Sunday, September 16, 2012

An Update, a Return, and a THANK YOU!

Hello Everyone ...
I wanted to first off say thanks everyone for all the continued support, and kindness. It is the amazing people in my life (my amazing father, and incredible friends) who have helped keep me positive, and helped keep (if not increased) my strong drive to fight. Since discovering I was in end stage liver failure in Oct 2010 it has been a tough road of up's and down's. While being worked up for a liver transplant some issues, and eventually (finally) some diagnosis's happened. It became harder and harder to breathe so the doctors thought it was a syndrome related to liver failure. After many (MANY) procedures and tests it was discovered the nerve to my diaphragm (phrenic nerve ) was no longer working - causing a paralyzed diaphragm. This causes pressure on my lungs, and de-oxygenation from the diaphragm not allowing them to inflate properly. I am on constant oxygen along with an external breathing device called an AVAP machine. It pushes pressure into my body forcing the diaphragm up. It has a very delicate sensor in it that changes pressure depending on my breathing. I only have to use  it when I feel tight, short of breath, and always when I sleep. After three sleep studies the results were disturbing - showing I stopped breathing around 130 times a night. I was also never entering REM sleep causing extreme fatigue.
As time went by I started developing other symptoms of what seemed like nerve issues. I was getting contortions along with muscle seizures. They tested my leg which showed a great deal of abnormalities; an MRI was then performed of my lower back. The MRI showed an incredibly rare condition called Epidural Lipamatosis (EL). EL consists of many hard tissue masses which form in the body - but extremely rarely in the spinal region. The masses are crushing the nerves in my back from the T-12 (mid back) all the way down to my Thecal Sac (right where the spine ends at the hip/pelvis). Due to the nerve damage it became incredibly difficult to walk, since the nerves in my spine which control my legs can not support weight anymore w/o buckling. I have been wheel chair bound a few months now. I also moved into a wheel chair accessible apartment; something that has made my life much easier as I have access to everything.
The kicker unfortunately is due to the paralyzed diaphragm surgery of any kind is out of the picture. The transplant team and other doctors agree that being int-abated during surgery would lead to very bad results. I would either never have the tube removed, and in the case of the transplant not survive the surgery. I have been taking care of myself, and the doctors follow me closely via blood work and frequent check ups.
The time will eventually come where a serious decision will have to be made ...but I am nowhere near there right now. As I mentioned earlier I have good days and bad days ...but truly the good outweigh the bad. I refuse to roll over and give up which has helped keep me here. I am just grateful that through all of this I have some truly great experiences, and I know it could always be worse.
I have returned slowly to The Crohn's Disease Support Network (CDSN) on a regular basis...something I am very excited about. I also have been offered some truly amazing opportunities (more to come on this at a later date...once everything is cemented). It has been fantastic to return to CDSN! The warm responses have been incredibly humbling, sweet, kind, thoughtful and so much more!
I hope this message finds everyone well! I have rambled on for so long you probably all need a nap after reading this haha. Thank you again from every fiber in my body!
Always - Jason