nausea and chronic illness

Tummy Troubles: Nausea and Chronic Illness

nausea chronic illness

 

Nausea and chronic illness seem to go hand in hand. I don’t know about you, but my stomach is a mess. I know that some of you are battling illnesses that are from intestinal issues, and I’m sure you and your docs are trying to handle that with your own medical plan. But some of us with other chronic illness end up with tummy troubles, especially nausea.

Sometimes I think its from all the pills we have to take and others, well, who knows what it comes from. Either way I have found some remedies on my own that work for me. Maybe they’ll help you too. While they’re mostly things you can try on your own, some of the meds I have found helpful you should run by your own docs just to be sure its ok.nausea chronic illness

Nausea and Chronic Illness

When you gotta take something on an empty stomach, you gotta do it. I don’t know how to help that situation, but once I’m done with that part, I do this when I feel sick, and have to take the rest of my pills:

When you can’t eat a meal yet, but its time to take your medicine I try these foods:

  • Ginger Ale and Crackers. The old stand by really does work and gets something in your stomach. Just be sure the ginger ale contains actual real ginger. I was surprised at how many soda brands that do not have the real stuff.
  • Slushies.  A lot of things that soothe an upset stomach contain sugar. Though it seems contradictory, it works. I’ve been told that it “tricks” your brain into thinking you’ve had full meal for a while. Not sure if that’s true, but it works. Also, the cold on my stomach, for whatever reason, helps.
  • Kool-aid. Sugary drink again.
  • Jello. I got used to it in the hospital and now it works almost every time!
  • Real Ginger. You can use grated real ginger in hot water. Just take really small sips at a time. This one really works well.
  • Water and Baking Soda. This is good for a sour stomach. (too acidic)  A teaspoon in a small glass of water is all you need. It takes a little while but does provide relief.
  • Apples. For some reason this is one food I can always eat. They’re not acidic and they soothe my nausea by getting something in my stomach.
  • Chicken Broth. They say eat chicken soup when your sick right? It works here as well as for colds and flues.nausea chronic illness
  • Gumballs. This one came from my doctor when I was pregnant. I was sooo grateful. Just another version of the sugar theory.
  • Peppermint Tea. This doesn’t always work for me, but others swear by it, so its worth a try.
  • Milk. Coats my stomach so I can keep medicine down.


Medicines for Nausea

All of these are OTC but you know the drill:

ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOC! INTERACTIONS WITH YOUR ILLNESS OR OTHER MEDS CAN OCCUR SO DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE AND CHECK (PLUS THEY MAY HAVE A BETTER PRESCRIPTION YOU CAN HAVE…YOU NEVER KNOW :))
  • Good ‘ole Pepto Bismal.  Bismuth subsalicylate. I’m sorry, but this rarely helps me. I’ve included it here because it does help so many others. There are many generics available.
  • Emetrol.  Here comes sugar again. This works quite well for me, but  honestly I just have one of the sugary drinks or jello listed above and get the same effect.

Undercover Medicines You Might Not Know Help Regular Nausea

Antihistamines do great in the battle with nausea. They are sold as antihistamines for allergies and colds, sleep aids and motion sickness relief.

Antihistamines for allergies or colds.   I was surprised to learn that nausea chronic illnessantihistamines are excellent for anti-nausea. They’re not marketed for nausea specifically but are often used for it. Sleepiness is a side effect with some though, unfortunately.

  • Benadryl.  (Diphenhydramine) is sold as an allergy relief medicine. I think it works fairly well but be prepared for the tiredness.

Sleep Aids

  • Zzzquil, Unisom Sleepgels, etc and many generic labels. The active ingredient in these pills is exactly the same as Benadryl: Diphenhydramine. Just check the package labels. These work, but yep, they make you sleepy (no news there.)
  • Unisom sleep tablets. These are different from the above Unisom Sleepgels which are just benadryl in disguise. The active ingredient here is doxylamine. Another antihistamine that I think works very well for nausea. Be sure to check the ingredients for which antihistamine you want. In my opinion, this is the better option. Also, Walmart sells a generic version of Unisom doxylamine tabs at a much cheaper price.

