What happened? Oh boy, where do I start! Around the middle of December I started to have some pretty tough stomach aches. They were in my mid-line stomach area & would wax & wane in severity. Because so many of my symptoms cycle through I tried to tough it out thinking it was going to leave soon.. it didn't. Things got worse & by early/mid January we discovered I was fighting C. Diff. The area of my colon most affected was the transverse & descending, but honestly the pain wasn't the same as when I had C. Diff in the past, which is why I missed it for so long. In some ways it was, but in other ways it was another kind of ache I couldn't quite put my finger on. Therefore it really eluded me for a long time to check for it. But alas I had an answer & could get started on treatment for it asap. I believed this would be the answer to all my stomach woes. In fact I soldiered through visual therapy this entire time, which if you've ever had C.Diff you will understand what an accomplishment that actually was. However the C. Diff, I would find out, was just the tip of the iceberg.
As January lumbered on the pain did not get better, and in fact it just got worse. The mid-line pain radiated to my back and my shoulders & would come on in strong uncontrollable attacks. I no longer have a gallbladder, but the pain was reminiscent of when I struggled with that except much more severe. So we started investigating in that direction and realized the pain was coming from my pancreas. And the reason it hurt much like my old gallbladder pain (often affecting my liver too), was due to the Sphincter of Oddi. I hope to write up a comprehensive post all about SOD soon, because it's a fascinating little valve which is small but mighty. When the SOD spasms it wreaks absolute havoc on the pancreas and liver. More so, it wreaks enormous pain.
How do I feel now? On the mend, but not quite there. Managing SOD isn't easy. I've struggled with it in years past, and it always came on just as mysteriously as it went away. As far as this occasion, I really can't say for sure what the trigger was. Why it flared up now out of the blue is eluding me, but I have a theory which I'm working to confirm now. All I do know is that in this process I discovered castor oil packs, and I LOVE them. They are the only thing which offer some soothing relief since any kind of pain medicine is a big no-no with SOD. Pain medicine actually makes SOD worse, so that makes the condition trickier to manage.
For now I'm still fighting the C Diff & juggling the anti-microbials which make me herx, but are necessary. It's a fine balance to find a mix which will kill the pathogen but spare my body/liver (especially with mine being in a more fragile state). I'm also playing an up and down game with my SOD pain & digestive difficulties. So it's a little like two steps forward, one step back. I'm making progress, slowly but surely. Some periods thing's get worse (like high stress situations), and then I feel like I get thrown down into the trenches again, living on a liquid diet and getting IV fluids until my pancreas calms down. I have good stretches and tougher stretches, but I am determined to find a lasting solution. When I'm back on my feet and more stable I will have to start from the beginning with visual therapy, which is a little disheartening. However, I've come to peace with it. Sometimes life throws a wrench in your plans, and although I don't know why it occurred I'm just trusting in the process. I can only take one day at a time & adjust as needed. So for now, I'm adjusting to this & will keep taking steps. Thank you to everyone who takes a genuine interest in how I am progressing, and how things are going. The prayers and the support are deeply felt.