Okay, so many of you know I was in the hospital this past weekend. Scary, right? I wanted to give you an update on my formerly-hospitalized self. I'm home and I'm able to eat and drink now! This was going to be a joint post with my review of the new Avengers movie. But I realized this update would fill up a whole post, so the review will have to wait for the very near future. :)
Many of you have probably seen me mention stomach issues. It turns out that I have pancreatitis...and there's no telling how many of my past issues have been related to this. Anyway, I started having one of my time-to-time flare-ups last Tuesday, and I think this time was one of the most severe as far as pain goes. I couldn't eat, and I sure couldn't sleep. I generally ended up in the floor, trying to curl up into just the right position so I could get some sleep. I held my breath to try to cope with the pain and groaned in my sleep. Pretty painful. :( Mama had been debating taking me to the doctor, but I always shot the idea down as I'm really afraid of needles, shots, swabs, hospitals, ERs, and things like that. And anyway, I reasoned, every other time we've gone to the doctor with this (as I've had flare-ups for about three years now), they've never been able to do anything but tell me to rest, so why bother, right? Finally, on Friday, I was asking my parents to take me in. I was in some pretty bad pain. We called the doctor and were advised to head for the local children's hospital (LB) as we've been to the doctor several times with this and have never gotten very far with it. So we headed out between 8:30 and 9:30 PM.
We were there for a long time. They poked. They prodded. I had an X-ray done: nothing there. They drew blood and checked my liver: nothing there. They came in to let us know that they were checking the blood work for my pancreas...and five minutes later they came in to let us know that I had pancreatitis, which just totally floored us and really scared my parents, I think. All I got to say, ya'll, is that God helped me to not be afraid of needles (I had to have blood drawn four times and had to be stuck for the IV twice) and not be scared about the diagnosis (after the initial shock). And I also might have been too darn worn out too care. :) But really, I think I've gotten over the worst of my needle fear, so something good did come out of the hospital.
Anyway...where was I? Oh, they came in and floored us with the news. Yeah. Then they announced that they were putting an IV in and admitting me. Woaaah, people, slow down there! I've never stayed in a hospital overnight and never had an IV done and never had a condition like this. And all this bang, bang, bang right in a row? Slow down! Oh, and they also mentioned that I was on a nothing-by-mouth diet.
We ended up staying three days and three nights. Kind of like Jonah and the whale, right? :) Basically, here's what pancreatitis is: For some reason, the pancreas is irritated and angry. It's kind of...sick, so to speak. And it hurts. It hurts really bad when I eat and the food hits my pancreas to be ground up--because it's already irritated and having to work makes it even more mad. So the best thing to do for pancreatitis is to let your digestion system rest--don't eat or drink (of course, I kept hydrated through IVs). And let me tell you, that's not easy.
Make sense? So they set off to find out what the cause was. Some of the main ones are gallstones (in that case, the gallbladder has to be removed). We had an ultrasound done and found that there were no gallstones. Thank you Jesus! Another common instance is an enlarged/swollen pancreas. I didn't have that; the ultrasound lady remarked that my pancreas looked very normal and was also very visible--good. A blocked duct from the pancreas, maybe? No, I didn't have that either. A pseudo-cyst? Nope. An injury to the abdomen? No, not that we could remember. Nothing at all like that. An infection or recent virus? Not that we could remember. So what is it? We still don't know for sure. In fact, we may never know! Like I said before, the best thing you can do for pancreatitis is to rest your digestion system (don't eat or drink) and to treat the pain. We started off with morphine through the IV (let me tell you, folks, that stuff feels funny at first. Lol!) and later moved on to Tylenol by mouth once I was allowed to drink clear liquids on Sunday.
And I might add that the hospital was so nice. Luke likes staying in hotels, and so when we got to our room, Mama told Luke that this would be like staying in a hotel--and that's exactly how he treated it. :) He and my parents never left that hospital (and my grandparents even offered to take Luke). They all curled up on the futon couch and extending chair for every night we were there and had leftovers, order-in pizza, and cafeteria food for every meal. So sweet. Luke would dab my face with tissue when I cried and bring me my drink when I asked. :) He really took care of me! I actually have fond memories of my time in the hospital because the pain wasn't so bad once they began to give me meds and my room was great. I personalized the dry-erase board and got to use the Nintendo and free movie channel anytime I wanted to. :) Plus, the staff there are amazing and my parents said the cafeteria food was pretty good. :) I had lots of sweet visitors, many of whom brought sweet gifts--people from the homeschool group, our pastor, my friend Christina, and of course my awesome family. :) And my other friend, Molly Grace, and her family sent flowers. :)
Okay...where was I? There's these things called pancreatic enzymes that they checked every day I was there (by taking blood really early in the morning--one time I didn't even wake up, but other times I wasn't so lucky. :P). There is one called amylase (I'll call it "A") and one called lipase (I'll call it "L"). My L was way up when we came in to the ER. Normal rates for both A and L are in the lower 200's. My A was just slightly above normal and came down to normal within a day or so. When we came in, though, my L was around 1300! Amazingly enough, we were told that my case was, in a mild/moderate/severe ranking, mild. Some people's enzymes get up into the multiple thousands! By Sunday, L was down to 500, and by Monday, it was at about 296 and my pain was a lot better--I was practicing old ballet moves and even attempted a (pretty sloppy) one hand cartwheel when I was out of sight of the nurses. Lol. :)
So now, looking at me, you would never know that I was in the hospital. I'm back to myself with very little hints of pain--a little at night and when I lay directly on my belly. We went to see the Avengers (ooh yeah!) yesterday in a sort of celebration and, like I said, a post is coming up on that soon. Right now I'm on a low-fat diet especially for the next two weeks and am headed into our local pediatrician's office for a follow-up. I'm a really, really picky eater (I know everyone out there that knows me really well is totally nodding their heads in agreement. :)). In fact, my diet has caused issues with my stomach before and while it didn't cause this pancreatitis, it does irritate it more. The foods I eat aren't good and I have a big, big sort of phobia of trying new foods. I won't really go into that but I'm having to slowly change some things and would appreciate it if you guys would pray for me in that area. It's something I definitely need God's help with. And He already has helped me a lot with it.
Anyway, I didn't mean to ramble this much. If you made it all the way through, good for you! :)
I'll be back soon with word on the Avengers. In brief, I'll tell you that's it's an interesting, action-packed, and decently clean movie. I recommend it. :)
God bless you and have a great day!