Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How Can One Person Have So Many Medical Issues?

Well I have to say I'm very frustrated, a bit depressed, and honestly getting angry. As I broke down in my last blog of all the issues going on - yet another has popped up. I had am MRI of my lumbar (lower back) because of the findings the EMG indicated of my leg. The MRI definitively indicated a very rare disease called Epidural Lipomatosis (EL). EL is actually so rare there is hardly any info to be found on it via the internet. What is happening is a 1/4 of my spine (section T12 Vertebrae to Thecal Sac ) are masses of tumor like fatty tissue compressing the nerves and narrowing the Thecal Sac.  This is causing painful back pain, leg pain, and unfortunately weakness. The main treatment for this is spinal surgery - something I can't have due to my paralyzed diaphragm and liver failure. I see the neuro muscular doctor again on Tuesday May 21st, and then a spinal surgeon/specialist upon referral.

I truly am having a problem wrapping my head around all this. I just do not understand how ONE person can have so much fraking wrong with them; it seems like a big cosmic joke. My father and I are currently looking into an adjustable bed, a chair that rises up so I can get out of it, and home nursing care. I am also facing a motorized wheel chair, as the nerves and narrowing worsens from the masses. Eventually my legs will be so weak I won't be able to use them.

I know I've said it numerous times but thank you so much to everyone for the supportive, sweet, caring comments. The outpouring from people has truly been moving - and thoughtful. I will continue to make updates as I can. I say goodbye for now ... wishing everyone the best. -J

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Think The Right Word is RIDICULOUS!

Let me just start with thank you so much to everyone. The support I've received has been truly moving, and honestly a light during a kinda dark time. It all started with Crohn's Disease. As a lot of you know I've been dealing with Crohn's for 27yrs now. At some point during the last 4yrs I contracted Hepatitis B. - unknowing to myself and my GI at the time treating me. I had gone through most of the Crohn's meds at the time, and was put on Humira. A very important thing about Humira is - having Hepatitis B and being on Humira is BAD. The combo of the two caused my liver to fail and extensive Cirrhosis; a liver transplant was necessary. When you are a candidate for organ transplant they work you up from top to bottom. Any issues - even small ones - could become serious due to the surgery and medications...this was Oct 2010. For some reason I started developing breathing problems. It was incredibly difficult to take a breathe in. By May of 2011 I required Oxygen all the time. Initially it was assumed I had Hepatopulmonary Syndrome. - which is caused from the liver and cirrhosis. After countless tests and about eight months of basically wasted time, it turned out I DID NOT have Hepatopulmonary Syndrome! Fast forward to the last few months ... I had an EMG done of my diaphragm and found that the Phrenic Nerve which controls the diaphragm was fried ...dead ...fired its last brain message - it will never work again. Due to the diaphragm the prospect of a transplant went out the window. The reason transplant is not possible is they put a breathing tube in for surgery, and recovery. The doctors feel strongly that once the breathing tube is put in I would never come off of it...ever. Right now docs are monitoring my liver very closely, and crossing bridges when absolutely necessary.

I was referred to a neuro muscular specialist because the odds of the nerve issue being isolated to my phrenic nerve was very low. For some unknown reason I started getting extremely painful muscle contortions/seizures, double vision, and eventually rigidity. I literally felt as if I was turning to stone; any movement and wowzers did it hurt. The neuro muscular doctor ran an EMG of my leg, and took blood to check levels such as calcium, vitamin D, etc. The EMG findings fit best with Motor Neurone Disease or  Lumbosacral Radiculopathy.  I need an MRI of my spine...which is this Wednesday May 7th. The blood work was interesting - it showed my calcium was critically low, vitamin D was undetectable, severe anemia, and a specific hormone was extremely elevated (the normal range is 0-65 ...65 being high. Mine was 820 (the endocrinologist actually said she had never seen a number that high). The hormone that was elevated is called PTH. It happens to be created by 4 tiny glands inside the thyroid called Parathyroids. When calcium is out of wack the body they over produce the hormone PTH. Since my calcium was critically low I have what is called Primary Hyperparathyroidism. In 95% of cases surgery is done to remove the over active glands. BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBUT doctors are very hesitant to do ANY surgery on me because of the diaphragm. Along with the lovely low calcium I have osteoporosis along with renal-hypertension. Ridiculous isn't it?

To break it down:
1. Crohn's Disease
2. Liver Failure w/ Cirrhosis
3. Portal Hypertension
4. Hepatitis B
5 Primary Hyperparathyroidism
6. Renal Hypertension
7. Paralyzed Diaphragm
8. An undiagnosed neuro muscular disease (still running diagnostic testing)
9. Osteoporosis
10. Critical Vitamin Deficiencies
11. And a crack in the instep of my left foot

I am going to have to wrap this up for now - my hands are starting to cramp up. I wanted to touch base and let people know what is going on. and of course to thank the amazing support in my life! I would be completely lost and alone with out all the amazing loved ones. Regardless of what happens as well ...I won't stop fighting until I physically and mentally can't do it anymore ...and I don't see that happening anytime soon.