A Long Week Featuring the ER and GI Specialist

On Sunday my stomach pain started to get worse than it had been, and continued to worsen until finally on Monday it was more than I could handle. My RA went to get some EMTs but instead found police. The police wanted my to take an ambulance to the ER but I was not going for that, because there is a fine for the ambulance because it is assumed you are drunk. The police kept insisting I may have appendicitis and my appendix may burst, I tried to explain my pain had already been diagnosed by a doctor and it was not in fact appendicitis. They finally made me sign a release saying I refused to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Next my RA hailed a taxi and we took that to the University Hospital. I was admitted as soon as we got there. And was treated to gastritis of course (and not even checked to appendicitis). First I was given Zofran, which help with my nausea but not pain. A while later I was a GI cocktail, which was bubble gum colored and tasted rather vile. The GI cocktail was made up of Maalox, Tylenol, and Lidocaine. I must say I like Lidocaine much better when it is being injected into my joints. Three hours later I was finally discharge with prescriptions for Maalox and Tylenol Extra Strength.

By the time I got back to my dorm it was about 4, it is safe to say that I did not go to any classes Tuesday. Instead I spent a good chunk of time at the pharmacy trying to get my prescriptions filled. Then I started vomiting about 10 minutes after I took all my medications, which was really no fun and probably the low point of the week.

I did manage to get into see a GI Specialist at CHOP on Wednesday (although it did mean missing more class). She wants to make sure that we make sure that there isn't another cause of the gastritis beside side effects of celebrex so we are doing a few test. She is also trying to avoid an endoscopy, which I really appreciate, but did say I probably would need one. Fun fact I learned during this appointment is the Maalox stops the Protonix from working if taken to close together (too bad no one told me that before so I wonder it thats why I was throwing up on Tuesday?). So now I am taking the Maalox as need, but not for at least 2 hours after the Protonix.

Total Class Count for the Week-4 (although I did have some cancelled in all fairness)

When You Just Can't Push Through

No one will ever be harder on yourself than you are.

When I was diagnosed with AMPS a couple months ago I was told I needed to push through the pain. This idea was reaffirmed when I went to see the PT and OT at CHOP. This is what I have been doing. I have not missed a single class because of my health yet this year. Besides for when the Mobic did not work I have not gotten to the point where I have called my Rheumy. I have not missed a commitment or scheduled event.

I am proud of all these things but at some point the pain started getting even worse this week, something had to give. I did everything I normally do plus put some of the anti-inflammatory fancy cream on a few joints. It is homecoming weekend, I was going to push pass this flare, I had to push passed it. Two weeks ago I had decided I was going to go out this weekend, yet here I am writing this blog post instead (not that I don't enjoy blogging but...).

The past couple of mornings haven't been pretty. I have had to wait 20 minutes from the time I get up until I even attempt to get out of bed, key work being attempt. Attempt meaning I try to stand up, my legs start giving out due to a mixture of stiffness, pain, weakness, etc. I quickly sit back in bed for a couple minutes, then use furniture to support me until my steps are steady enough to support myself. By the time I get to the bathroom to take a shower I need a break, I have to rest before and after my shower. Somehow I have managed to make it to all my classes this week and the homecoming football game today.

That brings me today, I got up for the football game and my joints were BAD, not like a little pain, it was searing and there was a good amount of swelling, actually I don't know why I am using past tense there still is. Somehow with compression sleeves and braces I managed to make it through the homecoming tailgate and until halftime. I am done though, I can't push through anymore. I feel defeated. I feel like I am failing myself by not going out with all my friends, failing my doctor's instructions.
Tonight is an Ice Pack Kind of Night

Hip Update: I GRADUATED PT! Thats right, I passed all the test, range of motion, balance, and even strength!

GI/Side Effects Update: Even though Protonix (the newest PPI I am on) has made the side effects better, to the point I should be able to stay out of the ER, there is still a ton of breakthrough stomach pain. I have ran out of options besides actually seeing a GI specialist so I made an appointment to see one at the end of the month at CHOP.

The Perfect Fit

A couple months ago I did a post about self image and chronic illness and here is my long promised post about clothing and chronic illness.

Shopping, as it is for most girls, used to be my favorite activity, but somewhere along my journey of medical problems I came to despise it. Braces would make it hard to try things on and I have constant restrictions on what types of shoes I can and cannot wear. On top of that I have to think about what will accommodate my joints, should they decide to swell. Clothing is complicated!

Here are some tips that make clothing easier (at least for me and I hope you too!)

Yoga Pants, these things are my savior, they are very forgiving for muscle mass changes and joint swelling. I probably wear yoga pants. Another bonus about yoga pants is they are easy to put on.

Jeans, these tend to be a no go, although I have found ways to wear them more recently. 1st I have let go of the whole skinny jeans trend. When I buy jeans I make sure they are stretchier and a bit loose in areas that swell (like my knees).

Shirts, when it comes to tops I generally go for cotton shirts that aren't too tight and do not have any buttons.

Dresses, I am not a huge dress person. In general sticking to things that have a bit of stretch and are easy to put on.

Shoes, this is the big one. If you recall I once wrote a whole post about taking back shoes. For a long time I restricted myself to sneakers, but that isn't realistic. Since then I have created rules. I will wear shorter wedges for short amounts of time. I allow myself to wear my boots whenever I want because I love them any they aren't too bad. When I but shoes I do check for arches. My PT has said that is the most important factor so I use it as my gauge.

I also try to buy the same clothing brands cause than I know my size or around it so I don't need to try things on.

Hurt Blogger also has a great post on clothing and arthritis.

3 Months Post-op to Gastritis and New Meds, and Everything in the Middle

I have been so bad about updating this blog!

Mobic did not go well, I only last about two weeks on it, then I switched to Celebrex. Celebrex is supposed to be the easiest on the stomach of all NSAIDs, well cause I am me that is not how it worked out.

About a week or two into taking Celebrex my stomach pain got a lot worse, I actually thought I had an ulcer. It was not fun at all. So I went to student health services and had to see a nurse before I could get a doctor's appointment. Right away it was agreed on I needed to see a doctor as soon as possible, but the next available appointment was not till the next day. When I did see the doctor he was really great and prescribed Protonix to replace Prevacid, but did say if I have anymore stomach issues I need to see a GI specialist which I would like to avoid. He also confirmed that it was probably gastritis and not an ulcer but went over all the signs to look for. The doctor also said he would try to do some reading on NSAID induced gastritis. And he put I have an autoimmune disease on my chart so I can get in faster in the future.

At this point my joints are probably where they were before we started switching all these meds and my stomach is probably worse off then it was (which is ironic because that is why I switched meds to begin with). I do not plan on saying anything to my rheumy until my next appointment in November because I am exhausted from this last go around between the flare Mobic caused and the gastritis.

This week I got a cold but I am on decongestant so even though I slept whenever I was not in class yesterday I am feeling pretty good today and only took one nap. I love being able to nap, that may be my favorite part of college.

I almost forgot to post about my 3 month post op mile stone. It is really nice to be 3 months out from surgery and not having another one on the horizon. Even though I still have pain at times I feel like I may have a chance to reclaim my life back from my body someday soon.

Here are some random pictures I have taken:
Hay Rides and Moccasins While Apple Picking on the 1st Day of Fall!

William Penn is Up There!

City Hall! I Really Love Philly!
Roomisa Take on Eastern State Penitentiary!