I'm honored to post here because I understand what its like to go through horrible, horrible pain and medical issues. I'm always interested to see how people react to the stress and lifestyle changes. Some people slow down and pity themselves while other stay positive and inspire others; it is a strange continuum. I want to share a little bit of my story, and hopefully it will be uplifting to you.
In March of '06 I began a terrible journey. It stared with what I thought was a bad case of the stomach flu. It wouldn't go away. After a month of pain I just started hopping through specialists: gyns, GIs, urologists, no one could really pinpoint what was wrong. But it hurt, and I suffered. I was taking 20 hour in my junior year of college and working. I was also planning a wedding, even though that quickly came to a stand still.
In April they finally hospitalized me for throwing up bile and not keeping any fluids down for 48 hours. Upon my admission to the emergencey room they shot me up with morphine. It didn't even touch the pain. When I told the doctors how much I still hurt they proceded to tell my parents that I was "drug-seeking" and they would hold me for viewing but would not give me any more medication. Imagine being locked in a little cell with IV fluids, balled up in pain, telling you to stop lying about how bad you feel and they won't even let you have visitors.
At the end of the second day I had a bleed. They did an emergency colonoscopy (not fun). And discovered I had Msenteric ischemia:
Mesenteric ischemia - acute mesenteric ischemia is an uncommon life-threatening clinical entity that ultimately leads to death unless it is diagnosed and treated appropriately. Despite diagnostic and therapeutic advances and an improved understanding of the pathophysiology, the morbidity and mortality associated with acute mesenteric ischemia remain high, having changed relatively little over the past several decades. Accordingly, the index of suspicion for this disease should be high whenever a patient presents with acute-onset severe abdominal pain that is out of proportion to the physical findings. Once the diagnosis is made, prompt intervention is required to minimize morbidity and mortality.Acute mesenteric ischemia can result from any of four distinct processes: (1) embolic occlusion of the mesenteric circulation (usually the superior mesenteric artery [SMA]); (2) acute thrombosis of the mesenteric circulation; (3) intense splanchnic vasoconstriction—so-called nonocclusive mesenteric ischemia (NOMI)—which is usually associated with a low-flow state or profound hypovolemia; or (4) mesenteric venous thrombosis (MVT). (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/525814?rss)
In layman's terms, it doesn't usually happen until you are 60 or older. It also has a 1% survival chance if not discovered in 24 hours. You know what ulcers are? Imagine that along 26 feet of intestine. They told me I was going to die and there was nothing they could do. (On the up side, they did give me my own pain specialist... and he was hot. I wanted to marry this guy: gorgeous, doctor and makes all the bad things go away!)
My mother, God bless her, didn't believe them. She had me careflighted from Dallas to Pittsburg to see one of three doctors could could preform the triple organ transplant they thought I needeed. On the plane I lost all my vitals (death escape #2). But right when I flatlined, I came back.
In Pittsburg I experienced my next real miracle. They did another colonoscopy. All the raw places in my intestines were gone. In fact, they wouldn't have believed they were ever there if they didn't have photographic evidence. I no longered needed a transplant. However, in the next week my small bowel ruptured. (death escape #3) But we didn't know. I was sick, very sick, and my intestines were leaking, but no one knew. A few more weeks go by, they were running tests to find the source of infection, to no avail. Finally, we go in for surgery. Surgery was a great risk, due to a childhood defect (which may or may not be related to the ischemia) I had naturally low platelets as well as extra varicose veins covering all my organs. The risk of internal bleeding was incredible. (death escape #4)
Surgery should have taken 2-4 hours. It took 12. I have read the surgeon's log, its not pretty (even when its all facts and no emotion). They spent hours trimming back veins, each one liable to kill me, just to get to the rupture. I was completely seperated, my colon had wrapped around the two pieces small intestine and held them together, forming a kind of capsule which kept me from dying. Even the surgeon told my family: God's the only reason she's still alive.
I spent another month in recovery. I now have a 24 inch scar across my stomach in the shape of a Mercedes Benz symbol. I lead a completely normal life besides blood thinners and regular labs. All that time in the hospital people around the world prayed for me, sent good thoughts my way, etc. Many of these people I didn't even know. I'm not advocating religion, but I do think the positive thoughts of people can make a difference in someone's life. I never really believed I was going to die, maybe it was denial but I think I just knew somehow that I would make it.
I often wonder why I was saved. So many people die in accidents every day. But I have made it my mission to live every day better because I'm so lucky. I plan to write about my experiences in the hopsital (this barely scratches the surface). Every morning I get in the shower and see that scar and it reminds me of my promise. I hope reading this makes you think about what is most important to you and if your life was cut short tomorrow what would you do? Take that thought and live everyday like its your last. The richness I have discovered by doing this has made me a better person and I wouldn't change anything that has happened... except the medical bills, those sucked.
If you are interested in more of my writing, including stuff about my upcoming book it is here: Kat Scratch or you can check out my business blog: http://www.veribatim.com/blog/