Motion Sickness Meds

  • Dramamine. ( Dimenhydrinate) Primarily sold as a motion sickness pill. Does cause drowsiness
  • Bonine and Dramamine Less Drowsy  (Meclazine) Also for motion sickness. Be aware that it still can make you a little tired.

So there’s some options for you. Seriously, I can tell you that using the food items above has given me greater relief than any of the medicines listed here. I start with a popscicle or jello, then move up to crackers and ginger ale and so on. by then I’m usually ok to eat and the nausea is pretty much gone.

 

When I have had severe nausea, and the natural remedies didn’t work, the antihistamines  helped a little. Even so, I have sometimes had to be nausea and chronic illnesshospitalized and given  Pheregan (promethazine) through an IV. Wow what a relief.  Other people swear by Zofran. But again, these are for severe situations and you have to be on an IV. Strangely enough, I was sent home with a prescription for promethazine and it never worked as well as getting it through an IV. But who wants to be in the hospital??!

I just mention this because I have found that if the nausea kicks in, it is best to try to fix it early...before it goes too far. And by using the simple foods above I can head off getting to the worse state where I need medicine or even the hospital to get it to stop. Of course, everyone is different.

This is my experience and fortunately I have learned a method to keep it under control most of the time. I hope you can find what methods work well for you from this information.

How about you? Do you have any horror stories in dealing with nausea? Or just some great solutions that I have missed here? I would love to hear from you. Share your experience with us!

Here’s to feeling better!!!!!

nausea and chronic illness

 

 

Stay Happy,

Kate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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cdc and prevention chronic illness

Will People Blame You for Being Sick?

Prevention of Chronic Illnesscdc and prevention of chronic illness

The CDC, in light of current findings, is set to roll out a huge campaign on prevention of  chronic illness. And it’s easy to see why as nearly 50% of chronic illnesses in America are, indeed, preventable. The costs associated with preventable chronic illness are staggering both financially and in the toll it takes on its victims.cdc and prevention of chronic illness

I am all for this program, the more people know, the better. I would never want someone to be saddled with my illnesses only to find out they could have been prevented. That being said, I see two problems for the existence of people already living with chronic illness. And honestly, I’m not sure there is any fix for them. I guess it’s just another thing we’ll have to deal with.

  1. We will be blamed even more for being sick.   I can easily see people who are told chronic illness is largely preventable jumping to the conclusion that our actions led to our sickness.
  2. It might lead to a lot less empathy, if not downright disdain toward us or even a reason to pay higher insurance premiums or to cut medicaid further.

Now, you and I know that not all chronic Illness is preventable. The CDC knows that too. And their goal is certainly not to cause problems for those of us who are in this category. Their prevention of chronic illness plan is necessary and a good one. For some, it seems obvious how we can live healthily but a lot of Americans still don’t. They deserve to know how to lead a healthy life. And that is part of the CDC’s job.

Why I Worry

It’s the public in general that I worry about. Unfortunately, I’ve already been somewhat accused of somehow causing my liver and kidney failure. Oh, and my arthritis as well. (??) While alcohol and drugs were not a factor in my liver failure (docs are still unsure of the cause) my kidney failure is in part due to my cdc and prevention of chronic illnessmedication that keeps me alive from having my transplant. What was I supposed to do? Not take it? Then what was the point of having a transplant at all?

I can only imagine this conundrum will just get worse. I sometimes feel offended when I have to explain to people why I am ill. Almost as if I have to defend myself for something I didn’t do. But also, what about people who do become chronically ill from something like drugs or alcohol? Addiction is an illness in itself and trying to place blame on any type of mental illness is just wrong.

So while I think its a good thing to push for the prevention of chronic illness, I can also see it backfiring on the chronic illness community. We will just continue to try to educate and create awareness as best we can. I guess we’ll wait and see what happens next.

