Let the Healing Begin... But now we wait
The entire month of February I had felt not 100% and sometimes just down right SICK! I went to the doctor a total of 3 times within the month and found out that the nasal spray, Afrin, I was using and addicted to had caused me to develop some severe stomach pains and I had now developed a case of acid reflux, amoungst other health issues and side effects that come with using this medicine continuously over the course of 18+ months. The Clinic doctor gave me a steroid shot and prescribed some medications for these issues and took some blood samples. I was still thinking "It is just a bug" or "I am just nervous and anxious about _____(1/2 marathon in March). This will pass". The doctor assured me that this was not a "bug" but something else and perhaps something MAJOR.
On Friday, February 19th I went to the Clinic to have them take my blood and despite drinking over 70 oz of water right before I went in, the nurse was still not able to find a vein and take my blood. She even had the PA come in and try and he could not take it either. This was the second day of them poking me trying to get my blood with no luck and I was running out of patience. They sent me down to Conroe to go to a Labcorp since they "poke 100's of people a day" as the nurse said. I hurried down to Conroe, on my planning time mind you, to get this whole thing over with. I was already feeling better than the previous 2 weeks but just wanted closure. Of course, the very 1st poke the technician was able to find a vein and get the blood samples they needed.
The rest of that weekend and even the following week I felt much better and close to 100%. In fact, I even ran the furthest I have ever ran at 12+ miles. I was still not sleeping very well at all with only 5-6.5 hours a night but I was able to eat more foods and I was drinking 100-150 oz of water per day, which is well over my recommended amount. On Friday, February 26th I went back into the clinic to get the lab results. I had looked at them the night before and nothing popped out as bad and nothing was flagged RED in the computer system. When I got to the clinic the nurse took my blood pressure and pulse and it was all perfect. I expected to just shake the PA's hand and leave this whole mess behind me. Little did I know what was coming!
As I arrived that morning the PA went over all of my results and pointed out an additional test he ordered for H. pylori gut bacteria. I had never heard of this but he said it is a spiral bacteria one can get from traveling to a 3rd world country or from eating local/ uncleaned fruits and vegetables or even from a local restaurant. This bacteria forms in your stomach and causes the acid to sit in the stomach and can cause 1) peptic acid disease 2) stomach ulcers 3) tissue movement and even 4) esophagus or stomach CANCER. Of course the PA gave me all of this information as a broad diagnoses but imagine my surprise as I thought this was a "closure" visit and not a whole new ballgame.
He explained the H. pylori more and let me know that the H. Pylori M that tests if I have that bacteria NOW came back as negative but the H. pylori A/G that test for past exposure was "HIGH". This means that I was exposed to this bacteria at some point in the past 3-5 years. He also explained that patients can test high or positive for H. pylori for up to 18 months after they have been exposed and this bacteria can live in your stomach for YEARS without any symptoms being exposed.
He referred me to a GI specialist and said this specialist might want to do a Endoscopy procedure, biopsy or even a colonoscopy (At 33 years of age... AHHHH?!). I left the clinic with mixed emotions. I was scared, nervous, sad, emotional and confused. At first I thought about just shrugging it off since this PA is a true "QUACK" by definition but after talking to my daddy I decided that I should schedule the GI appointment. As my daddy said "Even a QUACK gets one right sometimes".
I came back to my campus and asked my campus nurse her thoughts. She had suffered ulcers in the past and had an experienced opinion so I trusted what she had to say. Despite feeling better the past week she advised me to make the appointment. I called and the earliest appointment this GI doctor's office offered was March 23rd so now... the waiting part. This is always the HARDEST part and where I struggle the most. In the meantime I am going to monitor any pains or issues and I am going to really strive to stick with an acid reflux diet (no citrus, few tomatoes, no spicy) as best I can. Of course, I do have stress factors like a 13.1 mile run/ Half Marathon and crazy school issues thrown in there before then. Plus Chris and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary on a 7 day Caribbean cruise as well (No stress... maybe this will be my FULL healing) the week before the appointment.
I am very anxiously awaiting this appointment as I literally have no idea what to expect and what will be the outcome. But I am confident that no matter the outcome God will help me along the way. 2 Timothy 1:7 says "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind". I do not know what this specialist will do or recommend but I know God will not give me anything I cannot handle without also giving me the strength to do so.
Please remember to keep me in your prayers as this March 23rd date approaches. I am very nervous and anxious about the whole ordeal. Once again, I am reminded of an old hymn which encourages us to lay all of our care on Him:
I cast all my care upon You
I lay all of my burdens, down at Your feet
And anytime, I don't know what to do
I will cast all my cares upon You
Thank You Jesus for yet another opportunity to trust you.
God is good... All the time!