.
December 2006: I go to my new doctor (Dr. He@d) and on my first visit he felt I either had an appendicitis or endometriosis. He wanted to do surgery to find out. I was graduating from Auburn that weekend. I of course didn't want to miss that. So he gave me some pain medicine to get me through and told me the signs to watch for with my appendix. So I had surgery days after my college graduation. He determined that I had endometriosis.
I had a couple of months of relief, but the pain started back. Dr. He@d suggested that I start the Lupr0n shots. I was suppose to get about 3 months of relief that only turned into roughly two months. I took another dose with no relief.
July 2007: Dr. He@d wanted to go back in to clean me out again. He again told me that I still had endometriosis.
I got some relief for a little while, but still didn't feel good the majority of the time. I continued to go back for roughly a year and a half while changing medications. I finally just felt that Dr. He@d had given up on me. He pretty much told me there was nothing else he could do. I was also planning my wedding at the time so I just kept pushing through.
August 2008: I moved to Ca1era Middle School to teach fourth grade.
I happen to be talking to one of my co-workers about my issues and she told me about the practice that she was going to. I did some research and they happen to specialize in pelvic pain. I made my appointment for my annual check up for March at OB/GYN South.
March 2009: Thanks to my co-worker and many prayers I met Dr. Adcock. He did the normal exam and then after several questions he took me into his office for further discussion. It was that day that I knew that I was going to get through this. He let me know that I wasn't crazy and what I was feeling was real (something that I questioned a lot.) He didn't believe that I had endometrosis from my answers, but of course he couldn't confirm that himself without surgery. He then sent me for some test/ultrasound. But after he looked at the pathlogy report from my surgeries there wasn't evidence of endometrosis...gggrrrrhhhh!
April 2009: I had to go to the Brookwood office for test/ultrasound. After my test he met with me in his office. He diagnosed me with interstitial cystitis (IC) which is a painful bladder condition. Also pelvic congestion syndrome, which is varicose veins in the pelvic area. I started on some medication and a change in my diet to help control the symptoms. Side note...I appreciated the amount of time he spent discussing everything with me.
Fall 2009: Dad was in the hospital fighting for his life. I can't begin to tell you how much stress I was under between being a wife, going back in forth to the hospital, graduate school, and working. And I honestly can't remember when I started taking the medication Aygest!n because that whole year was a big blur to me.
October 2009: Dad passed away.
Winter 2010: I went to see Dr. Adcock for a check up. I told him that I couldn't take the Aygest!n because my mood swings were HORRIBLE along with the nights sweats, and hot flashes. I told him I was going to lose my job because I wasn't a nice person. We made some adjustments in my medicine. I'm sure there were several factors due to stress and grieving.
March 2010: Donny and I decided that we wouldn't try to get pregnant, but we wouldn't prevent it either. (I'll be completely honest the process of making a baby was VERY painful.)
July 2010: I finished grad school therefore we started trying to get pregnant.
December 2010: We went to see Dr. Adcock because we weren't getting pregnant. He did some blood work to see what my levels were. My levels were normal. He told me that whenever we were ready to take further steps to come back to see him.
January 2011: We met with Dr. Adcock and if I wasn't pregnant that month we were going to start with Clom!d. I was very hesitate to start that medicine for fear of the side effects. Thankful we didn't have to start that medicine because we found out we were pregnant! We were so excited!!!
January-September 2011: I couldn't not have asked for a better pregnancy (minus the caffeine incident that was all my fault.) I was pain free for the entire pregnancy.
September 29, 2011: Our precious baby girl, Cora Jane, made her entrance into this world. Labor and delivery was a breeze.
I tried to breastfeed but I couldn't get my milk supply to keep up with my child. I finally gave up when Cora Jane was about 5 weeks old.
November-December 2011: Donny had to stay on me about eating. I had no appetite or desire to eat food.
Then February 2012 came...
It was a Friday night and when Donny and I went to bed I told him that I just didn't feel right. By Saturday I was miserable. I was hurting on my left side which was odd because I had only had the intense pain before pregnancy on my right side. Sunday the pain was very intense and I was MISERABLE! Monday afternoon I was at Dr. Adcock's office. He examined me and I was in tears it hurt so bad. Mind you that I have a very high tolerance for pain. He thought that I might just be having a flare up with the IC. He inserted a solution to help calm my bladder. He did this for several weeks and I was getting less than one day of relief. All while having to deal with the pain as I was going back on a weekly basis every time I stepped on the scales I was losing a pound here or two or three pounds. By this point Donny was becoming concerned and brought it to my attention. I mentioned it to Dr. Adcock and he order for blood work to check my thyroid...it came back normal. He told me to go on an ice cream diet and eat ice cream every night. Who wouldn't like that kind of diet...well when you have no appetite it isn't as much fun.
(I have wondered if the weight issue had anything to do with me not being able to produce breastmilk.)
At some point during these visits we discussed about having surgery to see what was going on. I was very hesitate because I didn't want to be out of commission as a mommy or wife.