So how do you feel about this? And have you ever felt that you were being accused of causing what is wrong with you? I would love to hear from you.

cdc and prevention of chronic illness

 

 

 

too much protein

Is Too Much Protein Hurting You?

too much protein

Is too much protein hurting you? Everywhere I turn I see and hear the phrase “high protein”. There are “protein filling shakes”, protein bars at the checkout isle and food labels with “good source of protein” added. There’s protein water, protein meal replacements and a plethora of other products urging us to consume more protein.cutlery too much protein

Why are we so suddenly obsessed with protein? When my liver was failing, just before my transplant, I was told to go low on the protein. Now that my kidneys are on the rocks, my docs again tell me to go low on protein. Granted I was ill both times and my organs weren’t working properly, but it made me wonder: Is excessive protein hard on our bodies? Does extra protein reap any benefits?  And is there no limit on how much you can have if you’re healthy?

How Much Do We Need?

According to the FDA it is recommended that adults consume 50 grams of protein per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet. To be precise multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.35 to get your amount needed. You’ll probably see that you and most others (Americans at least) are eating far over the recommended amount. If you eat protein rich foods such as meat, legumes or even quinoa and add in all the protein laden bars, shakes and drinks that are out there and you are definitely “over-protein-ed”.

The Average Joetoo much protein

It is estimated that on average Americans consume up to 100 grams of protein per day. That’s twice the amount really needed. That seems like it would be hard to attain, but consider this: One cup of milk (8 grams), a 3-ounce piece of meat (21 grams), 1 cup of dry beans (16 grams) and an 8-ounce container of yogurt (11 grams) provide 56 grams of protein, according to the CDC. Now add to that:

  • Popular diets like Atkins and Paleo shy away from carbs and emphasize protein (especially meat)
  • When a person chooses steak or chicken for dinner, it is almost always far more that a 3 ounce portion. Think about it: when’s the last time you went to a restaurant that offered a 3 ounce steak!!!? We eat at least double that amount.
  • All those shakes, bars and supplements out there suggesting that more protein = a healthier you.

Necessity

There’s no doubt protein plays an important role in our nutrition. Too little protein can cause the following symptoms:

  • Anemiatoo much protein

  • Food cravings

  •  Muscle and joint pain

  •  Slow recovery from injuries

  • Hair, skin, and nail troubles

  • Fluid retention

  • Getting sick regularly

  • Brain fog

 

Too Much?

Clearly we need a healthy amount of protein for our bodies to function normally. But what happens when we consume too much?

According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Over doing it can cause:

  • Kidney Disease: When people eat too much protein, they take in more nitrogen than they need. This places a strain on the kidneys, which must expel the extra nitrogen through urine. People with kidney disease are encouraged to eat low-protein diets. Such a diet reduces the excess levels of nitrogen and can also help prevent kidney disease.
  • Cancer: Although fat is the dietary substance most often singled out for increasing cancer risk, protein also plays a role. Populations who eat meat regularly are at increased risk for colon cancer, and researchers believe that the fat, protein, natural carcinogens, and absence of fiber in meat all play roles. The 1997 report of the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer, noted that meaty, high-protein diets were linked with some types of cancer.
  • Osteoporosis and Kidney Stones: Diets that are rich in animal protein cause people to excrete more calcium than normal through their kidneys and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Countries with lower-protein diets have lower rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures.
  • In addition: if you get a large amount of protein from red meat, you run the risk of high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and diabetes among other adverse effects.

What to Do?

So truly, it appears unwise to fall into the overeating  protein craze. Just eating a well balanced diet (I still recommend the Mediterranean Diet) is safer for our bodies. Read more from the blog about healthy diets here.

Now, WebMD states that a maximum intake level for protein cannot be determined for a healthy adult population.

But because of the possible adverse effects, they believe that it is prudent for healthy adults not to eat amounts of protein far above the recommended levels

What’s the Take-Away

I’m going to ignore all the protein added foods and supplements out there. I’m sticking with real food. And of that real food I will choose reasonable levels of protein. Of course, if my doctors advise me differently, that will change. And you need to check with your doctor too. Having our illnesses does alter nutritional needs.too much protein

But, in general, this whole movement seems irresponsible. Somehow we’ve been convinced that we need more protein; too much protein. Savvy ads and marketing try to make it a “feel good” purchase, but really its just there to make more sales.

