Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Getting Personal- A Health Update

Today's post is a bit different and more personal then my average every day post. A few weeks ago I posted that I was taking some time away from the blog due a recent health concern that deserved most if not all my attention. First, I would like to thank everyone for the sweet comments and emails I received, you have no idea how much each and every one of them meant to me.

I'm not sure I even know where to begin when it comes to my current situation but I guess I will start a few months ago when it all started- the itching. For the past several months I have been dealing with severely itchy skin, not just a few itches throughout the day, I mean scrapes all over myself from scratching. I never had any sort of hives or rash, my skin always looked normal just very itchy. I wasn't using any new products-lotion, detergent, or soaps and to my knowledge have never been allergic to anything. When I first saw a doctor they suggested I try a few days of steroids to see if that would clear it up. Turns out the steroids did work and my itching subsided but I ended up breaking out in small bumps all over my skin. The next step was to take a skin biopsy to look for possibly answers there but unfortunately that also turned out to be normal and have no explanation for the itchyness. In the mean time my doctor had started me on a slew of medicines to help me sleep at night as I often was unable to sleep due to the itching. 

Fast forward a few weeks and it was time for me to move to Raleigh. My itching remained about the same and would be severe at times but tolerable at others. I still wasn't using anything new and had started using clean and free detergents, soap, and lotion. About a month ago I saw my new PCP in Raleigh and recapped everything thus far on my itchy skin and tests that had been done. She prescribed me a new itching medicine that could be taken up to 3 times a day and was planning to do research on chronic urticaria aka itching all the time. 

The week of Thanksgiving was by far the worst week I have ever had, itching wise and I found myself only getting about 1-3 hours of sleep a night. I became delusional at work and was unable to focus on nearly anything. One night after scratching so much my skin began to burn, I decided enough was enough and took myself to the Emergency Room. Now I know what your thinking and believe me, I would not have taken myself there if I was not so sleep deprived and absolutely miserable. While I was in the E.R they thought it would be best to draw some blood just to take a look at my different levels to make sure all of counts looked ok. While waiting for the labs to come back they gave me ice packs for my skin to soothe the burning as well as some relaxing medicine to see if that would help me sleep. About 30 minutes after the labs were drawn, the doctor came in and said that he thought he had found the reason I was so itchy and that my liver numbers were 5 times what they should be. A sign of liver disease or a liver under stress is often itchy skin, in addition to elevated numbers, both of which I had. He recommended I receive an outpatient ultrasound ASAP to rule out any tumors, cysts, or possible gallstones. In the meantime it was recommended that I stop all medications, prescription and over the counter to see if I possibly had drug induced hepatitis. I was also told to not drink as alcohol could easily increase my numbers and put additional stress on my liver. 

Since my visit to the Emergency Room it has been an absolute roller coaster of emotions and new information. Since then I have had a clear ultrasound which ruled out tumors and cysts and a clear chest x-ray to rule out lymphoma. Next up is a CT scan and appointment with a liver specialist, who will hopefully be able to give myself and my family some answers. Thankfully both my mom and grandmother are coming in town tonight for these appointments tomorrow and I am so thankful they will be here. It has been terrifying going through all this without my family and call me childish but sometimes a girl just needs here momma with her! As for today and tomorrow I am leaving everything in God's hands and trusting everything will work out just as it's supposed to. I am so thankful to be able to see one of the top doctors at Duke and hoping all will be sorted out before Christmas.

If you are still reading all this you are a saint and I apologize for the lengthy post. I have missed blogging 100% and am looking forward to getting back into the swing of regular postings. I hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday season so far!

Yours truly,
Emily Ann


Tess said...

I've been curious but not wanting to press, thanks for being so brave to write this.

Your story is really interesting and I would have never known that itchiness had anything to do with liver issues.

I'm going to say a prayer for you, but it looks like you've gotten 1 good report, and just need 1 more. I have full faith you will be receiving good news.

My younger sister had really low kidney levels the year of my wedding. She was admitted to the hospital for 4 days and it was so so scary. After hydration, her levels normaled off...her ultrasounds, CTs, etc. all came back perfect, and they chalked it up to sometimes your organs just doing weird things.

Waiting for an update like that from you my friend!!!

Annie said...

So glad you're finally getting answers. I can't imagine how difficult that's been without family around. Glad you're near some awesome hospitals to help you. Sending you the best of luck tomorrow my dear!

Alex Messina @ Ali Rose said...

I'm glad you've been getting great reports so far but I definitely hope you get some solid answers so you can figure out how you want to proceed treatment wise.

I suffer from what feels like chronic itchiness, often breaking my own skin from constant scratching and losing sleep as well, and have been wanting to get it checked out by a dermatologist for a long time now. It's miserable and I'm so sorry you're going through this especially during the holiday season which should be joyous and all on your own. I'm glad your mom and grandmother will be coming in to be with you for those appointments! I know exactly how you feel... you definitely need your momma!

Sending you lots of prayers, positive energy and light.

Ally Harding said...

How scary!! When I first started reading I automatically thought it was an autoimmune disease. I hope they get to the bottom of your issue! Make sure you push those doctors to get it figured it out because one thing I've learned with having a chronic kidney disease is you have to look out for yourself. I know ppl say to avoid Google but Googling the right things can only make you more educated!