Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Very Rough Month

October was a very rough month, to say the least.  My husband, Brian, has been struggling for several years now with some digestion issues.  In 2007, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  Being that I have been diabetic since 1998, that didn't seem like too big of a deal to us.  He took some pills, made some adjustments to his diet, and moved on with life.  Then he started getting sick.  It happened slowly at first, with occasional nausea turning to occasional vomiting from the nausea.  His endocrinologist (diabetes doctor) blamed it on the diabetes medications and said that basically, he would have to learn to deal with it.  Then, over the last year or two it seemed to get worse.  He was getting sick more often and more violently, especially at night and in the early morning.  Something just didn't seem right.  Neither of us has slept well at night for probably the last year because of his constant tossing and turning from not feeling well.  Finally, I convinced him to see my primary care doctor on October 1st.

The doctor saw Brian in her office and after talking to him about his symptoms, she immediately said that it would not be caused by his medications.  He asked what she thought might be causing it and the doctor said that she didn't want to even guess until he had seen a specialist and had his stomach scoped.  She sent him straight downstairs to a gastroenterologist (stomach specialist).  They made him an appointment for the next week.  Knowing all this, I began to really worry.  There is nothing worse than waiting around for what could possibly be bad news about your loved one.  That week passed by as one of the slowest of my life.

October 8th finally rolled around, the date of Brian's first appointment with the gastroenterologist.  I had family in town that week, which was keeping me extra busy already.  Brian came home from the appointment very upset.  After describing his symptoms to the doctor, the doctor told him it could be one of three things.  1: colon cancer, 2: something simple like Celiac's Disease, or 3: something we didn't yet know.  He thought it was most likely colon cancer.  Devastating news.  My 31-year-old husband, my best friend, the love of my life might have cancer.  Yet there is a huge difference between "you have colon cancer" and "you can't eat gluten".  I stayed optimistic and hopeful.

The doctor scheduled Brian for an endoscopy and colonoscopy for the soonest date possible, which just so happened to be on my birthday, October 25th.  More waiting.  And I thought the previous week had been slow.  When you are suddenly thrust into the realization that the person you care the most about in your entire life may be taken away from you far before you are ready, your priorities quickly change.  Suddenly writing about makeup and nail polish seems a little frivolous and the only thing that matters is spending every moment you can with the person you love while you still can and being sure that they know just how much you truly care for them.

Again, we waited and I worried.  On the morning of my birthday, we went to the hospital.  The doctors and nurses prepared Brian for his procedure.  They took him out and I waited in his room.  Pinterest kept me mindlessly busy and soon the doctor was coming in to talk to me.  The moment of truth.  As far as he could see, there was nothing to worry about.  No irregular tissue.  No tumors or growths.  No sign of gerd.  Everything looked healthy as far as the doctor could see.  They took some tissue to biopsy, just to be sure.  We were left with more questions than answers but it was a start.  The doctor thinks that it is likely gastroparesis, which is common in diabetics, especially diabetics with high blood sugars.  It's basically where the stomach digests food at a slower speed than normal and since the food can't travel down through the digestive system, it comes back up.

That same evening, I went to the orthodontist for my first adjustment since August.  The orthodontist confirmed what I already knew: my right canine still hadn't moved at all.  I was completely frustrated and pretty much ready to give up on the braces.  I've had these things on for nineteen months and that tooth has not moved at all.  My orthodontist was equally frustrated and he suggested a new strategy: a microimplant to pull at the tooth from a different angle.  If you don't know what a microimplant is, you can watch this video.  For me, they wanted to put a small titanium screw into the roof of the mouth so that the chain on my right canine could be attached to the screw and pulled.  The orthodontist forewarned me that there would be no anesthesia and that the process would be rather painful.  I can handle pain.  What I can't handle is the frustration of having braces and feeling like I'm making no progress towards getting them off.  I was ready to do this.

A week later, Brian went back to his endocrinologist and found out that his Hemoglobin A1C was exceptionally high over the last few months.  This means that his blood sugars have been way higher than usual, which might help to explain why his stomach problems had gotten worse over the last few months.  It also means that his pills are no longer working and as soon as they figure out what exactly is wrong with him, he will probably be starting on insulin via an insulin pump.  Then the next day, I nervously went back to the orthodontist to have that screw put in.  After waiting for quite awhile in the waiting room and getting rather nervous (Did I seriously agree to have a screw drilled into the roof of my mouth with no anesthesia?!?  Have I lost my mind?  This is going to hurt!) they finally took me back and got me started.  And honestly... it didn't hurt at all.  They used a topical anesthetic gel and then a shot (maybe novocaine) and all I felt was a lot of pressure while the ortho screwed it in but it really didn't hurt at all.  One problem solved, (at least for now), one to go.

This Thursday, Brian goes back to the gastroenterologist for his follow up.  We should get the results of the biopsies and we're hoping for some sort of diagnosis as to what is making Brian sick.  Meanwhile, he continues to be sick, especially at night or in the early morning.  We both are feeling worn out and tired all the time from so many restless nights.  I couldn't even tell you the last time we slept through an entire night.

Yet, I have found a newly rekindled affection for the man who is my everything.  We are spending more time together, laughing more often, and it sort of feels as exciting as it did thirteen years ago (as of October 27th, 2012) when we very first started dating.  It is rather like falling in love with the same person again.  After seven years of dating and six and a half years of marriage, when I get in bed each night, I know that I am absolutely in love with this man lying next to me and I will be there for him no matter what the outcome of all of this is.


  1. Claire - BudgetbeautifulNovember 6, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Sorry to hear what you have been going through! I have definitely missed your videos but of course I understand that other things take precedence! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that things will get better for you very soon! At least you are able to look at it from a positive perspective and find some good in the situation. Hang in there!!

    1. Thanks for your kind words. It's been a learning experience for sure!

  2. Oh wow, what a month! I hope the biopsy comes back clean and you can get a good diagnosis and work towards fixing the problem. I don't know what I'd do if anything ever happened to my husband. I will keep you in my prayers.

  3. I'm so sorry about everything you and your husband are going through. I hope everything gets better soon and your husband regains his health!

  4. I am sorry to hear about what you have been going through. I have missed your videos and blog post but completely understand your priorities have changed. Keep your head up!!! I will be praying for you.

  5. Hope everything goes well!! It is great to stay positive =)

  6. Wow. I hope everything goes well. Good to know that in spite of everything you guys are enjoying each other. Sending positive thoughts and energy your way.