Your optimal health isn’t the issue with these products, so make sure that you are in charge of what your body needs and does not need. And when it comes to real food, replace the excess protein with nutrient dense foods like fruits and vegetables.

Too much protein offers no gain and the potential drawbacks are unsettling. Eat a sensible amount of protein for your body and you’ll be far better off.

What do you think about protein amounts in your diet?

 

Stay happy

-Kate

 

Natural Antidepressants….What They Are and Will They Work ?

antidepressants natural
  Natural antidepressants. Everyone's heard of them, and lately everyone wants to use them. So I set out to get a more specific definition and try to untangle some of the myths and vague information out there. So if you're ready, Here we go.....natural anti depressants depression help Natural antidperessants  are basically supplements made from all natural plants or roots used in the treatment of depression that are not a prescription from a medical doctor. (Phew!!) Thousands of people are looking toward natural approaches to depression in part to avoid prescription meds and their side effects. Things like nausea, weight gain and loss, insomnia and worst of all addiction. And, to be honest, I think people feel it's a lot simpler to grab a bottle of St. John's wort at the drugstore than to enter the maze like medical world of depression, right?

A quick note however

If you are dealing with depression, you're really cheating yourself if you don't go see your regular doctor first. At the very least you can explain your situation and tests can be run which might find a simple solution like being low on certain vitamins or imbalances. It is possible that your depression like symptoms are masking something else which your doctor can treat effectively. After that there are also activities you can choose that have shown to improve depression: We've all pretty much heard of these solutions, I think. But while the above methods can work quite well, sometimes it just isn't enough. People are still looking for more relief.

The European Situation

Supplements have been long used in Europe and today they are widely used for depression with scientific studies backing them up. In America, these same supplements are not approved by the FDA. The problem lies in the testing and in the monitoring. Here in America, the FDA doesn't monitor nutritional and dietary supplements, and clinical trials use different types of data collection and reporting. That leaves the FDA with the official answer on natural anti depressants: More research is necessary.

So What Do We Do Here in America?natural anti depressants depression help

Officially, as Dr. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D. writing for the Mayo Clinic.org explains: "So-called natural remedies for depression aren't a replacement for medical diagnosis and treatment. However, for some people certain herbal and dietary supplements do seem to work well, but more studies are needed to determine which are most likely to help and what side effects they might cause.  And again since the FDA doesn't monitor supplements the strength and quality can vary. That makes it a good idea to do a little research. USP Verified is one of the first companies that do monitor supplement among others.  Just make sure you're buying your supplements from a reputable company, and find out exactly what they contain.

The Supplements

Most recently, University Health News.com reports that "two herbal extracts -curcumin and saffron- both have been found in randomized, controlled studies to be safe and effective treatments for depression and may be your best natural antidepressant option. Taking either of these natural antidepressants will relieve your depression symptoms as much as antidepressant medications such as Prozac, the research shows." Read here So while these appear to be quite promising for us in the US,  here is the run down from the UK perspective, along with links to studies: From TheDebrief.co.u

11 Best Natural Antidepressants

We’ve found a selection of the best natural antidepressants for you to choose from and try out to alleviate the blues.

1. St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort has been around for yonks and is one of the most popular natural methods used for dealing with stress, anxiety and depression. It’s a plant with yellow flowers. There has been some scientific evidence that St. John's wort may be helpful in treating mild depression. It’s been claimed that it works just like regular antidepressants in that it inhibits the reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

2. S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe)

SAMe is a molecule that the body naturally forms and is available as a dietary supplement. In addition to depression and anxiety, it can be used for many other conditions including heart disease, fibromyalgia, tendonitis and many more. It is also recommended for PMS. It works by making sure that chemicals in the body that play a role in pain, depression, liver disease, and other conditions, actually do their job.

3. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

Like SAMe, 5-HTP is also a chemical (an essential amino acid) that the body makes naturally. It works by helping to raise the serotonin (the happy hormone) levels in the brain. 5-HTP has been known to have a positive effect on sleep, mood, anxiety, appetite, and pain.

4. Vitamin D

In addition to bone health, Vitamin D can play a vital role in the areas of the brain that are linked to the development of depression and other mental health problems. A theory into how vitamin D affects depression is that it affects the amount of chemicals called monoamines, such as serotonin, and how they work in the brain (which is how many antidepressants work).

5. B12

Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins can play a role in producing mood-affecting brain chemicals and low levels of these may be linked to depression. If you have a poor diet and the body can not absorb enough B vits, your mood can be severely affected. Getting a blood test will determine how much of the B goodness you have in your system, and whether you need to stock up. B vitamins are found in animal products like milk, fish, meat and eggs, so if you are a vegan, you should definitely be getting your B’s from dietary supplements and vitamins.

6. Iron

A lot of adults, especially women, suffer from iron deficiency, and guess what? Iron deficiency symptoms are pretty similar to depression symptoms, i.e. fatigue, irritability, and foggy brain. The recommended daily iron allowance in adults is roughly 8 to 18 mg daily (check with your doctor though because everyone’s number is different).

7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential minerals which reduce inflammation and are vital to brain functions such as mood and memory. Your body doesn’t produce them naturally so you can only get them in you via food (like fish, nuts and seeds) or dietary supplements.

8. Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid which you get through food such as bananas, tamarind, oats, sesame seeds, kiwi and watermelon. Once in the body, it converts to niacin, serotonin and melatonin. Most antidepressants work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain and Tryptophan helps to increase serotonin levels without the extreme side effects of meds.

9. Folate

If you don’t have enough folate, even normal antidepressants may not work. Some docs prescribe folate along with antidepressants to treat depression and improve the effectiveness the medication. Most adults need at least 0.4mg daily, which you can though food including dark leafy greens, beans and citrus fruit, or as a supplement.

10. Zinc

Zinc is crucial to our system as it activates our digestive enzymes breaking down food, and helps prevent food allergies, which can avert depression. It also helps our DNA to produce and repair proteins, control inflammation and boost our immune system.

11. Roseroot Herb

A study conducted on whether the Rhodiola Rosea (Roseroot) herb was effective for depression showed that it was almost as effective as the popular antidepressant, Sertraline (Zoloft), but with fewer side effects. The herb boasts strengthening the nervous system, fighting depression, enhancing the immune system and memory, elevating stamina, aiding in weight-loss and increasing sexual function. You can read the full article here. I hope this gives you a little better understanding of what's out there. As a final note, as always, check with your doctor about any interactions your supplements and prescriptions may have. There are some supplements that can have severe reactions when mixed with certain prescriptions. Stay well.Chronic Illness Chronic pain
Hospitalists

Hospitalists…Who Are They and What Do They Do For You?

What is a hospitalist and why did I need one the last time I was in the hospital?

I am in and out of hospitals a lot, unfortunately. My most recent visit in July was pretty scary. I had an aneurysm of my hepatic artery. I have no idea why it happened, but it landed me in two different hospitals for about a month. Back in the old days my primary care physician would come to the hospital at some point. But that system changed long ago. Now I have various doctors and physician assistants handling my care. But this last visit I was surprised to have a “hospitalist” in charge of my case. I had never heard of that  and didn’t really know what they were there to do. So just what is their role and what do they do?

Hospitalists DefinedHospitalists

DeKalb Medical answers that question and shows the benefits of having a hospitalist:

A Hospitalist is a physician who specializes in caring for patients in the hospital and who usually does not have an outpatient medical practice. Most Hospitalists are general internal medicine physicians or family practice physicians. They see hospitalized patients who have been referred by primary care doctors, emergency room doctors or other physicians at the hospital.

When Will I See My Primary Care Physician?

