Friday, 26 January 2018

A sudden onset of pain


If you've read my recent column or you follow me on Instagram then you might have already seen why I've been a bit quiet recently. But, if you haven't, then let me fill you in...

On Tuesday 2nd January, just over 3 weeks ago now, I started to feel really poorly. I initially thought I'd just over done things as I'd walked Hunter back and forth from pre-school 4 times, and by the afternoon I was absolutely exhausted. Danny could see I wasn't very well when he walked in from work and I ended up bursting in to tears not long afterwards because I felt so rough. I went and got in to bed just before 6pm and after having some Paracetamol to reduce my soaring temperature, I finally got to sleep. However, I had horrible stomach cramps which kept me awake for the majority of the night.

I spent most of the next day (Wednesday) sleeping. I managed to eat a bite of toast and a few dry Cheerios, but that was only because Danny forced me! Beyond that, I really couldn't face anything but water. I started to think I had food poisoning. Stupidly, I had eaten some smoked salmon on the Monday morning that was supposed to be used by the previous day. It had smelt and looked fine - and it tasted lovely! But I've had food poisoning before (the reason why I no longer eat shop bought prawn mayonnaise sandwiches - thanks Somerfield!) so I recognised the symptoms.

I started to feel much better on the Thursday and even managed to eat a little bit of food... But then I spent the rest of the day on the toilet! Yeah... I'll spare you all the details on that! But, let's just say, it wasn't pretty!

I thought I'd got it all out of my system by early evening, but then I got the worst wind you have ever heard! And I'm not talking trumping or burping. It was the sound of it inside me - it sounded as though a volcano was going to erupt! Of course, any wind always hurts my endometriosis, and I believe that's what happened on this occasion.

By about 9pm that night, the pain was continually increasing and nothing was helping. Danny called 111 after I had a high temperature suddenly start and they booked me in to our local walk-in centre. I think I got there about 10pm and after an examination, they thought it was my appendix. I was referred straight on to the hospital and by the time I arrived there, I was screaming with the pain. It was tearing through me with every bubble of wind.

The nurses promptly gave me some morphine and slowly, the pain started to ease. I couldn't tell where it was emanating from, but it seemed to be more centred on my right ovary area. I was too poorly to go for any x-rays that night and since I was still in so much pain, and my blood pressure was so low, they kept me in to run tests the following day.

The next morning, the pain was much easier and the wind had greatly reduced. But I was still not right. I was kept on Paracetamol, Codeine and anti-sickness tablets too because I was so nauseous. I had been nil by mouth since 10pm the previous night and was only allowed sips of water to take my tablets with, so I was hooked up to a drip from the moment I arrived.

A team of doctors came to see me and they seemed to think it was my appendix still so they sent me for 4 x-rays, an ultrasound scan, a transvaginal scan and a CT scan, as well as blood tests and a pregnancy test. They also gave me a dose of penicillin through my drip and, thankfully, after a lot of rest, things calmed down.

My test results all came back clear so no one knew what was happening. They didn't seem to listen when I spoke repeatedly about my endometriosis and how I thought it was that. In fact, on my discharge letter there is no mention of endometriosis - instead, under pre-existing conditions, they've written PCOS which, unless they know something I don't, I haven't got!

I was discharged without needing surgery and got home late on the Friday night.

I was still very tired after returning home and I didn't feel well at all. I was given anti-sickness tablets and painkillers to continue taking at home, but I felt so sick still and had no appetite. I had another bout of diarrhoea on the Saturday and then didn't go to the toilet for a week! My bowels did return to normal after this though.

I started to gradually feel a little better and went out for a few hours on the following Thursday. It was only a very slow wander in town, but after 3 shops I was like a zombie. I couldn't think straight and I didn't feel myself. I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home but by the evening, a new round of pains started.

These pains were completely different and the only way I can describe them is that they were like contractions. They started in the middle of my lower back, spread across my tummy which tightened, I had period type pains lower down and then it would all ease and come back again a few minutes later. At the worst point, it was coming back every 3 minutes but luckily, they eased after having a whole heap of painkillers and using my TENS machine.

I had this happen repeatedly over the next few days. I thought it was something I was eating, and I started to cut out dairy which helped a little. It didn't seem to really correlate with anything though, so I couldn't tell when it was going to happen. I still had no appetite, but as the pains eased slightly, I was managing to force dinners down - even if I couldn't face barely anything in the daytime. I lost 6lbs in the first week this all happened!



On Tuesday (23rd January), this week, I decided to go and see my doctor. I'd finished the anti-sickness tablets I'd had and the nausea had come back full pelt - which meant my appetite went out the window again. The pains were also still coming and going and I generally felt really poorly.

My doctor had all my notes from the hospital and said she could see why I had thought it was food poisoning and later my endometriosis. She thinks the problem is that my bowels are spasming. Normally, your bowels will spasm in a row to push out your poo. However, it sounds like mine are just spasming all over the place, randomly, and this can create pains exactly like contractions.

Now, she didn't know why this was happening. It could be due to a few different reasons. I'm waiting for the results now to come back on a few tests to rule out anything inflammatory such as Crohn's or colitis, and any infections or cysts. If they come back clear, then it could be from the food poisoning (or gastroenteritis - whatever it was!) having upset my system, irritable bowel syndrome or - and this is the big one - my endometriosis causing problems with my bowels, which my doctor thinks is highly likely.

At my last surgery in 2013, I didn't have endometriosis on my bowels. However, the big clump that had joined my ovary and fallopian tube to my pelvic wall, had also attached itself to my bowels. That was released during the surgery, but whether that's causing problems itself again or whether it's because I have endometriosis located nearby that is irritating my bowels, I don't know.

For now, my doctor has given me some Cyclizine anti-sickness tablets (these are different to the Ondansetron tablets I was previously on as they could only be issued by the hospital) and Mebeverine anti-spasmodic tablets. I also have to start on a course of probiotic powders.

So far, I've not had any bowel pains (yet!), just endometriosis pains (I think anyway - it's all getting a bit confusing in there!). But I'm still feeling really nauseous and my appetite is all over the place.

I should get my test results back next week and then I see my endometriosis consultant on 6th February (with a bit of luck, on the day this all kicked off, I had a phone call cancelling my appointment which was originally booked for 4th January - the day I went in to hospital!) so it would be nice to see her knowing if this is all because of my endometriosis or not.

I'll keep you all posted.

S.
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