Friday, October 27, 2017

Update: More Complications

This is one of the lowest times in my medical history. Two months now... Two months of pain with no improvement, and it seems to be getting worse. I can barely stand for any length of time without tremendous general pain in my abdomen.

I'll cut to the updates:

The gastro doctor who said he'd take on my case- Professor Fich:

He did get back to me, thankfully. He said he looked over my CT (CAT scan), and said that he feels the original evaluation of ulcerative duodenitis is correct. Together with that, HOWEVER, he feels he sees something amiss regarding my stomach wall surgeries. He couldn't be specific, he feels it's the job of a surgeon to evaluate. He saw something not right with the mesh/clips/pins holding things together in my belly where the NF left it's big hole. Where we all call "Gapey".

One of the problems with that is that he never saw my belly before, so he doesn't know what it normally looks like. In a responding email, we asked him if he would be willing to compare this present CT with an earlier one, because he has access to all the CT's in Soroka. He declined to spend more time on it, saying I should go see a surgeon. OK.

I feel that could totally be right, even without him doing a comparison study.
This summer, while dealing with the staph infection from hell (the one that lasted what... 6 months? on my skin graft? --it's gone now- that's another story- I used honey on it!), I felt that the whole mesh inside me was inflamed. I felt all those clips, I felt the entire mesh. It was bugging me all summer. (can you imagine feeling a hernia mesh inside you?) I remember telling Robert that I wish I could have it removed. One of the clips was actually protruding a bit, I thought it was going to make it's way out of the skin graft itself. I kept a bandaid on it, it calmed down. But I wouldn't be surprised if there is some sort of grand inflammation, or adhesions or all of the above, or some option I don't yet know about, is happening in there. I feel a lot of pressure there. What I know is that the pain is mechanical in nature. What I mean is, when I lie down, it goes away. When I start to sit up, it starts to hurt. When I stand up it hurts the most. The more I stand up, the more it hurts. To the point of, if I stand up for 10 minutes or more I am out-of-my-mind with pain. I did that the other day. I decided that I was going to do one task from start to finish. I was going to put up a pot of soup. It's one of the only things I can eat- vegetable soup. I took out the vegetables, washed them, started peeling, chopping, putting in pot, simmering, etc. By the time I sat down, I was in SO MUCH PAIN I COULDN'T EVEN TALK. My daughter was getting an Arabic lesson, and her teacher was at the table. I sat down at the table, their lesson was over. I could not talk. The teacher looked at me, a frightened look in his eye, perhaps matching the look he saw in my eye. He said "breathe"....

On the phone last night with Dorit my Homeopath, she (also a physiotherapist herself) asked me about other positions, testing out the adhesions theory. She suggested hands-and-knees. I did that in bed, and BAM- within about half a minute, I could barely breathe again because of the pain. Yup, her theory was proven. We're not exactly sure what the theory means, but there is some sort of adhesions, or blood vessels that are getting smushed and not letting blood flow properly in certain positions.

It may have all started with that stubborn staph infection on the graft. I knew it was going inside, I felt it. It was only visible from the outside, but it kept oozing, for months. That means it's coming from the inside. I kept trying to tell my doctor, then the ER. They didn't even swab it. Not until it was really far along. When will they LISTEN to me?

So, now I need a surgical consult.
The only surgeon who I would let touch me near that mesh is the one who put the mesh in, eight years ago, Dr. Amir Szold in Tel Aviv. He is a very talented laproscopic surgeon who's name came to us, of course, by Rav Benjamin Fisher at the time. Dr. Szold, however, doesn't have an opening in his schedule until the beginning of December. Weh-weh. Robert called Rav Fisher back. Explained the whole story. Rav Fisher told him that Dr. Szold is away for this week (how does he know these things?), but that Robert should try to call Rav Fisher next Wed or Thursday, and he will try to get us an urgent appointment. Let's hope that works out. In the meantime I'm going to try to get an MRI so we have that for better analysis of the situation. That should keep me busy, just trying to get that.

Emotionally I'm a mess, but that's to be expected. I'm crying every day from sheer frustration. I've really lost so much. Remember when I was just one or two months after NF and I was doing 20 hour births with women? OK, I know that was also extreme, and not always in my best interest, but there was something badass about that, right? Well, maybe not. I mean, I was still in bandages, for Gd's sake. But pain, pain is a thief. It has robbed me these passed two months of so much. And I know that there is more to come. I know that this one is not going down without a fight. This is going to be a tough one. There will be surgery, and not simple surgery, I'm almost sure.

The worst part is that I am letting it rob me of my faith. I am angry at Gd. I mean, why is He picking on me so much? Last Friday night I started talking about Dr Kevorkian... poor Robert had to sweep up the pieces of that mess. Thank Gd for Robert.  I know questioning my faith is really not a good path to go down, for so many reasons. So I try not to. But com'mon... TEN YEARS since I had NF. It's been one thing after another. Ten years ago the doctors were optimistic that I will rehabilitate well after NF; I was young, strong, healthy.
Last night on the phone with Dorit, my homeopath (and long-time medical friend) I asked her how will I rehabilitate after this? So much time in bed, I probably will need surgery, I'm losing so much strength. She said "you're young". But I'm ten years older, and not as healthy anymore. I'm going to have to really work at rehab this time, it won't come easily. I already feel so weak and tired, and drained.

I wanted so much more from life. I still dream of my careers, of who I used to be.
(and I have nightmares of puss coming out of my belly, alone in a strange room, reaching for a water bottle with a parched mouth only to find the bottle empty... terrible nightmares.)

But I have to remember to be happy with what I have. I have what many people will never have... an amazing husband, 4 incredible beautiful children, a home in eretz Yisrael, and incredible friends and loving family all over the world. Thank you all for being my people. Your words are hugs to me.


  1. Praying and ju-ju-ing harder and harder for you every day. And, of course, whenever there is something that I can do that's more "tachlis-based," you only need to let me know, and I'm there.

    WIth love and thoughts...

  2. Oh Sarah i truly feel for you.
    I'm constantly thinking of you, from one 1 NF survivor to another.

  3. hugs to you my dear friend. And lots of love. XXXOOO

  4. May this surgeon be your "savior" and let them stop this pain!!!
    Thinking of you and hope this nightmare is over soon. LOL and wishing you more births! Sarah G