Wasting Away

It’s been difficult for me to write another post. I started and stopped more times than I can count. Each time I began I felt tremendous sadness and disappointment. This was because I couldn’t read anymore. I couldn’t write. My brain fog had gotten so bad that I lost control of my most basic functions. I would start a sentence and forget the point I was trying to make. I could no longer think of simple words, let alone write paragraphs. I had to let go of things that used to make me happy, like writing my blog, because my brain wasn’t processing at my usual rate.

This brain fog was due to severe malnutrition and dehydration. My symptoms were so bad that I couldn’t walk without the assistance of a walker. I couldn’t eat more than a few bites of food. My output transit time was less than 30 minutes. I had to receive IV hydration twice a week to survive. I was hospitalized every few weeks. I was wasting away in front of my husband’s eyes. And he was fearful I was going to die.

Truthfully, I was scared I was going to die too.

For months I advocated for myself with doctors, pleading with them to figure out what was wrong with me. But no one could figure out why my output was straight liquid. They couldn’t figure out the source of my severe pain. They tried to treat the symptoms with hydration fluids and pain medication, but the underlying cause was still unknown. I tried every medicine they threw at me. I even went on TPN to try and improve my nutritional status. But nothing changed.

As time went on I began to believe it would never get better. I began to feel the crushing weight of my medical problems (and the crushing weight of the medical bills piling up.) I was scared, my husband was scared. and my family was scared.

At my wit’s end, my family flew me to California to receive treatment from a renowned hospital. I was discouraged that anyone could figure out what was wrong, but knew my care in Alabama was subpar. So I agreed to fly out and be treated at Sharp Hospital.

I was blessed with an amazing physician and outstanding nurses who really listened to me! Within a matter of just a few days on the floor the doctor determined what was wrong with me. She diagnosed me with C. Diff. She was confident that with proper treatment I would make a full recovery.

C. difficile (or C. Diff) is a severe infection that causes people to become dehydrated and sometimes need to be hospitalized. Signs and symptoms of a severe C. Diff infection that I had include:

  • Watery diarrhea 10 to 15 times a day
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Blood in the stool
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Increased white blood cell count

Those symptoms plagued me for months. I continually was admitted because of my unsafe heart rate and low blood pressure. Somehow the doctors in Alabama missed this infection, or didn’t treat me properly if they did test me for it. At first I was frustrated, but I realized that being angry would help nothing.

Instead, I am choosing to be excited about the improvement in my health status; I am thrilled to say that after two weeks on the oral antibiotic I am finally improving. I have color in my face again. I am eating three meals a day. I am walking without assistance. I can read and write again. I am no longer wasting away.

I am proud of how hard I fought this past year to stay alive. I am proud of my husband for staying positive and staying with me throughout the hellacious period. I am grateful for my family for never giving up on me. And I am thankful for every one of you who helped us through this.

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