March 2012: I was still having intense pain. By this point I knew that I needed surgery. We went for an appointment before spring break. Dr. Adcock gave me some trigger point injections that gave me some relief. It was at this visit that we all agreed that it was time for surgery.
April 2012: I had another visit after spring break to get some more trigger point injections.
April 13, 2012: After praying Psalm 3:5 over and over because I was so afraid I wouldn't wake up I was in recovery and everything went well. Dr. Adcock saw NO endometiosis, severe pelvic congestion, a cyst on my right ovary, my bladder looked good, and my appendix was inflamed therefore he removed it. I recovered well and Donny did a great job of taking care of me and Cora Jane.
(Even with the inflamed appendix and cyst the pain on my left side was alway much more intense than on the right side.)
April 27, 2012: Donny and I went for my post-op appointment. We discussed our plan. He wanted me to continue the medication for my bladder and he suggested trying Aygest!n again. He also wanted to send me to his partner, Dr. Childs, that specializes specifically in pelvic pain. He also wanted me to see a gastro doctor because he saw that my gallbladder was enlarged and he thought that be causing the weight issue.
(I will tell you that my husband's solution to the whole thing was to get pregnant again. I on the other hand am not ready for another baby ANY TIME SOON!)
May 9, 2012: I went to see the gastro doctor and he didn't think that my gallbladder was the problem, but wanted to get an ultrasound just to make sure. He believed I had a condition called gastroparesis, which is when your stomach doesn't empty correctly. He sent me for the test where you have to swallow white chalky stuff and they take x-rays.
I was also feeling a little sick and I didn't want to let it get bad because I've been close to pneumonia a couple of times and I wanted to avoid that at all cost. So, I left the gastro doctor and went to Dr. Snyder. As soon as his sweet nurse called me she mentioned something about my weight and I felt crushed. (If you only knew how many people had commented on my weight and all of them who were on me. I felt helpless.) I got on the scales and my heart sank as I saw those numbers. I don't ever remember being this small and I was doing all that I could to put on some weight. Dr. Snyder walks in and the first thing he says to me is "What are you doing weighing ____ pounds?" I burst into tears. I gave him the short version of the story and he asked several questions. He had my white blood count checked and it came back normal. He told me to see what the gastro doctor finds out first.
May 11, 2012: I went to Brookwood for those test. That white chalky stuff was nasty!
May 14, 2012: They called with the results of the tests. The upper GI and lower bowl series tests came back normal which meant that I didn't have gastroparesis. I did have gallstones and he wanted me to see a general surgeon.
(All while this is going on I'm still hurting. I have my game face because I don't want people to feel sorry for me or make other miserable.)
May 22, 2012: I wasn't suppose to see Dr. Childs until August, but they had some cancellations. I was going to see him the next day. It couldn't have come a better time.
May 23, 2012: We had to be at Dr. Child's office at 7:30. I'll be frank with you I was so scared that he was going to be this little old man with no personality and horrible bedside manners. Thankful he was nothing like what I had envisioned. Donny had stopped at Dr. Adcock's door to talk to him about his half-side of beef...long story. But Dr. Child's asked some questions about the cattle and it turned into a funny conversation. I was already impressed. He asked some questions and then I started from the beginning in the most condensed version I could give him without leaving out the important facts. I also told him about my weight loss/lack of appetite. Donny let him know real quick that it was really his top concern at this point. Dr. Child's said that he was also very concerned. He then sent me for an ultrasound/doppler. The nurse confirmed what we already knew that I had those varicose veins. We went back to see Dr. Child's and he did a full examination.
So, this is where we are at...I'm going to start physically therapy because I have some very deep, tense muscles and muscle spasms. I'm going to take a much smaller dose of Aygest!n to increase my progesterone levels (like when I was pregnant). If I can't handle the side effects there are other options. He also gave me two other medications to relax my muscles and to help with the pain. BUT NO NARCOTICS...I don't like taking pain pills at all! He ordered a lot of blood work to check my thyroid more in depth and a few other things. He also wants me to get the hid-a-scan test to see how much my gallbladder is functioning (not excited about that one.) He said that he hopes that we can avoid another surgery so soon. He has also suggested that I see an endocrinologist if my blood work and hid-a-scan come back normal, but said he wouldn't be opposed to referring me to one anyway.
I was extremely pleased with the doctor visit with Dr. Child's. I feel good about his plan and like he said looking forward to getting the "old Shannon back." I desperately want to be able to be pain free and be the wife that Donny deserves and the mommy that Cora Jane needs. I'm very grateful that Dr. Adcock was honest that he had exhausted his options and was willing to send me to Dr. Child's for his expertise.
If I can make one request...please don't say "well I wish I had that weight loss problem." I am having a much trouble putting on weight as you might be getting weight off. And I'm to the point where I don't like the way I look. My phrase to Dr. Child's, "I feel like a bag of bones." So, just pray or at least be mindful if you want to comment on my weight issue.
If you made this far...bless you! I know that was a lot. But thank your for your prayers and concern. I will update as soon I get more information.