My health history in a nut shell would have me blogging for the rest of my life…. so to just give you a little backstory of when my illness began and not bore you with the details here it goes….
- In 2005, I started becoming ill with these re-occurring abscesses, that unfortunately were all in different areas such as my tailbone, buttox, and axillary “underarm” area. During this time every doctor I seen would say they were just “cysts”, “boils” or “abscesses”, and they’d quickly schedule an I&D (incision & drainage) to remove the infection, swelling, & relieve some pain. I was prescribed everything under the moon….well it seemed like that at the time, little did I know what medications still lied ahead in order to gain control over these life changing illnesses. After 2 years of re-occurring abscesses’, countless surgeries later and having been referred to some of the best Hospitals in California I still had no answer why this kept happening to me! I tried to just continue with life…with the support of my Wonderful Husband♥ & Amazing Family (aka) Familia♥ who were all my backbone during this time and helped me endlessly along this journey. I continued to work and attend & complete nursing school through it all, but in the mean time I would have these flare-up’s that would put me back in the hospital, more than several times a year, as soon as I started pushing myself or undergoing a lot of stress. It soon became a routine every 2 months back for a surgery I & D’s, nights in the hospital and upon returning home endless wound care, cysts baths, and gauze packing that was EXTREMELY PAINFUL!!! I unfortunately had to undergo a lot of pain, time and time again, undergoing countless surgeries by several different hospitals, which all contributed to finding out exactly what was happening to me during my mid 20’s, when I was attacked by what I call an “AutoImmune Ambush”.
- Around this time I began feeling extremely tired, as if I just ran a marathon, feeling abdominal cramping throughout the day, hot flashes were off the hook, along with an occasional rash from my legs up to my waist, and I was having this urgency to go to the bathroom almost immediately after eating. These symptoms came on rather quickly and what seemed like all of a sudden, everything I’d eat would just come right out… my body was not absorbing anything (nutrients, vitamins or fats). I dropped 25 pounds in about 3 months, had no energy whatsoever, and I had this low grade fever almost all day! I knew something was seriously wrong, what woman in her 20’s (at the time) can’t hold it long enough to run to the bathroom in a department store (Truth hurts!) #Livewithguts
After calling a local Gastroenterologist from the area, seeing him & going over all my symptoms, he decided to schedule a Colonoscopy later that week to see if he could figure out what was causing this . As you can imagine the anticipation was everything and my husband & family were in the waiting room to support. Quickly after the procedure was complete the doctor came out and said, “Well, your colonoscopy showed positive for severe Crohn’s Disease”. I think I heard bits & pieces of that sentence in the moment, which later my husband explained more in detail . Ok, so I thought to myself….now I have an answer as to why this is happening and maybe this could explain those darn, “abscesses'”. (Not knowing this was a completely different Autoimmune Disease altogether…#HS #HidradenitisSuppurativa). About a week later I followed up with my gastro and he gives me the 411 on Crohn’s disease or at least what he knows. He begins to tell me this is an Autoimmune Disease, a disease that occurs when the immune system turns against certain organs it’s designed to protect, causing an abnormal immune response. So in other words, your body is constantly fighting itself and this is the reason you feel some of these’s awful symptoms. I’d have to admit, I felt some sort of relief in knowing that at least now I had a reason why I was feeling these things and a diagnosis that was the cause of what was NOW my New Norm. Crohn’s Disease, became the first of several Autoimmune diseases to unravel during my mid 20’s, and invade my overall life, which is around the key time when Autoimmune symptoms begin to appear in a lot of patients (particularly females). The abscesses I was suffering from were a combination of another Autoimmune Disease called, Hidradenitis Suppurativa or (HS), which may doctors & nurses were not familiar with at the time, and a specific form of Crohn’s Disease called Fistulating Crohn’s Disease. With these two Autoimmune disease’s flaring up around the same time, it made it extremely difficult for the doctors to figure out what exactly was causing these painful sites and I tried a lot of medication in the meantime hoping for some relief in sight! #LiveWithGuts