Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm Going Backwards

Being that I’m a fierce advocate who has advocated to millions online about my condition of incontinence and has stood strong in the face of opposition and immense ignorance, one would think that I would be a pro at accepting this whole bowel incontinence thing. One would think that I’d just think it to be a new stage or chapter in my dealings with incontinence if you will; however, this is not the case. I feel like I’m going backwards. I feel like I’m having significant problems coping. Just when I get to a point when I’m feeling comfortable, everything slips away.

As I mentioned in my last post, I never, ever dreamed that I’d be completely bowel incontinent. I never thought that something like that would happen to me. I know others it has happened to, but I did not think it would touch me. It has, and it is, well tragic!

Bowel incontinence really stinks, and yes, the pun was intended as well as there being a description of my feelings about the matter. IFEEL LIKE I cannot really go out and enjoy life as I used to before it all happened. Life before then felt more free and peaceful. Life before then was sunny and bright. Now, life is dark and gloomy, foggy and hazy, as I spend very, very limited time outside the house in fear of having a bowel accident, smelling up creation, and embarrassing myself. My social life is very restricted. I guess it is a good thing that my business and school demand a significant amount of my time, being that I work seventy hours a week and attend five classes online on the University level, as I won’t miss socializing too much and become depressed about my new circumstances. There is not much time to think of it when obligations call for me. Oh, and I did not even think of how I’ll be taking that math class when the time comes, as that one will not be online. To think of sitting in class and having a bowel accident actually terrifies me. You’d think that I’d be brave about it since I’m an advocate, and I am brave. It is just that I do not want to face people ridiculing me and mocking me about the smell, since everyone will know who did it. Gosh! I do not want to even think of that right now.

I’ve always been one to tell others who are suffering from incontinence to go out and enjoy life. I always tell them not to worry about society. My favorite words of encouragement to them are “You are everything and they are nothing.” I even try to tell myself that to help bring me out of the slump. While that is true, there is so much that we, as incontinent people are up against. We are not babies, and we are no grannies and grampus, so society will have no sympathy for us and our need for diapers. It is crazy. You’d think that civilization would be more advanced than this. I feel like we are living in the nineteenth century with these horrible attitudes. It is these attitudes of society that keep millions of incontinent people from living life. It is these negative attitudes that keep people like us in isolation. It is these negative attitudes that keep millions from seeking medical help for incontinence, and I will admit that when my bowels started going, I never planned to seek help because I was too embarrassed. I just planned to stay away from people as much as possible, and when asked to participate in family gatherings, I planned to make up some excuses as to why I could not. I never planned to disclose any of it to my parents or to anyone for that matter. Disclosing such matters to the family, I felt and sometimes still feel, would make me look weak and undignified in their presence. And as for hanging out with friends, I would have come up with something good that would work for a good while, at least until they really started questioning and digging. That was the recourse I wanted to take. But after telling my best friend, the first and only one who knew at the time, he MADE me go to the doctors. He was concerned and upset for me, and he practically drug me there. Needless to say, he was not too thrilled when he heard of my plans to never face the doctor with this issue. I guess, in a way, I’m glad my best friend made me get help.

As for my horrible feelings, I plan to go visit the online support groups to express my concerns with others who have been there and done it. I’m a newbie at this whole bowel incontinence thing, and I need the help and encouragement of some veterans. Some have given me some very helpful suggestions, such as how to hide odor with taking activated charcoal tablets on a daily basis and how to clean up in public, which is so immensely difficult. Yet, I still have a lot to deal with. Only Jehovah God can help me, as I’m afraid that this is too much for me to handle. It hurts…

