Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Story Begins...(Part V)

     2011: I began to read up on my condition. I came across a medical journal online about some Crohn's patients in the UK being treated with a substance called TPN (total parenteral nutrition) through a catheter that is placed in the arm or chest. They were basically test dummies subjects, but after a period of time being treated, they experienced remission from their symptoms. You see, when you have Crohn’s or UC (Ulcerative Colitis), your intestines do not properly absorb nutrients from the foods you eat which means you have a lot of vitamin deficiencies and you are usually underweight. The TPN contains essential calories, vitamins and nutrients and it’s infused directly into your bloodstream, bypassing your gut. I gained about 20 lbs on the TPN. 

     For two years I was free of Crohn’s flares. I worked and played and did not worry or think too much about Crohn's. I wasn't completely asymptomatic, but the symptoms were very well controlled and my weight was stable. I still cried out to God for complete healing because TPN was only a temporary fix. It felt like my prayers were getting through because I know He led me to find out about TPN, but the Crohn’s was still there. In fact, my husband and I tried to have a baby around this time, but I was told I had a diminished chance of conceiving due to the Crohn’s.

     I went back to school in 2012. I am now enrolled in the Urban Ministry Leadership Degree Program at Lancaster Bible College's Center for Urban Theological Studies -Philadelphia Campus. My expected graduation date is December 2014. I believe that I have found my passion. I always say “I want to help hurting people.” I do that to some degree now, but with my schooling, I believe I will learn and be inspired to do it on a grander scale.

     The success with the TPN came to a halt in February of this year (2013). I developed a blood clot in my arm where the catheter was placed. This catheter was used to self-infuse the TPN every night for 12 hours. It was removed in February because a blood clot is nothing to play with! Medics placed a catheter in the other arm but after 3 days, a clot formed there! God had spoken. Enough was enough! BUT...Immediately, I began to lose weight. I began having Crohn’s symptoms again in May and by July, I had lost the 20 lbs that I gained on the TPN and was a mere 115 lbs.

     But, I never lost faith. I never wavered. In fact, I prayed more during this time. I really believed in a miracle. However, hope began to fade bit by bit; my entire summer, it seems, was spent at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. I longed for a real vacation, but it seems like all I could get was a nurse waiting on me or a dietary aide bringing me more of that 'oh so delicious' chicken broth and jello (note the sarcasm), which was all I could eat on many days. I tried to go back on the Remicade but my body now rejected it. I went into shock during my 1st infusion. 

     On top of that, I had developed a huge abscess in my colon and had to have an external drain placed to pull the fluids out of the abscess. Boy was that painful!! I had long tubing sticking out of my side (attached to a drainage bag) around my waist or leg (depending on what I was wearing) for about 2 months. I could see the looks of pity on my family members, friends’, and even the doctors faces; it seemed like they had exhausted all of their options as far as treatment went. I just continued to hold on with all my might. 

     That’s another thing about having Crohn’s; it hasn't just affected me physically, but emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and financially. I'm still trying to re-build my credit that was badly affected due to my sketchy past work history. There were many times that I considered just taking some pills or buying a gun and just ending it all. I often thought about just “how much would it really hurt to slit my wrists?” But I know that suicide is a sin and I also couldn’t bear the thought of hurting my family so much. I often had to take a drive, read a book, call a friend, something...anything to get my mind right on many occasions.

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