When you can’t seem to get the right diagnosis.

SURPRISE, a post that isn’t about Disney. While I have a lot more Disney related content floating around in my head, waiting to be typed out, I figured I’d break it up and think about something else. Let’s talk about health.

As I’ve written about before, the last couple of years have been a whirlwind for me and my health. I’ve had the flu, eight sinus infections, countless ear infections, tonsilitis, and more. It hasn’t been the best. In December of last year, I had a new part of my body giving me problems…my digestive tract.

It started two weeks before Christmas. I thought I’d had a stomach bug with a lot of the typical symptoms (I’ll leave that up to you imagination, but I think you’ll get what I’m poking at). Unfortunately, it manifested into something else. I had intense abdominal pain that would hit me randomly. The type and location of pain changed, but it led to me not wanting to get out of bed and losing 10 lbs in 7 days. Something was very wrong.

I went to several doctors about it. The walk-in clinic doctor thought I had food poisoning and gave me anti-nausea medication. No help. Then I went to see my primary care doctor who told me to take an OTC heartburn & ulcer medication. No help. So, I went back to primary care who then decided to do a full food allergy panel & scheduled a gallbladder ultrasound at 7 am on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas, to me. Despite all this testing and trying different medications, I was still in pain. Not to mention all of this was happening right as I was about to begin my Disney College Program and move 10 hours away from all of my family and medical providers.

TWO DAYS before I was supposed to be moving to Florida I finally went and saw a Gastroenterologist. They did a lot of blood work, talked through my symptoms, and ended up diagnosing me with “probably IBS.” I got some medication prescribed and was on my way to Florida with a slight pain still lingering.

Luckily for me, I seemed to be fine in Florida. In fact, I only got sick once the whole four months I lived there and that was a sinus infection I likely caught from my roommate, thanks, Sam. I worked around THOUSANDS of people every day cleaning disgusting strollers and managed to not get sick. Then I came home and it all changed.

I was fine for a while. I maybe made it two weeks before the pain came back. BOY HOWDY did it return with a vengeance. I won’t get into the gory details, but you can imagine the pain. I was near constantly feeling pain whether I ate or didn’t. The pain was sometimes tingly, sometimes stabby, and sometimes felt like something inside me was trying to break out. It honestly made me wonder if I should have not left Florida. I was fine the whole time I was there, whar’s with Johnson City that makes me so sick? Maybe it was the sunshine or just the fact that I was constantly busy and didn’t have time to be in pain.

Regardless, I knew I couldn’t take the pain anymore, so back to the Gastroenterologist I went. After talking through the symptoms, they decided it still sounded like IBS but decided to just up my medication and run some more blood tests. My tests came back with my inflammation levels (something to do with the colon, but I’m honestly not too sure) were a “high-normal” so in three months I have to go back for a re-check to see if I’ll need a colonoscopy. I also have a non-alcoholic fatty liver and will have to see my Gastroenterologist every six months to keep an eye on that. It will be a lot of diet management and constantly thinking about what I’m putting in my body in order to keep myself as pain-free as possible.

For now, I’m doing okay. I’m taking four pills (called Dicyclomine if anyone was wondering) a day just to make the calm my colon spasms enough to make pain manageable. Some days it’s worse, some days I’m pain-free. It’s random and I never know when the pain is going to hit. Despite the struggle in getting a diagnosis that I think is fitting to my symptoms and not being able to be completely pain-free, I am trusting that God is working through this journey. It’s strengthening me and God is going to help me get the help I need in the perfect timing.

I wanted to write this post to hopefully shine a light on a chronic illness that is common but can sometimes seem invisible. If I seem flaky or off, just know that there’s a reason. It’s not always visible on my face that I’m in pain or sick. I’m hoping for a cure or clear diagnosis, but I know God is working through all things.

❤ / Bailey

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