Friday, April 10, 2009

There May Possibly Be An Explanation for My Incontinence nd other Thing

There may be an explanation for everything relating to my incontinence that I ever had to endure. You see, I’ve gone to the neurologist just this past Tuesday due to some things that have been going on over the last three or so years, and it turns out that there is a very strong possibility that I have Multiple Sclerosis. I never thought I’d hear the doctor say that to me, and I never thought I’d be writing that phrase, but if the diagnosis is true, which I have a bad feeling in my gut that it is, then everything can be explained—the deterioration of my bladder control over the short course of my late teen years and the sudden loss of bowel control that began in November. Strangely enough, part of me does hope that it is Multiple Sclerosis, so I can get treatment and will be at peace concerning what is going on with me. Quite frankly, I’m tired of being in the dark about my health and feeling like I’m losing my mind. I know my body quite well, and I know that something is seriously wrong. I try to push the feeling aside, as I’ve done for the last three years when symptoms kept coming and going and hoping they’d go away: yet, this bad feeling reappears, as if to let me know that I cannot push it away now. I cannot hide from it. I have to deal with it.

Beginning in 2006, I started experiencing strange things happening. In May of that year, I had a constant pens and needles sensation in the last two fingers on my left hand—my pinky and my ring fingers—for an entire two weeks. Then, it disappeared. Upon its disappearance, I thought that all was well. I just thought of it be an isolated incidence. I was proven wrong when the same exact symptoms appeared in the fall in the same hand. This time, though, it was the thumb and the pointer that were affected. These symptoms lasted for the same length of time.

Part of me began to suspect that something was not right; however, I just reasoned that it was no big deal and that it was just a minor annoyance. I felt that if I did not think too much, it would never appear again. I felt that thinking about it at all would cause me to imagine things. So, I resolved that I’d just forget about those two events and just go on with my life. My peace would be short lived, as new symptoms appeared in 2007.

During the summer of 2007, I got a weird sensation on my right foot. It felt like there was hair there moving about, however, every time I’d bend down or bring my foot to me to swat it away, I was shocked and surprised to find that nothing was there. Now, I really thought I was going nuts. I resolved that I’d just try to ignore it. I did not want to go to the doctor for it just in case they’d think I was foolish. Though I tried to reason that it was nothing, I had a nagging feeling that something was definitely not right.

In the fall of that same year, I began to develop gruesomely painful headaches accompanied with extreme nausea that would a lot of the time lead to vomiting. Everything I’d take did not work in the least bit. All over the counter medications were like candy, as they had no real effect. To attempt to cure the pain, I took two eight hundred MM IV prophin tablets at a time equaling up to sixteen hundred MM total. While this would make a very small dent in the pain, as it took the edge off, it was not enough to bring about true relief. The only thing I could do was to sleep it off. After waking, the headache would be gone.

I easily explained away the headaches reasoning that I was developing migraines due to being blind. I was taught in my med certification class at the school for the blind that it was common for blind people to develop migraines in their late teens or early adulthood. So, I had no red flags raised this time. I just thought that I was one of those less fortunate blind people that joined the migraine affected population and that I’d have to make the best of my circumstances. 2008 would throw a different twist into the mix, as even stranger and unexplainable events occurred. It was these events that told me that I could no longer reason things away and that something was indeed very wrong.

During the summer of 2008, in the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August, my left foot became affected. It felt as if something was stuck between the big toe and the second toe, however, the result was exactly the same as when my right foot was affected. When I inspected my left foot, I found that nothing was there. Now, I was very puzzled. One would think that this occurrence alone would cause me to run and seek help: however, it did not. I’m not really sure why. I guess I could say that I was hoping for things to be right? Mid November would present some very unique issues that would confirm that things were, indeed, nowhere near right.

For the last two weeks of November, I began having speratic bowel accidents in my sleep—two each week. I just reasoned that I had some sort of stomach bug and that the accidents were isolated circumstances. But in December, I suddenly lost complete control of my bowels. It was so strange. It was as if my muscles just suddenly weakened!

For this, I never planned to seek medical attention due to the embarrassment. My plans were for me to continue to run my business from home in isolation, having little to do with socializing as possible for fear of embarrassment and being reproached. I confided in my best friend about what was happening, and he made me go to the doctor.

