Thursday, November 15, 2012

Still Kickin' - Two

I could continue to relate all the symptomology but it would be repeating basically what I've told you.  I sort of learned through all this that if I removed myself from me and looked at what was going on in different parts of my body that it helped keep the pain controlled longer and I could be up more... not particularly helpful around the house but I could do my own laundry and do the dishes some evenings.  Bless Carol for being sooo very patient through all this.  She just continued doing around the house and in the yard and if I was up she would talk about what was going on with me and check to see how I was feeling and didn't push me about not being up or sleeping too much.  I had talked with her about not wanting to add any more medications to my body until the liver doctor got back all those results from the blood tests so that he would have as clean a slate as possible for me when he decided what my treatment would be so that if there were side effects with any of the meds he would be able to make whatever necessary changes without the waters being too muddied, as it were, and she understood where I was coming from about not pressing for more pain meds or trying to rush the doctor about getting to see me.  Believe me, when you are waiting to make an appointment with a liver specialist for the first time and you get a phone call and the voice says, "This is the Liver Transplant Center calling for Helen Gardner" it tends to get your attention and I wanted to fully cooperate with the doctor to avoid the possibility of a transplant.

So time passed and I fogged in and out of the pain and time came for my appointment to find out what all the blood work indicated was going on in my body.  A dear friend drove me to Oklahoma City to the Transplant Center, seriously that is the name of the clinic.  I didn't trust myself to drive because of the pain and the drugs I had been taking. I told the doctor that it felt like my body was trying to rip itself to shreds.  I had a war going on inside and he agreed that my good guys were attacking what they perceived as my bad guys in my body and trying to eat them and destroy the invaders.  What it basically all boils down to is my autoimmune system is AWOL.  Every test it seems that is checking autoimmune markers is out of range.  The doctor said that he really wasn't in the mood to transplant me so how about if we try to get you back to some semblence of a normal life by the use of medications.  He also told me that if I hadn't been so pig-headed about getting off the steroids I wouldn't have had to go through all I'd been going through for the last month or two, something that I'd already figured out for my own stubborn self. I told him that he was right, that I had been so frustrated with nothing seeming to improve that I was just fed up with all of it. The doctor said his goal is to get the liver enzymes back in a somewhat normal range and controlled for three years. After three years my antibodies might forget about the ones they thought were bad and he could then try getting me off all medications. Sounds good to me... I'll only be 70 and I'll be ready to go dancing!

He started me again on the prednisone and I'll be on it until I see him in January. Within two days the pain was nowhere even remotely near what I had been dealing with for almost two months. I still have had to take pain pills occasionally but not 4 - 6 times a day. I'll have to get blood drawn in another week, but will not have to go back to the lab during the holidays.  That sound like a great Christmas present to me.  I walked the dogs for the first time in over two months and they were happy babies to go poop somewhere other than their own little yard.  Carol and her sister went to Habit For Humanity and found carpet squares and I actually was able to help lay down new carpet in the living room, hall and front bedroom.  Nancy, Carol's sister, took up the old carpet and padding and we decided that when the mobile home was built they must've paid the workers by the staple because there was a butt-load of staples used to put the padding down. My brother had given me a multi-use tool on one of my trips to Ft. Worth and I figured out that one of the attachments would cut the staples off even with the floor and Carol's eyes lit up and she became a staple and old nail cutting mother!  She is in a wheelchair most of the time now but she could bend where she could make the tool flat to the floor and cut those nasty staples off.  She got after it, which is good because I still wasn't up to being able to help much but when all the cutting, cleaning and prep was done and the glue was rolled on the floor I was able to help lay the squares down.  I was so excited to be able to help do SOMETHING around the house that I was almost in tears.  The best part about it was I was able to do something to help two days in a row.  Not like I used to be able to do but able to help and do some of the repair/fixit around the house stuff that I so have enjoyed doing over the years.  I'll have a good day or two in a row then I will still have a fall out and sleep a good portion of the day spell. I really feel like maybe, just maybe I am on the road to being able to do around the house and next spring maybe I can get back out into the garden.

What it all boils down to is I have missed visiting you all and wanted to let you know that I may be back on the road to getting back to my ornery self. Or at least 2/3rds of my ornery self.  Thank you all for caring what's going on with me and checking up on me.  My doctor said that I'm not done with things in my life and he wants to get me back to taking care of business.  I totally agree with him...