In many areas of the country, primary care physicians are referring their patients to a Hospitalist. This happens when their patients are sick enough that they can no longer be cared for in the outpatient setting. During your hospital stay, you will be seen by a Hospitalist. You will see your regular doctor soon after discharge from the hospital.

Hospitalists Provide Many Benefits to You and Your Doctor:

•   Hospitalists keep a close eye on you.
In case of emergency, your Hospitalist is never far away. That’s because he or she works in the hospital and will see you more than once a day, if needed. Your Hospitalist knows every specialist and department in the hospital. Hospitalists assist you through a smooth and speedy recovery process by following up on tests and adjusting your treatment regimen throughout the day based on those test results.

•   Hospitalists answer your family’s questions.

During critical and stressful moments, Hospitalists will provide honest and considerate answers to your questions. Since Hospitalists are in the hospital 24 hours-a-day, they are able to spend more time talking to you and your family about your care. There’s no time more important to communicate about your care than when you might be critically ill.

•   Hospitalists help your primary care doctor be more available to you.

Having Hospitalists available to treat patients in the hospital allows your primary care physician to see patients in the office with fewer delays and interruptions. This means your doctor can keep you and your family healthy when you are not in the hospital and the specially trained Hospitalists can care for you in the hospital when you are at your sickest. Also, with a physician in the hospital at all hours of the day and night, it’s easier for you and your family to communicate about your condition.

 The Downsides Hospitalist

 Sound great, right? However, some of the medical community feel it diminishes the quality of patient care. Richard Gunderman, M.D., Ph.D. writes in the New England Journal of Medicine that:
Practically speaking, increasing the number of physicians involved in a patient’s care creates opportunities for miscommunication and dis-coordination, particularly at admission and discharge. Gaps between community physicians and hospitalists may result in failures to follow up on test results and treatment recommendations .
And he also adds: From the patient’s point of view, it can be highly disconcerting to discover that the physician who knows you best will not even see you at your moment of greatest need — when you are in the hospital, facing serious illness or injury.2 Who is better equipped to abide by an incapacitated patient’s preferences or offer counseling on end-of-life care: a physician with whom the patient is well acquainted or one the patient has only just met? The patient–physician relationship is built largely on trust, and levels of trust are usually lower among strangers.

So do hospitalists help or hurt?

From my perspective the idea is a good one. My primary care doctor does not do rounds at the hospital anymore. Hospital policy changed a long time ago, so it wasn’t that different for me to have a hospitalist. I agree with the reasons why they are beneficial. Before this visit, I would have had several different doctors, technicians, or physician assistants coming in and out all day. I wasn’t sure who was in charge of anything. So the idea of a hospitalist is a good one. I feel that the more familiar the doctor becomes with you the better the care will be.

Problems

The only problem is, it didn’t work. For whatever reason I had a different physician every time they came in to check on me. Each one would say they were my hospitalist. So the whole idea of having a specialist for hospital patients is kind of thrown out the window. If I had the same doc each time, there would be somewhat of a doctor/patient relationship. But I never got that opportunity.
 
So while it seems like a good idea on paper, it doesn’t really work out in practice.I don’t blame the doctors, it’s the administration doing the scheduling. And as a result, I did worry a little bit that each doctor didn’t know what was going on with my treatment. One doctor ordered more potassium for me and pushed my level up extremely high. That can be quite dangerous and they had to give me another medicine to try to lower the level quickly. That’s where the trouble comes in. Too many doctors would only get a quick glance at my chart, talk to me for a minute or two and that was it. And that led to me getting the wrong medicine, so it’s defiantly a problem.

So, What’s the Verdict?

 The hospitalists were very capable. Each one was very nice, professional and informative. I really think they were trying to do their best. But the hospital has to step up their game. If they keep scheduling the hospitalist the way the did when I was there, it provided no benefit. I hope they can get their act together and make the schedule work with the hospitalists so they can do their job better. It would be so much more successful.
Hopefully, with the kinks all smoothed out this new system will work well. I would still prefer to see my regular doctor, but that changed a long time ago and it isn’t going to change back. So I like the concept of having a hospitalist. More familiarity makes a patient feel a little more comfortable, a little more trusting. And that is something every patient deserves to feel.