I talked to my doctor about what was going on, and I was ordered to give stool samples. It was the nastiest thing. I had to scoop the mess out of the diaper that I soiled and put it into the vials. It was one of the most disgusting, yet weirdest, things I had to do. The tests came back saying that my Candida content was very high. I was given meds to kill off the yeast overgrowth, and I resolved to stick more strictly to my diet. Sadly, conditions did not improve.

The headaches persisted and immense fatigue followed. By mid day, I was so tired that I had not one ounce of motivation to do the things I wanted to do, and I had to literally drag myself to do them. I started feeling this way in February. Late March, I experience temperature changes in my body, where one minute I was sweating, and the next, I was shivering cold. And beginning in April, I had a symptom that prompted m to get help.

This symptom lasted for a week and three days. What was happening was that it felt as if something was stuck to the inside of my left foot. It felt like paper. But like the other two times, there was nothing. What was unique about this symptom was that it seemed to become more intensified when I took hot baths. So, during the duration of its stay, I could only take Luke warm baths so as to not make things worse for me. This symptom disappeared Sunday, April 5.

I had already made an appointment with the neurologist, however, I begged to be fit in when there were cancelations because by now, I was feeling petrified. I chided myself for ignoring my body for so long, and I wanted nothing more than to be at peace and to have a solution for this annoying torture. Thankfully, I was seen a day early.

When I got there, I talked about the symptoms I’d been experiencing for the past three years; however, I did not even bring up the urinary and bowel incontinence, since I thought it was not pertinent to what was going on. I had already been given a diagnosis for the urinary incontinence of overactive bladder, and as for my bowel incontinence, I just reasoned that since it was not Candida related, it was possibly due to the twelve and a have years of chronic constipation that I suffered. I never thought of bringing the incontinence up.

After telling her of my symptoms, she asked me if I had bladder and bowel problems to which I replied that I was completely incontinent. I gave her the entire run down on my urinary incontinence and how it worsened over time, and I told her about the recent loss of bowel control. After we talked, I had a full fledged physical where some tests were done.

First, she put her hand on my forehead and asked if I were able to feel it. I told her that I could with no problem. Then, she touched both sides of my face asking if I could feel it and if one side could be felt better than the other. I had no issues there, as everything felt fine. She then touched my hands and my feet, and I also had no problems.

Then, the neurologist experimented with a tuning fork. The same exact procedure was done. She put it on my forehead, both sides of my face, my hands, and my feet. But, when she touched my right foot, something strange happened. Rather than it being cold, like it was supposed to be, it actually felt hot. I thought I was imagining things, so I asked her to put it on my right foot a second time. Sure enough, I had the same result. The tuning fork felt as if someone put it in their hand to warm it up and then touch my foot.

When this test was finished, she then pricked me all over with a cotton pick stick, or whatever those things are called. Let’s say that it did not feel good. I was pricked down my spine, all over my back, all over my stomach, down my arms, the backs of my hands, the tops of my feet, and even my face. Now, when this was done, two strange things happened. I was able to feel the prick on my right foot; however, when my right hand was pricked, it barely felt like anything at all. It felt like just a small light touch. I thought that was odd, since I did feel the cold temperature of the tuning fork on the back of my right hand, though, I will have to admit that it was not as pronounced as on my left hand.

Then, I went through a test where I was asked to move various muscles in my face. I had to smile. I had to move my eyes. I had to gaze. I blinked. It was so strange. Evidently, I did very well on this test.

After all was said and done, the neurologist asked me if I had a history of MS in my family. When I heard her say that, I literally puked in my mouth. I told her that we had no such history. She asked me if my siblings and parents were healthy. I told her that they were healthy as oxes and that I got the cruddy end of the stick. While MS does not necessarily have to run in families, there is a greater risk of developing it yourself if there are family members close to you with the disease, though, that does not always make it definite, either. We talked for a bit, and then she told me that I’d need to have my urine tested and an MRI to look for brain legions.

Now, all I can do is wait. The waiting is what I do not like. I want to know right now, so I can deal with it and move on. I want peace.