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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Start of It All

October 2009

I knew something was wrong. Having trouble sitting, having trouble walking...pain. What is going on? I knew the pain was coming from somewhere around where my rectum was. Only thing to do is figure out if something is there. I feel a large knot. The knot had about a 2 inch diameter...it was under the skin...so my first thought is a cyst.

So I go to Gifts and Giggles and work at the store for a little while. I kept complaining to my mother about the knot hurting when I walk and sat down. Finally she got mad at me and said, "Well Allison if all your going to do is keep complaining about it, go to the doctor." Well I was scared to!That is a sacred area and it is just very odd that something of all places would be there. So to myself I was thinking...*how could it be something?...it's just my imagination...but wait I feel it.* So I finally get fed up with everything and decided to go to the doctor's office.

Now let me just say that lying on a table with your rear-end exposed knowing someone you know very well and are very close to is about to examine that area and be feeling on it is not a wonderful feeling. So I lie there. I told Dr. Scott that I thought it might be a cyst. Now in my head I'm saying *Oh it's nothing...you are stupid* Dr Scott - "It does...it looks like a peritoneal cyst". So he felt of it and got a little worried. This was due to the location. Where it was located could not only cause a lot of problems, but bring on more. After he examined the area, he made me an appointment to see Dr. Kania. Dr. Kania's office is in Thomasville. He is a specialist in so many areas. He performs various surgeries and I actually was able to work with him on a couple colonoscopies during my nursing clinicals.

That next week I made the trip to Thomasville to visit Dr. Kania with my father. This would mark one of the most dreadful days of my life. Dr. Kania feared that it was some type of abscess. He felt it would be important to try to extract fluid from it. He ended up all together giving me about 6 lidocane shots in the affected area. This is because every time he would begin to poke the area, it would hurt terribly. Well I guess it was just going to hurt no matter what. What you have to understand is the area around your anus/rectum has more nerve endings than anywhere in the body. So as he is poking I'm crying and trying to hold it back, but the pain is unbearable. I knew that he felt bad because he kept apologizing and it was very sincere.

What seemed like an hour was probably only 15 minutes but it was TERRIBLE! You could tell he was frustrated as well because 1-he was not able to get any fluid from this "thing" and 2-he did not have a clue. He then got worried and made an emergency appointment with a Peri-rectal specialist. I think it was all together about 4 days later.

So in Mobile...we meet Dr. Rider. The nurse came in and took my vitals. My blood pressure was sky high and I could barely walk to the room because of the pain. It hurt so bad to walk but on top of that this "thing" was getting bigger. When Dr. Rider walked in the room I will never forget...he just exuded kindness. He could tell I was in pain and of course it was evident because my blood pressure was high. He knew with this finding and just from looking at me that I was in unbearable pain. After he examined me, he gave us the diagnosis. A fistula. Oh to Joy! He also let us know that besides the fistula I had about 3 external fissures. A fissure is a long deep crack in the epidermis that can run past the epidermis to the dermis. A fistula is a fissure that has gotten infected and has formed with infection and can tunnel and spread (grow) quickly easily. Now all this is my terming and explaining in easy terms so forgive me.

He put me in the hospital that night to receive antibiotics and prepare my body for surgery that following morning. In my mind I was like oh my goodness I'm in Infirmary West Hospital from a thing that is beside my booty opening. Wow. This is crazy!

Surgery the next morning. Many doctors sat in on my surgery because it was termed *interesting* and because they were going to try a new procedure that Dr. Rider and other doctors had done a trial for at Oxford University. They put me under and take me back.

While in surgery they made a slit into fistula and ran what looks like a little tubing down into the fistula. Part of the tube was in the actual part that was infected and another part hung out of the fistula. It was sutured to the outside of my skin and an inch of the tubing protruded out of the skin so that the fistula could drain.

I come out of recovery fine and they had made me an appointment to see a gastroenterologist named Dr. Reynaldo Rodriguez. This appointment was made because Dr. Rider was pretty sure I had Crohns Disease. Also, he said that he would take it a step further and say it was Fistulizing Crohns. This theory was due to the fistula and the location of the fissures. He had told me that he would be surprised if it came back that I didn't have the disease. So we wheel over to Dr. Rodriguez's office after the surgery to see him. His office was located in the same hospital so it was just wheeling down a couple of halls. He let us know that I was going to have to have a colonoscopy. This procedure would involve inserting a scope with a camera up through the rectum to view my intestines. He said that this procedure should give us what we needed to know if I did in fact have the dreadful disease. After we met with him, Dr. Rider was going to release me. In my head this is all fine and dandy. I wasn't prepared for the pain that would later come that night. They give me morphine and phenergan before I left. That seemed fine to me and at the time I felt fine because I was still out of it from the sedation. They sent me home.

When I get home I turn into the Hulk! I'm going crazy...screaming...crying...I'M IN PAIN! Andrew and Mom rush me to Grove Hill where Dr. Fagbongbe knocks me out with 75 Demerol 25 Phenergan and Toradol. No more pain...sleep! Thank God! Dr. Fagbongbe explained later that with that type of surgery being near a sphincter Morphine was not the drug of choice. Morphine constricts. That means that the area that was already in pain from surgery would be in pain times ten because now it was being constricted. How stupid was that. He then followed by saying that Demerol is opposite and relaxes which would give pain relief. He told me that if I had anymore surgeries dealing with any area of the bowel to remind them of this. In my head I'm thinking shouldn't they have known that?

Well for about 2 weeks I could not walk...could not sit...I couldn't do anything! Remember I told you that about an inch of the tube protruded from the fistula out of my skin. I stayed in terrible pain and stayed drugged up! Movement was impossible for me. Poor Andrew had to live at the house to take care of me while my parents when to work and then they would all swap "take care of Allison shifts". Andrew was so good to me though. He would have to pick me up...literally take me to the bathroom, get me the things I needed...he was a true example of what true love is.

After 2 weeks...the tube was finally removed. Where the tube was removed left a perfect circular hole. Dr. Rider told me to soak in a hot bath with Epsom salt three times a day to help the rest of the drainage to drain. I had a couple of check up appointments in between. It was discussed between the doctors the urgency in needing a colonoscopy performed on me. Dr. Rider and Dr. Rodriguez were supposed to be working on that. Dr. Rider was wanting it soon, but new that I needed time to heal after the surgery. Dr. Rodriguez didn't have me scheduled til December 11 which was 2 months later. We thought that everything was going to be ok with the fistula repair but we were wrong...about mid November I started having trouble again...the fistula was back which took us back to square one.




Andrew & I on October 9, 2009 - before everything began!



Andrew and I went on a double date with Tyler -one of his best friends-
and Brianna -one of my best friends! We went to eat @ Mikatos a Japanese
Steakhouse...this is front of their fountain at the restaurant!




Brianna and I on our way to Mobile.
The boys chauffeured us around :)



After we ate we went bowling!
The boys so beat us!




After my first surgery. You can tell I lost more weight and am
just exhausted looking...and the anemia...I am SUPER white!
Ya'll I promise I'm Spanish! I have never been this white.
I will have to post pictures from a while back to show off my once tan :)




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