(more…)

chronic illness blood work labes fear

Your Chronic Illness + Blood Work = FEAR

chronic illness bloodwork labs fearOh, how I hate getting blood work done. Not because I’m afraid of needles. Nor because of the time to get there and home. Not even because it sometimes hurts. Nope, it’s the results that mildly terrify me. I’m sure you know what I mean.

Now my doctor, and probably yours, has warned me about watching my levels and numbers too much. They vary from day to day and that is normal. Knowing this I still panic when I see something like my creatinine level going up. Or potassium. Or protein. Or (insert your favorite here).

I want to get better, not worse, and with my chronic illness that’s just not gonna happen. The most I can hope for is that I stay the same. So when I found out today that my creatinine is up I cringed. This is exactly the sort of thing that “Normals” rarely see, so they don’t understand the unbelievable amount of stress this puts on us. Dialysis? Transplant? How much longer will I get to live? Not knowing how this is going to impact my life puts me in a constant state of chaos. And that makes it hard to find any security.

I dread going for blood work, actually hate it. But I also know that my doctor can better treat me if I keep up with my regular blood draw schedule. So off I go either once a week or once a month depending on how things are going. Sometimes I even have to go every single day (that’s fun). And while I’m doing that I’m trying very hard to not monitor the numbers too too closely; I have to let it go because that kind of stress is doing me no good. And it makes me pretty miserable. Traumatizing is what it is.

Shifting Focus

So here is where I have to count my blessings for having my husband and my son. My family and my friends. And even an outlet like this blog. It helps keep the fear in check.

This is something i think we all go through and it sucks. What is best is to let the doctors worry about the numbers, keep up with living a healthy lifestyle as best as we can, and realize we are not alone. There is happiness in knowing what a wonderful circle of support I have.

whole new world medical chronic illness

A Whole New World

whole new world medical chronic illness
“Your bikini days are over…”, those are some of the first words I remember hearing after receiving my “new” liver. I was confused. I wasn’t sure where I was. When I first came into the hospital I was extremely ill; the doctors gave me about 48 hours to live. Miraculously, a liver became available and saved my life. But it was an incredibly rough ordeal for about a month after that. I really don’t remember much of it. What I do remember is my hallucinations. I  was in a different city, then I was on a cruise ship, and I even thought I was in the hospital because I just had twins!

But that was not all. I found I could not sit up let alone stand. And I had to relearn how to walk. My body was so weak I couldn’t even write…the pen would shake in my hand. These were the first of many surprises to come. My entire life had changed.I was entering a whole new medical world whether or not I liked it.

Embracing My New Worldchronic illness medical world

It was a long hard struggle but eventually I regained my health somewhat. But I now had what I deemed “sick days” about half of the time. That could mean anything from vomiting all day to feeling like I had the flu to low grade fevers, and more. It meant that I couldn’t do much on those days and its been like that ever since.

Of course I have had a whole host of other problems including Chronic Kidney Disease and arthritis, but I can share more on all that later. The point is that no matter how it happened my chronic illness would change my life forever. To me that was terrifying. ( I have quite enough anxiety, thank you). I worried all the time about what would happen next. Actually, I still do worry even today. But I also count myself as lucky because  I had a lot of support.

So off I went and I delved into a whole new world of hospitals, labs, surgeons, therapists, and a whole  host of things I never used to give a second thought.

It was quite an adjustment. I imagine it has been for you as well. And it took me a lot of time to accept that this would stay with me forever. This is the way it is going to be. Gradually i began to make a new life and adapted to my limitations.  Not that I like having them. But I’ve  discovered that it doesn’t  have to be bad. That maybe with attitude and determination i will find all sorts of ways ways to live happily in my new world. Mostly its what goes on in my head that makes all the difference. So, as scary and unjust as it is, it has to start with a new plan. And for that, I am ready.