Thursday, June 30, 2011

Look What I Got!

Real mail! Not bills, not junk, not a flyer ... real mail from my friend! 

Her blog is on my list and it's called "A Surcee Life." You should check it out ... she's super artistically talented. (As you can see from my paper flowers below!)

Anyway, she does these Friday Freebies & I won this time. Currently they are sitting on my lamp shade (just kinda propped up) until I decide what to do with them . I might make some more myself from the awesome tutorial she showed me and just leave them there! We'll see. Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Thanks again Mrs. Cathy! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sphincter of Oddi

Just take a look at this picture . . .

Yes, that is an actual medical term and it's the answer to my mystery medical ailments previously misdiagnosed in older post "Gallbladder Woes." Here's what Wikipedia has to say about
Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction.

Now that you have studied the picture, reminded yourself of my past troubles, and researched with me on Wikipedia I can assure you that you aren't alone in thinking . . . "What?" That's exactly what I said, so here's the story in some "plain English."

I've been having these attack-like symptoms since Oct. 2010. I've been to multiple doctors and had a wide range of tests done all so say . . . "We believe you have pain, we don't see on the tests where it's coming from, let's try to take your gallbladder out because that will might work." So, trusting a doctor and no longer being able to tolerate daily stomach pain, I said yes! You can imagine my cry-baby response when the pain came back (seemingly worse while I was on pain meds for surgery).  Back to the doctor I go . . . a different one this time because the other one just treated me like an account number that he'll get a paycheck from, but that's another story . . . in hopes of a real answer! After lots of questions, some mashing on my tummy, and some blood work, the doctor says, "You are probably suffering from Sphincter of Oddi disorder." 

Now it was my turn, now I had questions for him:

1) What is that? It's a sphincter (round muscle - similar to the one you're probably thinking of in a funny/gross way) that basically controls the bile that your liver, pancreas and gallbladder emits into the first part of your intestines to help with digestion.

2) Why does it hurt SO BAD? When you have this disorder or dysfunction, the muscle spasms out and/or contracts so tightly that the bile cannot get through, thus causing a 'back up' if you will in the pancreatic duct. Once the muscle relaxes, the bile flows, the food is digested, and the pain is relieved.

3)So I had my gallbladder removed for nothing? NO - a lot of people do not find out they are suffering from this disorder until after they have their gallbladder out because the symptoms are almost identical and the pain is localized in the same place.

4)So what are you suggesting I do about this? First you need to know that there are three types and we will be treating you as if you have type 1 (the less intense). I am putting you on an anti-depressant medication that is used to treat chronic pain called Elavil. I'll see you back in 6 weeks and if the pain still persists we can move forward. (treatment for type three involves possibly cutting the muscle during a 4-5 day hospital say ... yuck!)

5)Are you sure you aren't giving me an anti-depressant "crazy" medicine to treat my "chronic pain" since all tests came back clear? Here the doctor laughed out loud, but I had to make sure he wasn't just thinking I was crazy! He said no, not at all. In fact this medicine has shown to really help Oddi patients no have to undergo surgery.

So there you have it; questions and answers about this crazy diagnosis. I'm so thankful that I finally have a real answer and not a lot of maybe this, maybe that's.  I'm so thankful that this doctor talked with me for a while and didn't rush me through my questions. I'm so thankful that a year of pain might be all I have to endure before this is all over with. Please pray that I keep getting guided in the right direction with this "thorn in my side." I know that there is power in prayer because our Lord is a great healer!

ps - My doctor said that MUSC is a leading researcher for this crazily named disorder . . . go figure! If they can save my sister's life, my daddy's life, and my husband's papa's life, I'll trust them with my belly too . . . only if it gets that far!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's Not About You

June 23, 2011

I have a couple questions for you that I'm going to attempt to answer.

What do you expect from a teacher when the students do not learn?
What do you expect from a doctor when the patient is not healed?
Why is The Church here?

I'm a teacher, have been for 5 years going on 6. It's been my experience that when my students do not learn something, I have the responsibility to re-teach the skill. My student's parents expect me to alter my lessons to meet the differing learning styles of their children in order to educate them. My principal expects me to be able to present the content in multiple ways so that no child slips through the cracks without learning. I don't continue to teach the way I was teaching hoping that it will sink in this time. Out of pure desire to accomplish my job, I do those things ... I change because I have the best interest of the child at heart.

I've been very sick this year with some stomach issues. I've been to the doctor almost weekly since October 2010. It's been my experience that when I'm sick, the doctor has the responsibility to discover the illness, treat and/or cure it. When I go back to the doctor he does not give me the same medicine in hopes that it will kick in this time. He does not treat me just like he did before because that's the only thing he knows. The doctor alters his thinking about my situation and tries multiple diagnoses & treatments. I'm so glad that he did because he's finally figured out what's wrong and I'm feeling better. He changed from his initial plan so that I could be well ... he had the best interest of the patient in mind.

"The Church" is a body (or group) of believers. These people believe that God is most high. They believe that because a man named Adam messed up, we all mess up. They believe that because this sin (all the mess-ups) is in all men we have no way to God. They believe that God sent his son in human form to Earth to live a perfect life (no sin, no mess-ups) in order to die, take our punishment for us, and recreate a way to God. As a result all who believe can be reunited with God.  It's been my experience that the church building is a tool that the church body can use in order to tell the world about this wonderful story. If the church body inside the church building is not growing then it must be because un-churched people are not being drawn inside. I would propose that it just makes sense to change what is going on inside the church building in order to draw people into the church body for the sake of spreading the wonderful story - The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just like the teacher changes with her students' best interest at heart; and the doctor changes with the patients' best interest at heart, so should the activities provided by the church body in the church building change with the best interest of those who do not know the saving grace of the Lord at heart.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

School's Out for Summer!

We just celebrated a long weekend and it was the perfect "taste" of what was to come ... SUMMER BREAK! 

Last weekend we spent time in Marion, SC with one of the greatest hostesses ever ... Ansley's mother! The boys played golf Saturday & the girls sat by the pool. After dinner we discovered a new game for the Wii - Michael Jackson; The Experience! SUCH a fun dance game - embarrassing videos may or may not be posted soon! We spent some time in the pool Sunday morning, and then headed back. 

David and I went out on the boat with my family for Memorial day & had a blast! At one point during the day we cut a watermelon & couldn't eat it all. Daddy was trying to give it away to kids walking down the Capers island beach and they were all doing as their mothers & teachers told them - don't take food from strangers. Well, as daddy was complaining about not being able to just "be nice" these days, a man walked by and noticed our left overs. We offered one more time & he said he had 5 little 'monsters' that would like some. They were so cute & so happy when they got a piece of watermelon ... it was just sweet. Well, a family that was sitting on the beach, then sent over their 3 kids & they got our last 3 slices. So, daddy was right, people should just keep on "being nice" and the world will be just fine! I

t was all wonderful, until I had to go back to school for 3 days of teacher workdays. They were hard since I had to say goodbye to one of my best friends since I've been in Summerville. I'll miss Valerie, but I can assure you I'll be making a trip down to FL to visit her! She's at the top of the line on the right - this is a picture of my awesome team on Halloween.

 I love the children, I love the teachers I work with, and I absolutely love the schedule! One of the best things about my job is that I still get a summer break. Yesterday marked my first official day off! I started with a 20 minute session on the treadmill followed by an hour long Zumba class ... if you haven't done that, you should! Then my girls & I spent the day at the pool! Kristy & Ansley are the greatest!! We enjoyed our new favorite drink, the "Marion Spritzer" and floated on the best floats ever invented! I can't wait to see what else this summer has in store, especially Guatemala!