I was very determined to figure out what was going on with my digestive issues. As I told you in my last post I have had stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and weakness for over twenty years. My symptoms were getting worse. I also started having stomach cramps and more bad days than good days.
I already had a colonoscopy. The next procedure on the list was an upper endoscopy. Compared to the colonoscopy the endoscopy was a walk in the park. I’m glad I decided to have the worst of the two first. My upper endoscopy went well. It did show that I have acid reflux. So add that to my symptom list; I have heartburn most nights now.
The next recommended procedure was the Pill Cam. This is a tiny camera that you swallow and it takes thousands of pictures of your small intestine. It was a painless procedure. I went in one morning and swallowed the pill, they placed a small strap around my waist that holds a recorder and the photo shoot began.
Later that afternoon I returned to the doctor’s office to turn in the recorder and belt. The camera comes out….um, naturally.
Five days before Christmas my Gastroenterologist called and left a message on my answering machine with the results from the Pill Cam test. He informs me that I have ulcers in my ileum or small intestine. He states that two things cause ulcers in this area; taking NSAIDs such as Aleve and Ibuprofen or Crohn’s disease. He knew that I don’t take NSAIDs so he said that he is worried that I have Crohn’s disease.
I played the message over and over. I listened closely to every word that he said. But I decided to put this news in the back of my mind and enjoy my Christmas holiday as much as possible.
In a way I was relieved. I finally have answers after all these years, but on the other hand, it was not the news I wanted to hear. No one wants to be told that they have yet another chronic disease.
*Crohn’s disease is a rare, chronic inflammatory bowel disease. There is no cure for Crohn’s and it sometimes causes life-threatening complications. Crohn’s disease causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and fatigue. Some people may be symptom-free most of their lives, while others can have severe chronic symptoms that never go away…Another Life Sentence for me, Another rare disease that most people don’t understand, Another auto-immune disease, Another disease with no cure to add to the list of others that I already have such as Fibromyalgia, and Interstitial Cystitis.
The good news is that I have had Crohn’s for over twenty years and now my doctor will know how to treat it. For the last five years, I was convinced that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Another doctor suggested it based on my symptoms. At first, I didn’t agree with him but my symptoms seem to fit. The symptoms of IBS and Crohn’s can be very similar.
My Gastroenterologist immediately started me on an antispasmodic. It helps reduce the symptoms of stomach cramping. He also started me on Budesonide. It decreases symptoms such as pain and diarrhea. Budesonide is an anti-inflammatory drug.
Within a few weeks, I started feeling better. I wasn’t nauseated all the time, the stomach cramping was reduced and I rarely had any diarrhea. I felt somewhat human-like again. It was a great feeling!
I am thankful that I have answers to a question that affects my life daily. I am thankful because I know that the Lord will be beside me, guiding me no matter what is going on in my life. I also know that my struggles make me realize just how strong I am.
Stay tuned to find out why this feeling of relief only lasted a few weeks…