I'm not done yet!


Sara said...

So glad to hear you are feeling better. Your doctor sounds like an interesting character who is not giving up on you either.

farmlady said...

So good to hear from you, girl. You've been through a hell of a lot. It's that Oklahoma stock that keeps you going... and you never seen to loose your sense of humor... although I did have to look for it in between the lines.
Pain is leveling and devastating. Hope there's an end to this soon.
Enjoy that new floor... now go lay down and rest with the doggies.

Reddirt Woman said...

Sara, my doctor is a strange, brilliant man who, as he himself puts it, is about as subtle as a turd in a punch bowl. He is going to tell me straight up like it is and if I'm being an idiot he will tell me that also. He answers my questions and doesn't talk down to me. He believes in his knowledge but is not afraid of exploring new things in his chosen field and I don't believe that the OU School of Medicine would have hired him if they also didn't believe in him. He's been specializing in livers and transplants for over 20 years so he knows the old routines to draw from if needed. I have a really good feeling about the relationship we have begun to develop and that is so important in something that could go south in no time. I have to be rigorous in making sure I let him know about any changes because of so many potential side effects but I don't have a problem with that. As he said 'I have my job to do and you have your job to do to help me get you back to a productive life'. I like him.

Thanks for checking on me Farmlady. I feel like I fell of the time and space continuum for a while and truthfully there were days when I didn't think I was going to make it so I don't think my doctor is going to get a lot of sass from me. I need to go pick up guinea feathers for you!

Paxie said...

Having confidence in the Doc makes a huge difference and it sounds like you've found a gem. That's good to hear and I'm glad you are in less pain!

You've always been so active and it's bound to have been driving you crazy plus having to deal with the pain.

Yep, we want you hanging around for the next 20 years at least!

Keep up that wonderful attitude and you'll be better every day hon!

Lonicera said...

Phew that's a relief. I know when you're not writing it's because it's too much of an effort, which means you're not well. You're too stubborn a cuss (to paraphrase the expression!) not to kick your computer into life and bash something off, with or without the right keys.

I know what you mean about accumulating the need to sleep and the blessed relief it brings, as it happens to me a lot more often as I get older. I want peace and long, quiet sleeps, after which I feel healed and revitalised.

It's a shame you're getting into winter now, when you won't be able to get about much. MORE TIME TO BLOG!!

I enjoy hearing about all your activities, whether about health or carpet.

Roslyn said...

Wow Helen what a ride this has been, still is really! I pray that your liver enzymes will soon zoom to normal & that your auto immune system will find its way back to you!
I have been sort of out of it myself the past couple of months & failed to keep up with everyone!
Hugs this Thanksgiving day.

Robynn's Ravings said...

Such good news that the doc knew what to do and is hopeful about getting you back on the road, as it were. I sure wish you would've written to me about those darn steroids. I would have told you that you can't go off of 'em cold turkey like that! Steroids are NASTY drugs though they are sometimes VERY necessary. When you're having flare-ups like that, you're own body can't make enough steroids (naturally) to fight the inflammation and then you need meds. BUT,what happens is the meds suppress your body's own ability to make ANY natural steroids and it only comes back very slowly, hence the reason you have to cut DOWN on them SUPER SLOWLY. Anyway, I'll stop acting like I'm your mama and handing out advice and just celebrate with you that you're back on the track and things are looking hopeful. Big hugs, Sass!

Terry said...

Howdy Helen
Praise God for miracles that keep
little ole stinkers around to spice up life :)
You'll be a sensational dancer at 70 !
I have been awol a lot this past year due to illness and am so happy to be able to get caught up with you .
I'm truly happy that you have found some answers that are going to help you get back to being you .
Happy hugs and prayers for much progress coming your way .
Until next time
Happy Trails

Ness said...

Oh my word, I have been off for a while and had no idea you were going through all this. Sounds like you're on the road to feeling better and I will keep you in my prayers. Take care. Love you.

Terry said...

Howdy Helen
Happy New Year to you
and all yours :)
Hugs from Texas
Until next time
Happy Trails

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Hang in there! Sorry for my lack of posts....loss of my BFF of 41 years, my son getting ready to deploy and my daughter being in the hospital for surgery and pseudotumor cerebri have kept me busy. I promise to be a better blogger! Love you!

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